Progressive Era Foreign Policy Essay

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American foreign policy 1890-1912 a revision overview The USA was far from a world power before the 1890s. Its foreign policy stance was essentially defensive, seeking to keep the new world of the Americas free of wars and diplomatic tangles. Most Americans were hostile to the idea of Imperialism and wished to steer clear of international alliances. But, the events of the 1890s pushed the USA into rapid naval expansion, a war against Spain and the annexation of territories in the Pacific Ocean. The defensive/isolationist argument: * The Monroe Doctrine (1823) set out traditional American foreign policy. A hostility to European ‘interference’ and based upon a defensive mindset, it had always contained the assumption that the republics of Latin America would be receptive to American influence, if not domination. * William Jennings Bryan was a pacifist and leader of the Democratic party he attacked Roosevelt as immoral and betraying the ideals of the Founding Fathers. * The anti-Imperial League attacked the Republican government for deserting the anti-colonialist traditions of the Founding Fathers, for the violence, paternalism and racial prejudice shown by America in their treatment of their ‘little brown brothers’. * Mark Twain’s ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Updated’ 1901 a mocking parody of American imperialism. The expansionist argument: * The rapid growth of the American economy seemed to prove that the USA needed to control new markets overseas. US economic growth also created the need for increased prestige and influence in the world and the need for a strong navy. * Alfred Thayer Mahan ‘The influence of Sea Power upon History’ (1890) ‘whether they want to or not America must now begin to look outward’ and argued that America needed Hawaii as a naval base and to increase the size of the navy. * Imperialist ideology was

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