′S Essay, Research Paper
Throughout the twentieth century the United States of America
has had many successes and failures in their foreign policy.
Beginning in the late 1800s with manifest destiny all the way
through the cold war and communist containment through the late
1900s the US had some pluses and some minuses in how they
handled affairs abroad. After comparing the following
information I have decided to give the foreign affairs of the
United States a C+ in the Twentieth Century.
At the end of the Nineteenth Century the theory of
Manifest Destiny arose. Manifest Destiny is the theory that
the United States of America is a superior country to most
others so, we have the God given right to expand our boarders
throughout North America and beyond. Into the Twentieth
Century many wars were fought over America s most
controversial and hypocritical foreign policy. They
used the excuses such as overpopulation, or America has to
police the Western Hemisphere, to bring our boarders into
the Pacific Ocean. America made sure that they totally
dominated this hemisphere.
At the end of the 1890s America started a war
against Spain in the Spanish colonies in the Philippines.
They said that Spain was too weak to hold the colony
(imperialism) and they wanted to set the colony free.
Yet after battles throughout the Philippines and Texas we
had acquired territories in Guam, Philippines and Puerto
Rico. Even though we had just fought for the independence
of the Philippines, when given the chance America gobbled
up these areas to satisfy our insatiable hunger for power
Starting with President Theodore Roosevelt,
different philosophies concerning our imperialistic
policing of our hemisphere were devised to help keep
the rest of the world out of here. The Monroe Doctrine
which gave the US international police powers and the
Big Stick policy that said that the United States
would speak softly but they would also enforce
their decisions with a Big Stick. Under this philosophy
the Panama Canal was constructed.
President Taft, the next president after Roosevelt
had a different policy concerning foreign affairs,
called Dollar Diplomacy. Here the substitution of
dollars for bullets made this a seemingly better
policy and also made America seem friendlier to
After Taft foreign policy in America changed
drastically. President Wilson was against imperialism
and he tried to keep America more domestic minded
rather than foreign dependant. When World War One
began Wilson kept America out as long as possible
but it was inevitable that we would have to join
and end it. Even though we entered the war, we missed
most of it and were only in for about a year and a half.
America had proved the deciding factor in the war so
when America went to the Treaty of Versailles Wilson
proposed his 14-point plan. The other vengeful
European countries ignored the plan except for one
point the League of Nations. Wilson returned home
defeated and was dealt an even harder blow when
America voted to not join the League of Nations.
After World War One America seemed to have had
enough of the rest of the world. The following three
presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover gave the US
citizens exactly what they were looking for, isolation.
The Roaring Twenties and the depression kept
Americans occupied and they totally ignored the
rest of the world. Maybe if the United States had paid
more attention to what was happening in Europe, there
would never have been a World War Two. This was an
extreme weak point in our history of foreign affairs
and definitely effected, how I overall felt about the
United States foreign policies in the Twentieth Century.
During World War Two however, the United States
proved once again why they are a world power and they
also helped themselves grade-wise in my opinion. Roosevelt
actually kept us out of the war during the first part of it,
yet managed to aid our allies through the Destroyer
Deal and the Lend-Lease Act. After Pearl Harbor was
bombed America had to join the war. They dealt with
Japan having to use Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki after all else failed.
The atomic bombs were a controversial part of
America s foreign affairs yet I believe it was the
right choice because it ended the war abruptly and
kept Americans safe and prevented deaths of American
soldiers. What America did that was not good was the
confining of Japanese-Americans to camps. Although
this was internal it occurred because of our fear of
the outside world. This was a very low point in
America, betraying loyal American citizens because
of past roots.
Following World War Two came the scariest
time in world history when the world could have come
to an abrupt end with the push of a few buttons.
The Cold War occurred because America and Russia
hated each other s governments and wanted to prevent
their spread. Containment was the best approach
to the battle against communism. Fighting limited
war in Korea and Vietnam was necessary to prevent
communist expansion, but if an all out offensive
was taken then atomic weapons would most likely
have been used.
The Truman Doctrine which helped all free
people who wanted help to stay free of those trying
to take them over. In Turkey and Greece we gave aid
to these countries which helped them stay free.
This was perfect for containment and was very
helpful to America s grade.
Finally the last important piece of the Cold
War and America s foreign policy was the domino theory.
It was proven that if one country fell to communism
countries around it would too. This occurred after
the fall of Vietnam with Cambodia and Laos.
The Vietnam War although controversial was
necessary for containment. But since the United
States lost this brings down their grade. Had we
won the war maybe America s perception of Vietnam
would be different.
Through the Twentieth Century, the US had
many ups and downs in foreign policy. With containment
and the world wars the US was just and good. With
imperialism and isolationism, America s greed showed.
The goods and bads pretty much balanced out making
the United States foreign policy grade average.