US Foreign Policy Late 1800s Essay Research

U.S. Foreign Policy, Late 1800s Essay, Research Paper

This nation, from its inception had a lust for real estate.

From the original chants of “manifest destiny” to the calls for the

annexation of Indian territories our nation has been driven to acquire

land. In this country’s youth land was needed for economic expansion.

However, by the end of the 19th century the entire continental United

States was in our possession and the citizenry of this country turned

their eyes out to sea. the United States no longer sought new lands to

farm and work nor did they need new areas for their geological

resources, the motives had changed. the United States was now driven

by the temptations of world power and political one-ups-manship. the

self-absorbed citizenry looked upon their intrusion into foreign areas

as a moral obligation; to spread the words of democracy and Christ

throughout the world. the Spanish – American War in the final years of

the 19th century perfectly demonstrate this “new” Imperialism. In

addition the American intrusion into Chinese affairs during the Boxer

rebellion is also a proof for the new motives which governed our

international attitude.

By the end of the 19th century Spanish forces in Cuba were in

all out battle with nationalist rebels. the Spanish army had tortured

and killed thousands of innocent Cubans in their efforts to maintain

control of Cuba. the American “Yellow Press” under the leadership of

Pulitzer and others wrote horrific articles about the war in Cuba and

called for the imposition of the United States into the matter under

the flag of moral obligation. President McKinley and his war hungry

Congress saw this as a perfect opportunity to have a “nice little war”

and bolster the status of the United States in the international

community. the war with Spain also gave McKinley am excuse to invade

the Spanish controlled Philippine islands, an important naval site

which would give the United States a voice in the far east. After, the

United States Navy massacred the meek Spanish Armada and defeated the

Spanish forces at San Juan hill, the little war was over. In the

process the United States acquired the Philippine islands, a strong

voice in Cuban affairs, and most importantly, status. the political

support that McKinley received after the Spanish – American War was

“worth” the loss of a few American lives. In addition the control of

the Philippine islands gave the United States clout in the far east

and a chance to spread the dreams of democracy and Christ. Clearly the

forces working behind the Spanish – American War were far different

then those that led our forces, only a few decades earlier, into the

western frontier.

Once the United States had established it’s presence in the

far east it felt obliged to oversee all that went on in the area. So

when Chinese nationalists rebelled against the controlling government,

the United States was most eager to get into the action. At the time

the United States had issued the “Open Door Policy” which called for

the equal financial treatment of all foreign governments. the Boxer

rebellion, as it would later be called, gave the United States a

chance to strengthen the unpopular policy. 2,500 United States troops

were eventually sent into the area and gave the United States the

power to push ahead its own personal agenda in China. the threat of

political instability and the chance to further outstretch its

political sphere of influence were the driving factors behind the

United States’ involvement in this affair. the Imperialistic McKinley

government was not going to sit idly while the other nations of the

world edged the United States out of China.

These two isolated incidents, when analyzed from a historical

frame of reference reveal a growing change in the Imperialistic

tendencies of the United States towards the end of the 19th century.

the United States was determined to gain a voice in the international

arena for the political status it would generate and the strategic

benefits it would foster. This country was settled as a satellite to

it’s mother country, Great Britain, and now it would spread out its

own Imperialistic wings to cover the globe with it’s own political

motivations and moral conscience.


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