Based on a thorough examination of government documents, congressional debates and reports, private papers of government and business leaders, and newspapers, David M. Pletcher begins this monumental study with a comprehensive survey of U.S. trade following the Civil War. He goes on to outline the problems of building a coherent trade policy toward Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. The study concludes by analyzing a series of abortive trade reform efforts and examining the effects of the Spanish-American War. Pletcher rejects the long-held belief that American business and government engaged in a deliberate, consistent drive for economic hegemony in the hemisphere during the late 18OOs. Instead he finds that the American government improvised and experimented with ways to further trade expansion.