Regulating the World: American Law and International Business

Brady, Benjamin, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Leffler, Melvyn, Department of History, University of Virginia
McCurdy, Charles, Department of History, University of Virginia
Hitchcock, William, Department of History, University of Virginia
Cushman, Barry, Law School, University of Notre Dame

This dissertation examines how U.S. policymakers grappled with the rise of multinational business and came to perceive it as something that needed to be regulated by the United States. The first two chapters situate the rise of international business within a larger debate about international law. They show how disagreement between Elihu Root and Woodrow Wilson impeded hopes for new international institutions to address globalization during the early twentieth century. The third and fourth chapters describe the concerns of U.S. officials with international cartels and German corporations during and after World War II. Bypassing the earlier stalemate between Root and Wilson, policymakers adopted a moderate program of national regulation supplemented by the extraterritorial application of U.S. law to business activities abroad. Extraterritoriality succeeded because it preserved U.S. sovereignty and infringed foreign sovereignty only marginally, sustaining the basic structure of the international system. The final chapter describes how lawyers and businesspeople nevertheless complained that extraterritorial enforcement hurt American competitiveness, limited investment, and upset allies. Though these concerns anticipated the neoliberalism of the late twentieth century, extraterritorial jurisdiction endured. Federal judges assumed responsibility for facilitating international economic integration while guarding national sovereignty, much as they had reconciled national economic integration and state sovereignty within the U.S. federal system during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As a result, federal courts today have an important role in harmonizing national regulatory regimes. Overall, by tracing the emergence of extraterritoriality, this dissertation highlights the influence of lawyers and legal thought on U.S. foreign relations during the twentieth century.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
law, legal history, international history, diplomatic history, sovereignty, foreign relations, business, multinational enterprise, antitrust, competition, globalization, extraterritoriality, jurisdiction, regulation, empire, imperialism, cartels
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: