From Relative Isolation to Increased Global Involvement

FromRelative Isolation to Increased Global Involvement

Sincethe era of the Spanish-American War until the beginning of the ColdWar the United States progressed from fair isolation to enhancedglobal accountability because of the need to command worldresources need for economicexpansion and development needfor political stability of Government. As they became more involvedwith international affairs due to this move from isolationism toglobal investment, the consequences on American society of thatgreater involvement were it created tensions with other nations overterritorial disputesa cultural downward spiral of racism, violence, confusion, anddespair racial tension throughout the country (Dr. Magee Lectures,1982).

Theera before the Spanish-American War was marked by a policy ofnon-intervention and complete segregation from international matters.George Washington emphasized this principle during his farewelladdress. He stressed more on the importance of isolationism(Isolationismto Internationalism, 2009).He stated that the greatest rule for US’ conduct towards foreignnations should never be based on political relations but purely oneconomic ties and. He argued that the European had their own interestwhich had remote connections to the United States. He thereforeviewed it unwise for the United States to indulge themselves in theEuropean politics. Due to this, United States had to cut anypolitical tie it had with the European countries, this was in orderso as to avoid collision with the enemies and friend of the Europeanstates. The main motive for the US’ isolation strategy was due tothe truth that the country comprised of immigrants who had escapedfrom Europe due to the mistreatments they had suffered. For instance,they suffered economic hardship, religious persecution, and war.Their migration and settlement in the US relieved them since thecountry became their second home of serenity and safety. However, theUS wanted to have international recognition and even further itseconomic, territorial and ideological interest (Dr. Magee Lectures,1982).

Suchcolonial ideologies existed up until before the Start of theSpanish-American War in 1898, where the US decided to help Cubs withtheir fight for independence.

Asthe US continued to grow in population and size, technologicaladvances ensued, the economy as well started to flourish. With this,many enterprises in the US looked to foreign countries to stretchtheir market wider. Foreign policy was driven by the hugeestablishments that were producing more products for the AmericansHence there was the need to expand their corporations worldwide. Somecircumstances that encouraged American corporations to expand inother states were the interest in getting closer to raw materials andmarkets and the domestic merger movement and new forms of large scalecorporate organizations [Rosenberg1982 pg 23],also the reduced costs from shipping and high tariffs encouragedcompanies to b base themselves in foreign countries. It alsofacilitated the spread of ideas into these countries. The U.S.administration had a vision of spreading the American Dream acrossthe world. This was possible if these American companies were to moveto the foreign countries. Walter LaFeber- A distinguished historian,stated that US foreign policy was driven by corporations to makemoney and avoid neo-Marxist revolutions in the United States havingthese corporations in foreign land showed how a free market systemcan work. It also showed the significance of owning private property(Dr.Magee Lecture, 1982).

Cubawas one of the countries that US felt they needed to engage withbecause Cuba was underthe Spanish rule, which was filled with much dictatorial tendenciesand immense sufferings. The US citizens were much angered by thisreports and therefore pushed the government which was under the ruleof William McKinley to intervene. PresidentMcKinley felt that having Cuba ruled by Spain would pose a threat toUS national security and that the US needed to take control over Cubato avoid any problem from the Spanish or any other state that may useCuba to attack the US. Spain was not willing to go into any warhowever they were not willing to lose Cuba. But eventually the twocountries went into war, the US easily defeated them and the twonations signed the Treaty of Paris US eventually acquired Cuba andother territories such as Hawaii, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, andGuam. This enabled the government to continue the interest ineconomic prosperity and enhancing the American Dream in the newterritories (Rosenberg,1982).

Businessesin the US had initially opposed the war because they believed thatthe war would lead into confusion, and many would lose their businessestablishments. However, in the end, the war spread free enterpriseinto these countries and helped business to expand across the world.The Spanish-American War indicated a much larger commitment of the USto the world. The US also acquired Philippines this enlarged thepresence of US in East Asia and looked forward to an Open Door policywith China. This unilateral US policy was however commonly believedto be an international agreement with a number of countries, this wasa good example of the United States continuing to increase itsinternational function and expressing its ideals of free trade inoverseas countries. Another model that the United States had was thatthey required to keep Europe out of the western hemisphere so theycould increase the US territory and be extra economically profitablein the region by using those countries resources and also by beingthe supreme controlling power in those countries. They also wanted tospread the American Dream throughout these countries withoutinterference from other states. After the assassination of PresidentMcKinley, Teddy Roosevelt took over and issued The RooseveltCorollary which talked of keeping European Powers from colonizingAmerica and how they needed to eliminate any Dictatorships that mayarise because it was a threat to their interests as a Democraticstate. He spoke of how American interests made it essential tointervene in other nations. These interests were in most cases,economic ones so the United States required to get involved acrossthe world in order to ensure its economic competence and also showthe globe how to effectively handle a free market system. Rooseveltalso came in and was responsible for the Panama Canal construction,which opened up more successful trading in the region within theLatin America and further helped the US economic growth.

DuringRoosevelt’s era, war broke out. It was called the Russo-JapaneseWar. The Russians occupied a territory in China and had its eyes onKorea. It never pleased the Japanese as these territories were veryimportant parts for economic trade. Japanese unleashed a surpriseattack on the Russians. After this war broke out, the Russiansstarted losing very badly and eventually Roosevelt came in to helpsettle the dispute between the two countries with the Treaty wassigned to end the war. Russia agreed to cooperate with the Open DoorPolicy, thus still making it easy for the U.S. to secure its economicinterests in East Asia. Teddy Roosevelt is much accredited as thepresident who ended isolation for the United States and got them moreinvolved in the globe. This made the America’s foreign policy ofeconomic expansion more feasible and would allow them to have accessto more resources in other nations.

America’seconomy started rising after the war. During this period, mostEuropean countries lay in shreds, and there was a large-scale hungerthroughout the country. US emerged stronger after the war thanbefore.

It’sdifferent from during the depression, women entered the workforceby&nbspthe&nbspmasses&nbspand&nbspeach yearfollowing&nbspthe&nbspwar&nbspthe&nbspGNP&nbspgrew&nbsp20%.&nbspThe&nbspUnited&nbspStates&nbspwent&nbspoutthe&nbspwar&nbspand being the&nbspstrongest country&nbspin theworld. After the war,&nbspthe&nbspmain threat&nbspthatagainst&nbspthe&nbspUnited&nbspStates was&nbspthe&nbspexpandingof&nbspCommunism.&nbspThe UUSR was&nbspon its way&nbsptopush&nbspCommunism, but&nbspthe United&nbspStates governmentwanted to contain&nbspit. This generated a lot of&nbsptensionbetween the two big Union which&nbspknown as the Cold War. Communismwent to &nbspoppose &nbspthe &nbspidea of &nbspa &nbspfree&nbspmarket &nbspand &nbspfree &nbsp trade and &nbspthe &nbspUnited&nbspStates would &nbspdo&nbspanything &nbspthey &nbspcould &nbspto&nbspprevent it &nbspfrom expanding &nbspthroughout &nbspthe&nbspworld,&nbsptherefore &nbspit&nbspwould&nbspnot threaten&nbsptheirsupremacy&nbspand&nbspeconomic&nbspambitions.Communism&nbspwas&nbsphindering the&nbspview&nbspof&nbspthe&nbspAmericanDream&nbspand&nbspfree&nbspenterprise and the US needed to preventit so it could not extend to their own nation. Because of the growingconcern Communism, the US adopted a policy of containment (Doeneckeet al., 1982).

TheUSA needed to contain socialism and not let it extend throughout toother states. One of containment that was done by the US wasproviding assistance to Turkey and Greece for military and politicalpurpose. This was in place to fend off communism. This helped thecountries through economic and financial support, which is importantto economic stability and orderly political process. By thisstabilization of the economy in other countries, United States wouldgain economically by having more nations to become trade partners.During the war, the economy of the US was affected. Its trade networkto the rest of the world was severely affected by the war henceintervention seem very crucial (Doeneckeet al., 1982).

Theeconomic dominance of the US was so immense during this period thatoverlooking their importance in world matters was considered veryunwise. Most of the European nations were in debt to the US they hadhuge responsibilities in infrastructure reconstruction and they hadno resources. The US became more powerful because of its economy.&nbspThe economic power of the US was further demonstrated in thereconstruction of Germany. Banks from US the assisted in reachinghalf of the construction costs.TheSecond World War paved way for the US to divert from its isolationpolicy (Doeneckeet al., 1982).

Theamplified globalization, industrial production, and scientifictransformation meant that United State had to sell some products tothe European countries, and it had to import some of the foreigntechnology to the country.

Eventualitiesof this improved global involvement on American society was mainlydue to the fact that the United States was expanding more and more across the world, thisoften created tension with other countries and some such as Spain mayhave used aggression against the U.S. because they decided to takeover land that they already conquered. Many countries did not wantthe U.S. pushing their beliefs and culture on them. Also by beingmore involved in world affairs, the U.S. saw itself become a part ofmore wars. They needed to be in these wars to protect their ownideals and did not want countries that they traded with and wereallies with to collapse because that would directly affect them andcould possibly collapse the U.S. economy. The United States mainreason for why they got involved in the world was because they wantedto strengthen their own economy by expanding through other countriesand the benefits far outweighed the consequences in their case.Followingthe Second World War, the American culture began to move(Isolationismto Internationalism, 2009).

In1915, the second Ku Klux Klan established itself in Atlanta, Georgia,and grew into a true societal menace for non-white-protestantAmerica,afteradopting a modernized system of recruitment based upon businessprinciples. This was truly a decade characterized by a loss ofcertainty and justice.


Doenecke,Justus D. “American Isolationism, 1939-1941″&nbspJournalof Libertarian Studies.6(3).Summer/Fall 1982. Print

UnitedStates: Isolationism to Internationalism2009-09-15&nbspby&nbspContributor

Rosenberg,Emily S.&nbspSpreadingthe American Dream&nbsp(NewYork: Hill and Wang, 1982), 43.Dr.

Magee.Lectures. IAH 201.

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