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American Foreign Policy 1789-1920 A Brief Outline.

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Presentation on theme: "American Foreign Policy 1789-1920 A Brief Outline."— Presentation transcript:


2 American Foreign Policy 1789-1920 A Brief Outline

3 What is a Foreign Policy? How one country interacts with another country or group In the United States our Foreign Policy has spanned the extremes of Isolationist to Internationalist. USS Chesapeake

4 How active should America be in world affairs? Isolationism The view that a nation should tend to its own domestic rather than international affairs. Internationalism The view that a nation should assume active role in international affairs.

5 What factors guide a nation to be isolationist or internationalist? The simple answer for some is “What is in our national interest?” These people would suggest that we should ask only what is in the national interest of the United States and not what is best for the for the world. Others, Universalists, argue that we should take into account the interests and rights of people outside the United States as well as ourselves.

6 Goals of A Nation’s Foreign Policy Preserve its own independence and integrity. Security for the nation and its citizens. Prosperity for the nation and its citizens. Sometimes for some nations: revenge or prestige. Sometimes for some nations: the protection or expansion of specific ideals or ideas.

7 Factors that influence Foreign Policy Geography Military and economic power Economic needs Ethnic and religious ties History Note that conditions change over time- an appropriate policy when it took six weeks to cross the Atlantic by sailing ship might not be sound in the age of ICBMs.


9 Events that Shaped American Foreign Policy from 1789-1824 The entangling and permanent 1778 Alliance with France Washington’s Farewell Address with its call for no “permanent alliances” President Jefferson’s call in his first Inaugural Address for no “entangling alliances” War of 1812 Monroe Doctrine

10 French Alliance of 1778 Two treaties- one a commercial agreement and a political and military alliance. We needed French to win our independence. The 1789 French Revolution leads to aggressive policies against other European powers beginning in 1793 that results in the English going to war with the French. Jefferson (good faith), Hamilton (no obligation), and Washington’s (neutral) positions.

11 Washington’s Farewell Address Established concept of isolation which would dominate US foreign policy until the 20 th century.

12 Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address “kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe” Jefferson expanded upon Washington’s warning against “permanent alliances” to include “entangling alliances” and reinforced the principle of non- involvement in European wars.

13 War of 1812 Illustrated the nation’s willingness to violate the policy of neutrality when it became advantageous to do so. Demonstrates the difficulty of non- involvent when trade and neighbors bring us into contact with European powers.

14 The Monroe Doctrine Stressed the America’s special interests in the Western Hemisphere and remains, with some modifications, viable today. In response to fears that European powers including Britain might expand its influence into the Western Hemisphere.

15 KEY GUIDING STRATEGEM No permanent friends, only permanent objectives

16 Some Key Early Decisions Jay Treaty Pinckney Treaty XYZ Affair Louisiana Purchase Embargo & Non- Intercourse Acts War of 1812 Treaty of Ghent Rush-Bagot Treaty Adams-Onis Treaty

17 Trends Over Time 1789-1824 Tendency toward isolation Creation of more secure borders Navigation of waterways (Mississippi and later seas) Increased respect from foreign nations Increased boldness of some American policy- makers Links with newly established Latin American nations

18 The Endless Argument Should American policy be based on our own national interests (protecting our independence, borders, security, power and interests in peace) or should we take to the “high road” to base our policies on moral principles that could serve as a model for others (human rights, democracy, etc)

19 John Quincy Adams: Secretary of State to James Monroe 1817-1825 One of the most successful Secretaries of State in American history. Had a clear vision of what US policy should be and where it should be headed. Philosophy: National interests should determine foreign policy.

20 John Quincy Adams: Accomplishments Adams-Onis Treaty gives Florida (strategic importance) to US, eliminated Spain from contention for Oregon Territory Architect of Monroe Doctrine Adams’ Vision: expansion of US to the Pacific, pursuit of good relations with newly independent nations in Latin America

21 Westward Expansion evolves into Manifest Destiny Movement of the “frontier line” from the Fall line in the Piedmont, to the Appalacians (Proclamtion of 1763), to the Mississippi River is followed by the call for Continental Expansion as our Manifest Destiny.

22 Manifest Destiny “And that claim is by right of our manifest destiny to overspread and possess the whole of the continent which providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us… The God of nature and of nations has marked it for our own…” John L. Sullivan, Dec. 1845 John L. Sullivan

23 Westward Expansion & Foreign Policy 1783-1853  Original United States + Northwest Territory (1783 GB)  Louisiana Purchase (1803, FR)  British Cession(1818 Rush-Bagot Treaty  Spanish Cession (1819, FL- from SP)  Texas Annexation (1845)  Oregon Country (1846 BR)  Mexican Cession (1848 Mex War)  Gadsden Purchase (1853 Mex)

24 American Progress by Jonathan Gast, 1872

25 American Indian Policy  Expansion has implications for American Indians  Resist, co-exist, migrate  Treaty of Greenville, 1795  Jefferson- Trans-Mississippi “reserve”  Jackson- Indian Removal Act 1830

26 Major Indian Wars  Old Northwest Territory (Tecumseh, The Prophet, the Fox, etc)  The Creeks (Alabama, Florida, Western Tennessee  Seminole- in Florida

27 Mexican American War  James K. Polk and Manifest Destiny  Was this war consistent with previous US foreign policy?  Who supported War with Mexico?  Henry Thoreau and Civil Disobedience (jailed because he refused to pay a federal taxes which he believed paid for an unjust war)

28 Aftermath of the Mexican American War for Indians  Continual Warfare on Great Plains & West  1870’s movement to Reservations  Battle of Little Big Horn (1876) - one of the few Indian “victories”  The Massacre at Wounded Knee 1890- one of the last of many brutal defeats  Dawes Severalty Act, 1887

29 Northern Boundary  Warhawks  Rush-Bagot Treaty 1817  Convention of 1818  Caroline Affair 1837-8  Aroostook War 1839  Webster-Ashburton Treaty, 1842  Buchanan-Pakenham Treaty, 1846  Alaska Purchase and Seward, 1867

30 Late 19 th Century Imperialism: The USA Enters the World Stage Economic motivations: new markets, new resources Ideas about racial supremacy driven by Social Darwinism Manifest Destiny-extended Military considerations (strategic, defensive) Alfred Mahan & “The New Navy” US exceptionalism (1 st crusade for the U.S.)

31 Early Non-Contiguous Expansion Offer to purchase Cuba from Spain in 1848 and 1854 Alaska 1867 Pago-Pago, Samoa 1878 Pearl Harbor 1884 Hawaii 1898

32 1896 Republican Party Platform Strong imperialist platform Economic expansion guides position Overseas expansion good for US industry “sympathy for Cuba” Nicaraguan Canal and purchase of Danish West Indies Annexation of Hawaii Queen Liliuokalani

33 Spanish American War 1898-1900 Cuba “Maine” incident, yellow journalism, jingoism & war fever Rough Riders & Theodore Roosevelt US acquires Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam

34 McKinley, T. Roosevelt & Taft McKinley: Open Door Policy Roosevelt: Panama Canal, Roosevelt Corollary to Monroe Doctrine, “Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick Taft: Dollar Diplomacy (private funds to pursue diplomatic goals

35 Pre WWI Imperialism Focal Points Philippine Revolution Cuba (Platt Amend) Latin American interventions (numerous) Balancing Japan’s growing dominance in Asia with US- Japanese economic ties Panama Canal China: getting a toehold in China trade

36 WW I: From Neutrality to Versailles Traditional neutrality Challenges to neutrality: u-boats, US business loans, munitions trade, propaganda, some pro-war advocates (TR) Wilson’s 1916 Pledge: To keep us out of war Wilson’s 1917 statement to “make the world safe for democracy”. (2 nd crusade for the US) RMS Lusitania

37 Wilson’s 14 Points & Versailles Treaty & the “Lessons of War” 14 Points largely disregarded Fight for Ratification of the Treaty Henry Cabot Lodge and American Isolationists prevail-reject League of Nations US returns to its “isolationist” position vis a vis Europe “Lessons” of WWI, Red Scare & Peace Movement

38 Sources: American Foreign Policy by Leonard James American Foreign Policy by Thomas Fitzgerald American Foreign Policy.ppt by Joyce Williams & Justin Hill, RCPS (h t t p:// AP US History/ American Foreign Foreign Policy.pdf

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