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Grading Us Foreign Policy In The 1900

′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

and land.

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

foreign countries.

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.