American History / American Foreign Policy
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Autor: anton 28 November 2010
Words: 951 | Pages: 4
Until the end of the twentieth century Americaâ€™s policy towards war was to stay neutral. We stayed out of other governments battles and we avoided war. The United States did not force our ideals on any foreign governments. The US did not want to be the bully who forces countries into having freedom and independence. This noninterventionist America, devoted to solving its own problems and developing its own civilization, became the wonder of the world. People were compelled to come to this wonderful country and share in the freedoms it enjoys. Between 1898 and 1919, trade and cultural exchange flourished, as American civilization progressed and we became an economic powerhouse. American traditions in government were broke with the war with Spain, the war for the conquest of the Phillipines, and World War I. During this time American foreign policy was driven by self-interest. Our wants and needs were taken into consideration over those people who are actually living in the countries that we interfered with. We began to meddle in affairs which our previous leaders did not do. Expanding Americaâ€™s role in the world was a major priority during this time.
Americaâ€™s first modern war with a foreign country began in 1898 when war against Spain was declared. America had a lot of its investments in Cuba and grew nervous over the rebels fighting there. The fighting that was going on could seriously harm our commerce, trade, and business (McKinley). Politicians who were looking for publicity could gain this by speaking on the issue of Cuba. They used this to gain votes and to make themselves known. The US was concerned over our vessels that were in sea. They were at risk of being seized by war ships. America wanted to prevent this from happening (McKinley). America wanted to secure a market for American industry and where better to secure this than in Cuba, which was in our backyard. President McKinley had his eye on some of Spainâ€™s possessions. He was hunting for new territories and markets. At the end of the war, the acquisition of American colonies outside of the United States was fulfilled with the annexation of the Hawaiin Islands and gaining Puerto Rico as a colony (Shi). I feel as though we became involved in this war to acquire what we wanted and not to return safety back to a country. Our main concern was not about the people it was about our needs.
The most coveted market in Asia was China. America wanted to trade with China and there was concern that the great powers, Great Birtain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia, would hinder that from happening. The Open Door Policy stated that foreign powers would not interfere with any treaty port. Chinese authorities had to collect tariffs equally, and they could not show favors concerning harbor dues or railroad charges (Shi 954). We wanted to secure open trade in China. The self-interest of American business was on the minds of the government. Being involved with Asian trade would only benefit our incentive to become a super power (Roosevelt). When the Boxer Rebellion erupted we deployed 2,500 troops to China. We wanted to show off that we had confidence and power in our navy. We showed the world that we are a superpower and that we would be involved in affairs all over the world (Quincy).
Germany threatened that they would attack all merchant ships on the British Isles. Wilson declared that it would not give up its rights as a neutral to trade on the seas. Eventually, he declared war after five US vessels were sunk. Germanyâ€™s policy of unrestricted warfare seriously threatened Americaâ€™s commercial shipping. At the time our economy was hurting and during war time the economy booms because there is a need for supplies. President Woodrow Wilson called for a war in Germany â€œto make the world safe for democracy.â€ (McKinley). This would be an effort to establish principles for all nations to follow, which could be otherwise referred to as American principles. The world needed to be made safe for all and the threat of constant war and the taking away of peopleâ€™s liberties led the US to enter the war. Wilson was worried that if the US did not get involved in the war then Germany would win and be a threat to the Western Hemishphere. Americans feared that the British navy would be destructed and this would pose a threat to the USâ€™s security (America).
During this time America felt as though they needed to prove to the world that their way of governing was the best and should be the only way. The spread of democracy was a major priority for America. We wanted the world to share in our ideals, which would eventually benefit the US. I feel as though the US was acting in their own interests. The important issues were that the US was secure and had a stable economy.
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