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U.S. Foreign affairs from 1860 to 1914

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1 U.S. Foreign affairs from 1860 to 1914
This is part of Period 7: Changes at Home and Abroad.

2 Key Concepts The US created an international empire as a result of its one-sided victory in the Spanish-American War. Those who supported or opposed US imperialism provided theories of justifications for their views. The US penetrated Asia, establishing the Open Door policy in China. Throughout this period, the US intervened in Central and South American internal affairs.

3 The Purchase of Alaska In 1867 Secretary of State William Seward brokered a deal in which Russia agreed to sell Alaska to the US for approximately $7.5 million. In acquiring Alaska, Seward, an expansionist, eliminated Russian influence in the Western Hemisphere. The American public and many in Congress thought the purchase was a waste of funds and dubbed the deal “Seward’s Folly” and Alaska itself “Seward’s Icebox.” Seward was later vindicated when gold and coal were discovered.

4 The New Imperialism: Theories
To be sure, the US was not alone in building an international empire. In fact, it came late to the race. The New Imperialism of the late nineteenth century differed from earlier imperialist rivalries in the number of competitors vying for empire. Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and Russia, among others, had created empires by the late nineteenth century. The impetus for this enormous burst of expansionist activity was the growing opinion that the opportunities for creating an empire were fading as more and more land was coming under the influence and control of rivals. Yet, there are theories to explain why nations adopted an imperialist foreign policy. Social scientists have for decades attempted to create an explanation as to why nations embark on a policy of imperialism. Many have been critical of the imperialist activity for different reasons. On the following slides, I will discuss a sampling of some notable theorists.

5 The New Imperialism: Theorists
John Hobson ( ) A liberal economist, he contended that underconsumption (or overproduction) convinces governments to adopt an imperialist policy: the colony becomes a source of demand for commodities that go unsold in the imperialist nation. He, who was critical of imperialism, maintained that increasing wages would allow workers to purchase goods they produced, thereby resolving the problem of underconsumption and eliminating the need to adopt an imperialist policy. V.I. Lenin ( ) The leader of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Lenin argued that when the rates of profits fall the capitalist class seeks new markets to dominate and invest surplus capital. Because all capitalist nations tak the same approach, dangerous inter-imperialist rivalries result.

6 The New Imperialism: Theories
Rosa Luxemburg ( ) A German Marxist revolutionary, Luxemburg claimed that when supply exceeds demand, capitalist nations must find new markets in noncapitalist areas. Eventually, however, capitalism would have nowhere left to expand and, she hoped, would collapse. Joseph Schumpeter ( ) A German economist, he held that underconsumption led to imperialism as the center, the mother country, sought a larger market. He maintained that imperialism represented archaic behavior-that it was a reflection of a more primitive state- and that capitalism represented a sophisticated system of supply and demand.

7 Methods Adopted by the U.S. to Achieve Its Imperialist Goals
Formal Imperialism One of the most pervasive methods used by the US and other imperial powers, formal, or direct, imperialism involves the physical presence of the center-the mother country-politically and often militarily. Examples of formal imperialism by the US include the acquisition of Hawaii Guam Puerto Rico Informal Imperialism In this form of imperialism, formal control is not necessary. Instead, the imperial power can dominate a colony, nation or region in several different ways. The imperial power can support those in power in the dominated area whose policies are beneficial to the center. It can draft treaties that subordinate the economic, social, and political interests of the dominated nation to the interests of the center. The Open Door policy, adopted by the US at the turn of the century, would allow any area to be penetrated by the imperial nations. John Hay, President McKinley’s secretary of state, was a strong advocate of the policy, which was initially applied to China, but eventually extended to other continents as well.

8 Methods Adopted by the U.S. to Achieve Its Imperialist Goals
Despite the enormous productive capabilities of US capitalism, the nation in the late nineteenth century was experiencing a period of economic stagnation and social and political instability, not unlike what was occurring in the other capitalist nation. In order to combat these problems, the US, like other capitalist nations, adopted a dual plan. Domestically, the government attempted to reform capitalism by addressing the problems that led to discontent. The progressive era was a period of intense interest in reform. Internationally, the government adopted an expansionist-imperialist-foreign policy. A primary reason why the US embarked on a policy of creating an international empire was the closing of the frontier, as officially reported in the 1890 census. The significance of this report was that all of the areas within the continental US had been settled by the late nineteenth century. There was only one direction left to expand-overseas.

9 Methods Adopted by the U.S. to Achieve Its Imperialist Goals
Whether their expectations regarding the benefits of imperialism were realistic is still debated today. Nevertheless, the decision to adopt this foreign policy option was based on policymakers’ perceptions of what an imperialist policy could achieve in the short and long term. Specifically, the US and other world leaders believed an imperialist policy would have the following effects: An imperialist policy would bring the economy out of immediate financial crisis-a severe depression struck the US in 1893. An imperialist policy would help create conditions that would allow for future investments. An imperialist policy would reduce domestic conflict- for example, between the working class and the capitalist class. (Remember, industrialization and rapid capital accumulation brought on serious confrontations between labor and capital following the Civil War.) This could be achieved by: Reducing the extent of unemployment because of the favorable conditions imperialism would bring, such as increased demand from overseas colonies Passing on some of the economic benefits derived from imperialism to the working class Appealing to the patriotism of the working class to mute class tensions

10 Ideological Justifications for an American Imperialist Policy
In the late nineteenth century, the following were important justifications for US imperialism: Captain Alfred T. Mahan’s The Influence of Sea Power upon History (1890) In one of the most influential books of the era, Mahan proposed that for the US to become a world power it must develop a first-class navy. This would give the US a global reach and considerably increase its military power. However, in order to have a great navy, coaling stations and naval bases were necessary-in other words, the acquisition of colonies. A staunch advocate of imperialism, Mahan’s book had a profound influence on President Theodore Roosevelt, himself a supporter of a global US empire. Frederick Jackson Turner’s “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” (1893) This essay sums up Turner’s belief that the possibilities associated with the frontier and territorial expansion promotes social, economic, and political stability. His essays, published in professional journals in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, influenced President Woodrow Wilson, himself a historian. Religious justifications The notion that imperialism allowed “civilized” Christian cultures an opportunity to spread their way of life to “lesser” cultures was advocated by the nativist Reverend Josiah Strong in his 1885 book Our Country, among others. Often, in an attempt to mute criticism of the economic motives behind the adoption of an imperialist policy, noneconomic justifications such as the missionary rationale were used. Social Darwinism Advocates of imperialism maintained that the US was simply biologically and morally superior to those cultures and peoples that were being dominated. Imperialism was merely a reflection of that superiority.

11 Opponents of American Imperialism
Not all Americans supported their government’s foreign policy. Even President Cleveland opposed the annexation of Hawaii in In fact imperialism was so controversial that it became the key issue in the 1900 presidential campaign between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan. By then, an influential association opposed to expansionism had been organized, the Anti-Imperialist League. Its members included politicians(for example, Bryan), literary figures (for example, Mark Twain), economic leaders (for example, Andrew Carnegie), and scholars (for example, Charles Francis Adams and William Sumner). Their opposition to imperialism ran the gamut from distress over the costs necessary to maintain an empire to the immorality of denying other self-determination to the racial notion that incorporating “lesser” cultures into a US empire would weaken American “purity.”

12 US Foreign Relations in East Asia and the Pacific
To US political and economic leaders in the late nineteenth century, China was a region that offered infinite economic possibilities. The US was not alone in this analysis. All imperial powers knew that gaining a foothold in China, and eventually in the rest of Asia, would enhance their power in relation to one another. While the US looked to China for opportunities, a new force in East Asia was demonstrating its power-Japan. In the late nineteenth century, it became clear that the US and Japan were emerging as the leading contestants for hegemony in Asia. Beginning with Japan’s victory over China in the Sino-Japanese in 1895 and over Russia in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, US – Japanese enmity grew as each sought to influence East Asia. This antagonism would ultimately take them down the path of war in 1941.

13 US Foreign Relations in East Asia and the Pacific
Several examples show how the US and Japan tried to address their strained diplomatic relations throughout the first half of the the twentieth century: President Teddy Roosevelt organized the Treaty of Portsmouth ending the Russo-Japanese War in Japan was clearly the victor and thus received concessions from Russia; however, many in Japan blamed Roosevelt's treaty, and therefore the US for what the Japanese claimed were only modest gains. The Taft-Katsura Agreement (1905): Japan recognized US control over the Philippines and the US recognized Japan’s control over Korea. In order to show the extent of the US global reach, President Roosevelt sent the US Navy on an international cruise in 1907, making certain it stopped in Japan. The fleet of warships duly impressed the Japanese. They welcomed the American navy, but they may have seen this Great White Fleet (so called because of the ships’ distinctive coloring) as a possible threat to its plans to dominate East Asia. The Root-Takahira Agreement (1908): At the time, the Japanese and Americans desired to improve relations; by this agreement, they promised to preserve China’s independence, support the Open Door policy, and recognize each other’s possessions in the Pacific.

14 US Foreign Relations in East Asia and the Pacific
Although they were allies in World War I, from this point on, and despite efforts to forestall conflict, relations between the US and Japan were never entirely amicable. As for the imperial powers in Asia, their grab for wealth an power in China in many ways resembled their scramble in Africa during the same period. This spurred the US to formulate the Open Door policy. The goal of the policy was to prevent the total dissection of China, which would further weaken the country and allow the competing imperial powers to create spheres of influence in China, and to ensure that the US had the same opportunities to trade in China as did the other powers. In 1900 a Chinese group called the Boxers attempted to drive out the foreign powers. The US was in the vanguard in organizing an international military response that eventually put down this nationalist uprising. Late the US worked out an agreement that attempted to preserve China’s independence. However, the other nations involved- Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Germany, and Japan-compelled China to pay enormous indemnities, which weakened it considerably; the US returned a majority of its share of the indemnities to an appreciative Chinese government.

15 US Foreign Relations in East Asia and the Pacific
Around the same time, the US was acquiring territorial possessions east of China, in the Pacific: Samoa A trade relationship had developed between American merchants and Samoans even before the Civil War. In the decade following the Civil War the US was permitted to establish a naval base on one of the Samoan islands. Soon Germany and Britain wanted what the Americans had in Samoa. When the American and Germany navies almost fought each other over the islands, a treaty was worked out. It gave Germany two of Samoa’s islands; the other islands were given to the US; Britain received other concessions. Hawaii As was the case in Samoa, American merchants had opened trade with the Hawaiians in the decades before the Civil War. The key commodity was sugar. The export of sugar benefitted both American merchants and Hawaiian traders. Standing in the way of an even more lucrative trade relationship was the monarch of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani, who opposed foreign economic and political intervention in her country. In short order the queen was overthrown by Hawaii’s white population under the leadership of Hawaiian Supreme Court justice Stanford Dole and assisted by US Marines. The US government quickly recognized the new government, one amenable to increased trade. On July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawaii was proclaimed. Ostensibly, Hawaii was an independent nation. However, many Hawaiians opposed a key provision in their new constitution that would allow the US to annex the Hawaiian islands.

16 US Foreign Relations in East Asia and the Pacific
While Samoa and Hawaii were indeed important acquisitions, it was not until the US went to war against the Spanish Empire that it fully established itself as a major global power. Nevertheless, the US interest in Cuba did not begin in the late nineteenth century. In the antebellum era, southern economic and political leaders wanted to annex Cuba, a Caribbean island that was certainly suitable for a southern-styled slave planation system. President Polk attempted to purchase the island from Spain but was refused. Even independent proslavery military expeditions failed to wrest Cuba from Spain. Later President Pierce sent several proslavery US representatives to Ostend, Belgium, to negotiate for the sale of Cuba; they implied that if Spain refused to give up Cuba, the US would take it by force. When the negotiations were leaked to the press, angry antislavery forces in Congress saw to it that the Ostend Manifesto, as it was called, was repudiated.

17 The Spanish-American War (1898)
The war that made the US a global power in possession of an overseas empire came about because of a variety of causes: Spain’s treatment of the Cubans under General Valeriano “The Butcher” Weyler was brutal. The US supported the Cuban independence movement. Cuba’s strategic location in the Caribbean was enticing to the US. Financial interests in the US were being hurt by the ongoing war between the Cuban rebels and the Spanish military. The influence of the “Yellow Press”: William Randolph Hearst’s and Joseph Pulitzer’s newspapers unscrupulously sensationalized Spanish atrocities in Cuba in order to increase sales, correctly speculating that a war in Cuba would stimulate newspaper readership. Although some of their stories were outright fabrications, the reading public devoured the graphic and sometimes salacious stories.

18 The Spanish-American War (1898)
Relations between Spain, whose glory days as Europe’s first major empire in the Western Hemisphere were well behind it, and the US, which was a newcomer to global empire-building, deteriorated even further as a result of two events: The DeLome letter In 1898 a US newspaper published private correspondence stolen from the Spanish minister in Washington, Dupuy Delome. In the letter the minister made derogatory comments about President McKinley, which, when made public, outraged the American people. Although DeLome resigned, the damage had been done. The Sinking of the Maine The U.S.S Maine was sent to Havana Harbor to protect US citizens and property. Just one week after the Delome incident, a massive explosion blew up the ship, killing over 250 American sailors. Given the mood of the American people at this point, they believed the obvious culprit was Spain. After the Hearst, and Pulitizer papers sensationalized the story, the public was, for the most part, decidedly sympathetic to a war with Spain. To this day the cause of the sinking is a mystery, though many experts believe the explosion was a tragic accident.

19 The Spanish-American War (1898)
Following the sinking of the Maine, President McKinley demanded a cease-fire in Cuba. Spain agreed. But in the minds of the American people and the US Congress, a line had already been crossed. Under pressure, McKinley asked Congress for a declaration of war. Congress’s affirmation came in the form of a congressional resolution, the Teller Amendment. In it the US assured the Cuban people that they would be granted autonomy and self-determination once Spain was defeated. The US prepared to engage Spain’s forces in the Caribbean and in the Pacific. The Spanish-American War lasted several months, cost more American lives from disease and spoiled food than from Spanish bullets, and in the end provided the US with a global empire. Secretary of State John Hay knew it had been “a splendid little war.”

20 The Spanish-American War (1898)
The following were major military events of the war: One Spanish fleet was destroyed by US warships under the command of Commodore George Dewey in Manila Bay on June 1, 1898. Manila, capital of the Philippines, was captured two months later. In Cuba, the US military force was unprepared for tropical conditions. Despite the loss of thousands of soldiers to malaria and other diseases, Cuban rebels and American soldiers were able to wear down the Spanish forces. One of the most famous land battles occurred in the American attack on San Juan Hill, an event made popular by the rousing charge of the Rough Riders, led by Theodore Roosevelt, on Spanish forces. The destruction of the other Spanish fleet at Santiago Bay on July 3 convinced the Spanish to open negotiations to end the fighting. That month, the US annexed Hawaii It would soon add other territories as well.

21 The Spanish-American War (1898)
These are the principal terms of the peace treaty signed in Paris in December 1898: Cuba received its independence from Spain. The US would have liked to annex Cuba, but it could not because it had gone to war to win Cuban freedom. Spain relinquished control of Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean, and Guam, in the Pacific. In return for $20 million, the US acquired the Philippines. Opponents claimed this violated America’s basic principles as expressed in the US Declaration of Independence, but the pro-imperialist forces in Congress won the day. Unfortunately for the US the Filipinos had other thoughts. Led by Emilio Aguinaldo, a former US ally, Filipino rebels fought for three years against the US military before the uprising was put down.

22 The Spanish-American War (1898)
By then the US had compelled the Cubans to agree to the Platt Amendment, which denied Cuban self-determination by allowing the US to intervene in Cuban affairs when it believed its own interests were threatened and by allowing the US to lease naval bases such as the one at Guantanamo, on the eastern tip of the island. In reality, while the US claimed it had fought for Cuban freedom, the Platt Amendment effectively made Cuba an American protectorate. Puerto Rico, on the other hand, had an unusual relationship with the US. It was neither a US territory nor an independent nation. Under the Foraker Act (1900), Congress provided the Puerto Ricans with substantial political autonomy, although the US continued to exert heavy political and economic influence on the island’s government. The Puerto Ricans had a civil government and an American governor. But were they entitled to the same constitutional rights in a series of cases called the Insular Cases: in a controversial decision, the Court ruled that the Constitution does not follow the flag-all the rights, privileges, and provisions accorded US citizens under the Constitution do not apply to those living under the US flag in overseas territories and possessions.

23 The Spanish-American War (1898)
The war was a windfall for McKinley and the Republican Party. Late in the century, the US experienced domestic prosperity and prestige overseas. To many Americans the rise in economic prosperity was well worth the financial and the military burdens of empire. The depression of 1893, the worst in the nation’s history to that time, seemed like a memory. Not surprisingly, the 1900 presidential race was a particularly difficult one for the Democrats, who tended to oppose overseas imperialism. The Republican President McKinley rode a wave of popular support for the war and the public’s general acceptance of US imperialism. He received nearly twice the number of electoral votes as the Democratic candidate, William Jennings Bryan.

24 US Foreign Relations in Latin American and the Caribbean
Since the 1890s, US intervention in the domestic affairs of many Latin American nations has been extensive. In 1904 President Roosevelt extended the authority of the US in the Western Hemisphere as articulated in the Monroe Doctrine. Responding in part to the bellicose actions of several European nations in 1902 regarding money owed to them by Venezuela, Roosevelt believed the Monroe doctrine had to be strengthened. In the Roosevelt Corollary, the president recognized the principle of self-determination, but only for nations that acted “with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters,” adding that “chronic wrongdoing” would result in the US acting as “international police power.” In other words, the US would intervene when it thought it was necessary to do so. This firm approach became known as the “Big Stick” policy, in reference to an African proverb: “Speak softly and carry a big stick, (and) you will go far.” Citing the Corollary, the US opposed nationalist and reform governments and those movements that sought greater autonomy as a threat to US political, military, and economic interests. Roosevelt’s successor, William Howard Taft, added a new ripple to the Roosevelt Corollary in the form of “Dollar Diplomacy.” Taft believed that economic and political instabilities in Latin America required US intervention to protect American financial interests. (Following WWI, the most intense US responses have been reserved for leftist and communist movements.) Not surprisingly, many Latin Americans resented the policy.

25 US Foreign Relations in Latin American and the Caribbean
Below is a sampling of US interventions in Latin America: Cuba The US occupied Cuba from 1898 to 1902 and intervened again militarily in 1906, 1909, 1917, and 1961. Dominican Republic The US militarily occupied the island nation from 1916 to It was a US protectorate from 1905 to The US last sent troops to the Dominican Republic in 1965. Haiti A US protectorate from 1915 to 1941, it was militarily occupied by the US between 1915 and US troops were sent to Haiti in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Nicaragua The US militarily and politically intervened in 1909, , , and again in the 1970s and 1980s. Mexico The US militarily intervened in 1916 during the Mexican Civil War. Colombia In 1903 the US helped establish a secessionist movement in northwestern Colombia (Panama), which soon came under US control. It would later be the site of the Panama Canal.

26 US Foreign Relations in Latin American and the Caribbean
The next American president, Woodrow Wilson, claimed he was an opponent of imperialism and repudiated the policies of his predecessors, Roosevelt and Taft. During his administration the US took the following actions: Panama Canal Tolls Act of 1912 The act allowed US ships to use the Panama Canal toll-free. Wilson convinced Congress to repeal the act, which angered strong nationalists like Roosevelt but was appreciated by the British, who had earlier challenged the exemption. Jones Act of 1916 The act provided for eventual Filipino independence, made the Philippines a full-fledged US territory, and granted universal male suffrage. Jones Act of 1917 The act conferred citizenship rights on all Puerto Ricans and made democratic improvements to their legislative system.

27 US Foreign Relations in Latin American and the Caribbean
In just over 50 years, from the end of the American Civil War to the eve of WWI, the US had taken its place as an economic leviathan and international world power. Coincidentally, the first phase of the US territorial expansion, the period of Manifest Destiny, coincided with the advent of a major reform movement, Jacksonian Democracy. Likewise, the US role in the New Imperialism coincided with two domestic reform movements: the Populists in the late nineteenth century and the progressives in the early twentieth century. As the US looked outward beyond its borders, many began to take stock of the domestic conditions shaping the nation. Again the government and grassroots movements would take steps to democratize the institutions of American life.

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