the Republic began sending out provincial governors to rule with supreme executive powers, as if they were Roman consuls (pro consules), The office of proconsulship was gradually institutionalized, but by imperial times simply denoted elite Romans of the senatorial class who ran the vast expanses of the empire--areas often more extensive than Italy itself--with sometimes pitiless severity enforced by a legion or two at their backs.
Because America was never a true colonial power, however, the idea of proconsulship here was more controversial.
On the other, even when they occupied the lands of the defeated, Americans believed proconsulship incompatible with the principles of their own republic and thus nothing more than a brief interlude preceding the realization of democracy.
After a fine introduction on the Roman origins of proconsulship, Lord chooses eight chronologically ordered case studies--Cuba, the Philippines, Japan, Germany, Vietnam, the Balkans, and two in Iraq.
Future American luminaries like Paul McNutt and Leonard Wood, who had enjoyed a successful proconsulship in Cuba, sought idealistically to facilitate the Philippine transition to commonwealth status on the way to full independence.