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The Conversion of Senator Arthur H. VandenbergFrom Isolation to International Engagement$
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Lawrence S. Kaplan

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813160559

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813160559.001.0001

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Hamilton’s Impact, 1906–1928

Hamilton’s Impact, 1906–1928

(p.1) 1 Hamilton’s Impact, 1906–1928
The Conversion of Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg

Lawrence S. Kaplan

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter discusses Vandenberg’s formative years. It details his childhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan, his time working at the Grand Rapids Herald, and his beginning in politics. His editorials at the Herald and his oratory ability propelled him into the political arena, as did his relationship with congressman and Herald majority owner William Alden Smith. This chapter further outlines Vandenberg’s changing and evolving political stances, from supporting Roosevelt and the Progressive movement, to allying with William Howard Taft and the Republicans, and even to his ambivalent views on Woodrow Wilson. Vandenberg also had reservations about the United States joining the League of Nations. After the war and Red Scare, he developed a visceral fear of the Bolshevik threat to capitalism and American values, but continued to defend labor’s right to collective bargaining and encouraged the recognition of labor unions. Moreover, this chapter describes how Vandenberg found a hero in Alexander Hamilton, who embodied the best qualities of conservatism and progressivism, walking a middle path between isolationism and internationalism—characteristics Vandenberg strove to emulate.

Keywords:   Arthur H. Vandenberg, William Howard Taft, William Alden Smith, Michigan, Theodore Roosevelt, Grand Rapids Herald, progressivism, League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding

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