Did The U.S. Follow Washington’s Final Address From 1875-1925 Essay, Research Paper
The United States was an infant country in the late 1700’s. At this time, this emerging power had the opportunity to create its own identity and position on foreign policy. The United States had many ties to Europe due to her being the source of the majority of its peoples ancestries, while at the same time it was separated from her by an entire ocean. This has undoubtedly always made a huge difference in directly separating us from their affairs, whether they be small or large in significance. With these factors as quintessential part of our identity, our first President decided to dedicate his farewell address to the direction that he believed would grant the U.S. with the most auspicious conditions possible when making decisions in foreign policy.
In this speech, Washington underscored that while alliances can be beneficial, they can also cause many diverse problems. This theme has resonated in U.S. foreign policy decisions that relate to our international relations throughout the U.S. s existence. Many formulators of United States policy have clung to this isolationist premise in Washington’s Farewell Address. With the advancement of technology and the ability to bridge the Atlantic in an ever-increasing short amount of time, the late1800’s began an era in the United States that has offered many challenges to its national security and economic stability due to problems abroad. In the time period between 1875 to 1924 in light of the Treaty Of Paris, the Boxer Rebellion, and the United States involvement in the League of Nations it can be debated as to whether the United States followed Washington’s advice.
At the time Washington s Farewell Address was conceived, the U.S. was still a relatively weak country in terms of military capabilities. With regard to the of the size of its territory, the United States was one-third as large as it is today (and for the most part in the years discussed in this report). As a new country the U.S. had the chance to make its own relations with foreign countries without submitting to old European prejudices. Washington saw these facts when he carefully composed his Farewell Address that urged the U.S. to stay at peace by declaring neutrality when confronted with European (and international) foreign policy. In following such a plan Washington said no alliances with other countries should be entered into because when if the U.S. entered into alliances, the enemies of the allied country(s) would become a threat to U.S. national security as a part of the package. Washington believed that entering into any European conflict would be trivial, because we would not be protecting our own land in Europe, and we would be killing innocent people that were citizens of a country that in most circumstances did not commit a crime to the American people. If America entangled itself with European alliances, the possibility arises that America could be obligated to enter a war based entirely on our alliance with a country in conflict with another. He believed that the U.S. remaining a neutral country in the face of conflict would fabricate a positive result. Washington believed that our commercial foreign policy should be against favoritism or preference (because that could hurt the U.S. economy), and that we should only alter the course of situations overseas that affect our economy by diffusing and diversifying by gentle means . He hoped that this would give trade a stable course, establish the rights of our merchants, and would enable the American government to support them.
United States foreign policy has been a constantly morphing creature of its own, sometimes following Washington s advice, and sometimes committing itself to be the world s police.
The ratification of the Treaty Of Paris (1898) marked the end of the Spanish-American War. Fought between the United States and Spain, the propaganda that the U.S. used to support the war effort cited of Spain insulting the honor of the United States, while the war was really fought over potential territory. The U.S. became involved with the problems in Cuba in the late 19th century because many Americans sympathized with the insurrections in Cuba which began in 1895 (this can also be attributed towards Yellow Journalism) and U.S. citizens owned $50 million worth of real estate and industry in Cuba.
William McKinley became president in 1897, and later that year the Spanish prime minister was assassinated. After brutal rule that included concentration camps, Spain granted Cuba limited autonomy on January 1, 1898, but that was not enough to stop a riot on January 12, when there was a riot in Cuba against the Spanish. (Trask, 36-43) (Bryan, pp 7 -16)
On January 25, the U.S. government, concerned about disorder in Cuba for the reasons listed above, sent the battleship USS Maine to Havana. On February 15, the ship exploded, killing 266 crewmen. This raised a big outcry in the United States and the call to “Remember the Maine!” On March 28, the Naval Court of Inquiry reported that the Maine was destroyed by a mine, and did not assign the blame to any party. Many newspapers, however, stirred up outrage and called for war (yellow journalism). On April 11, 1898, President McKinley asked Congress to declare war and by April 22, the United States was at war with Spain. (Everett, 77-79)
The declared war aim of the United States was Cuban independence from Spain. American forces landed in Cuba on June 23 and, with the surrender of Santiago on July 16, the Spanish sued for peace through the French ambassador in Washington two days later. The events in the Cuban portion of the war were concluded in less than a month. (Walker, 55-59)
The United States had not expressed an interest in taking over the remnants of Spain’s colonial empire until victory in Cuba had come so easily (in accepted terms of war difficulty). On news of Dewey’s victory, warships began arriving in Manila Bay from Britain, France, Japan and Germany, all anxious to grab pieces of the Spanish Colonial Empire. The German fleet of eight warships was especially aggressive and menacing. All of these imperial powers had recently obtained concessions from China for naval bases and designated commercial spheres of interest. American interests had reason to fear that leaving the Philippines to the designs of the imperial powers might exclude the United States from the Asia-Pacific trade altogether. As a result on August 13, U.S. troops took Manila in the Philippines to ensure its role in Asia Pacific Trade. (Kalaw, 23,92-93,106)
By December 10, 1898 (the day the Treaty Of Paris was signed), and within six months, the war was over. The United States was now a global colonial power, with territory in Latin America, the Pacific Ocean, and eastern Asia. To show the imperialist mentality of the time, the Cubans, who had helped defeat Spain, were not invited to the surrender ceremonies and the Treaty of Paris that concluded the war.
The different aspects of negotiating the peace treaty are as follows:
1)Assumption of Cuban Sovereignty – American Commissioners declined to assume this by asserting firmly to the terms of the intervention resolutions passed by Congress. Spain tried to induce the United States to assume sovereignty over Cuba and become responsible for the Cuban debt. (Smith, 112-114)
2)Claim over Philippine sovereignty – The U.S. argued that no further discussion as to the right of the islands should be admitted, and that the only matter remaining for discussion was the manner of giving over the islands. Spanish commissioners reaffirmed their position as to a discussion of sovereignty of the islands, insisting that the phrase “shall determine the control, disposition and government of the Philippines” in the peace protocol did not warrant any reference to Spain’s withdrawal from the Philippines except on her own terms. (Smith, 114-117)
3)Cuban Anarchy – The U.S. argued that no further discussion as to the right of the islands should be admitted, and that the only matter remaining for discussion was the manner of giving over the islands. In the meanwhile, Spanish commissioners reaffirmed their position as to a discussion of sovereignty of the islands, insisting that the phrase “shall determine the control, disposition and government of the Philippines” in the peace protocol did not warrant any reference to Spain’s withdrawal from the Philippines except on her own terms. (Smith, 118-119)
4)U.S. Demands In The Treaty Of Paris – formulated U.S. demands consisted of
a)Cession of the entire Philippine archipelago;
b)U.S. to reimburse Spain to the extent of her infrastructure expenditures in the Philippines such as ports and harbors, railroad, telecommunications, and other improvements. (Smith, 120-122)
5)Spanish Reasoning For Their Rejection Of Original U.S. Demands -
a)The imprisonment of the Spanish troops in Manila after the suspension of the hostilities violated international laws;
b)The imprisonment of the Spanish troops had prevented Spain from quelling the local insurrection;
c)The United States contributed to the violence against Spain after the termination of hostilities;
d)The United States had wrongfully appropriated public moneys belonging to Spain by seizing the tariff duties at Manila to the sum of $1,000,000;
e)The United States had no rights in the Philippine archipelago except by the consent of Spain during the peace negotiation, and upon terms satisfactory to her.
6)Final Terms Given To Spain For A Peace Treaty -
The American commissioners made a final offer to Spain stating that they could not forget about their proposal for the acquisition of the entire Philippine archipelago, but were willing to offer Spain the sum of $20,000,000, as a given amount intended to cover her colonial infrastructure investment. The U.S. also stated that the she was prepared to make the following sacrifices:
a)That for a term of twelve years Spanish ships and merchandise would be admitted to the Philippines.
b)The Philippines would remain open to the world’s commerce under U.S. control
c)Mutual relinquishment of all claims for compensation, national and individual, and of every kind. This referred to the United States against Spain, vice versa, and any that may arise since the beginning of the Cuban insurrection and prior to the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace. (Smith, 135-147, 153)
On November 28, 1898, the Spanish Peace Commission delivered to the American Peace Commissioners the acceptance by Spain of the terms of the United States, accompanied by a message indicating that Spain yielded only to superior force. An excerpt of a note by a Spanish official states:
“Recognizing the impossibility of further resisting their powerful antagonist tactic and to save greater loss and hurt to Spain, the Commissioners, acting on the advice and instructions of the Madrid Government, now feel that no other course is open to them but to accept the victor’s terms, however harsh, …in order to have peace and not to break the Washington protocol.” (Traxel, 164)
United States foreign policy in this episode entirely precluded all of Washington s advice in his final address. Washington stressed non-interference in other countries affairs because it was his belief that enemies were created by intervening in occurrences that did not directly involve the United States. Although Washington did not mention intervention based on ethical reasoning in his address, it is my deduction that his policy of non-interference would have applied to the U.S. reasoning for prying itself into Cuban affairs according to the social unrest in Cuba.
Washington said, The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations to have with time as little political connection as possible. The superlative reason why America became involved in this conflict is mainly attributed to our unquenchable craving for new markets to practice mercantile business with, to attain new territory for military bases, and new stocks of natural resources. The Boxer Rebellion was another event that challenged United States foreign policy.
Throughout the nineteenth century, China’s emperors had watched as foreigners took over an escalating amount of their land. Time and time again, foreigners forced China to make “humiliating concessions.” Foreign regiments with modern weapons repeatedly defeated the imperial armies. Tsu Hsi, empress dowager of the Ch’ing Dynasty, searched for a way to purge her empire of these foreigners. Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and Russia all claimed exclusive trading rights with China. They were dividing China into “spheres of influence.” By acquiring the Philippines, the United States became an Asian power too. With a military/economical base about 400 miles away from China, American businessman hoped to take advantage of China’s vast resources. All these controversies over China led to a Chinese uprising by the people. The Boxers were the group to lead these angry masses. (Philip, 22-27)
The Boxers were an organization of Chinese nationalists who wished to eliminate foreign influence and strengthen the Chinese Empire. They began as a traditional Chinese secret society. The Boxers evolved in the 1890’s in the northern Chinese provinces of Shantung and Chihili and its name, I-ho-Ch’iian, could be translated as “Righteous and Harmonious Fists,” since its objective was to harmonize the minds and bodies of its members while preparing for combat. Society members and the Chinese who observed their public demonstrations exclaimed that the Boxers’ bodies became “invulnerable to swords or bullets.” (Preston, 31-39) (Harrington, 83)
With foreign intervention leading to a changing China, the Boxers became dedicated to protecting its (China) traditions and lifestyles. The Boxers became fixated with obstructing all foreign intercession and to encourage this hatred leaders of the Boxers espoused the slogan Overthrow the Ch’ing; destroy the foreigners, as a way to motivate members and non-members alike. This movement’s slogan reflected the dismay of the Chinese people and government when Japan won the war of 1894- 1895. However, the Boxers were mainly committed to preventing the aggressive efforts of Western missionaries and military forces that were endeavoring to increase their control over the Chinese. This combined with two-year paucity in agricultural harvests and floods in the Yellow River Valley between 1896 and 1899 led to the tribulations of the Chinese becoming insurmountable, for which the Boxers held the Ch’ing Dynasty and the foreign devils liable. (Preston, 88-91) (Henderson 47, 71)
The Boxers utilized violence against the foreigners as a way to show their hatred. The group began to gain support and popularity from the majority of the Chinese people. In a speech to a crowd of people, a Boxer affirmed (in translation), “Scholars: put down your brushes. Farmers: lay down your rakes. Trader: abandon your business. Artisans: put down your tools. Everyone, sharpen your knifes, supply yourself with bullets, swear an oath, and cry out. If the Manchus help the foreigners kill us then first kill all the Manchus. If those corrupt officials help the foreigners kill us, then first then kill all the corrupt officials. Forward and kill, forward and kill.” (Henderson, 75)
After becoming familiarized with the Boxer society, Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi began to laud their objectives and even and grant them favors. On January 11, 1900, the empress issued a decree which referred to the Boxers as “public- spirited persons who helped China.” She was eventually successful in persuading the Boxers to change their slogan to “Support the Ch’ing; destroy the foreigners.” (Henderson 64, 103-105)
In the early months of 1900, thousands of Boxers roamed the countryside of China. They attacked Christian missions, slaughtering foreign missionaries and Chinese converts with the encouragement and permission of the empress. After this form of genocide came to cessation, they moved toward the cities, attracting an additional number of followers. Nervous foreign ministers were adamant that the Chinese government stop the Boxers. From inside her palace gates, the empress told the diplomats that her troops would soon quell the “rebellion.” Meanwhile she did nothing as the Boxers entered the capital. (Preston, 109-111,114,118-121) (Henderson, 87)
Foreign diplomats, their families, and staff lived in a compound just outside the “Forbidden City’s,” or palace walls in the heart of Beijing. Working together, compiled a “hasty” defense, and with a small force of military personnel, they faced the Boxer onslaught. One American described the event, 20,000 Boxers advancing in a solid mass and carrying standards of red and white cloth. Their yells were deafening, while the roar of gongs, drums, and horns sounded like thunder. (Henderson, 95-96) Surrounded by the Boxers, the foreigners could neither escape nor send for assistance. For approximately two months, they withstood fierce attacks and bombardment. After a month passed with no communication from the diplomats, the foreign powers grew worried. The foreign powers assembled an international relief force of soldiers and sailors from eight countries. The United States, eager to rescue its ministers and to assert its presence in China, sent a contingent of 2,500 sailors and marines with the objective of rescuing their diplomats by any means necessary. After rescuing a besieged delegation in Tientsin, the international force marched to Beijing, fighting Boxers and imperial soldiers. The international troops looted the capital and ransacked the Forbidden City. (Preston, 144-167)
Fearing the international troops, empress Dowager escaped the city in disguise as a peasant, returning to the Forbidden City a year later. The authoritative command the Ch’ing dynasty held was gone forever. (Langellier, 204, 206)
Negotiations took more than a year to complete because the foreign delegates quarreled about what their demands against China would be in full context. The United States obligated itself to preserve the existing Chinese government and to keep “Western indemnity” (Henderson, 104) as low as possible in this treaty. By September 7, 1901, the 11 nations with interests in China signed the treaty with China’s representative, Li Huang-Chang. (Preston, 182-186)
The important terms of their treaty which is popularly known as the “Boxer Protocol” were as follows.
1) The Chinese would execute 10 high Boxer officials for treason and punish 100 others related to Boxer operations.
2) China would pay the foreigners an indemnity equal to $333 million.
3) Foreign nations would occupy 13 ports including Tientsin in order to guarantee open communication with Peking.
4) China would levy a 5 % effective tariff on foreign imports.
5) Chinese forts at Taku and between Peking and the sea would be “razed.”
6) Edicts to prevent the renewal of Boxer propaganda would be published.
The United States received $25 million of this Chinese indemnity but did not join the other powers at the ports. (Preston, 199-213)
The United States responded with military action and diplomatic solutions to the Boxer situation. Not wanting to abandon the “open door” policy Secretary of State John Hay had recently announced, he sent a second Open Door Note on July 3, 1900. Hay refused to acknowledge the imperial government’s connivance in the rebellion, and called for a continued international respect for Chinese rights. He asked for “territorial integrity” (Henderson, 132) which urged other nations to avoid using the Boxer Rebellion as an excuse for the partition of China. (Peterson, 220-223, 225)
Nearly of the premises in Washington s Farewell Address were disregarded in this case of U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. administration rejected all ideals of isolationism, instead entangling itself with Chinese and European affairs for the sake of our economy. Washington stated, Our detached situation enables us to take a different course… the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance. The only offense committed by the Chinese against the U.S. people was the Boxers onslaught against our foreign diplomats, and while this is an egregious action I believe that the United States only necessary action would be to subdue the rebellion long enough to retrieve our diplomats safely. This was an annoyance, not an offensive act against the American people. I am unable to discern what ethical reason by measure of contemporary values we used to appoint ourselves mediators of the situation.
The only similarity to Washington s Farewell Address in this circumstance of U.S. international relations is the way in which she mediated the situation. Although the U.S. was a segment in the international force that fought China to weaken her to defeat, it was United States Secretary of State John Hay that urged the other nations to respect China s integrity with regard to their territory, and carve out equal spheres of influence instead of fighting each other for who had the larger fraction of the whole. Washington expressed, Observe good faith and justice toward all nations, and by aiding the other nations in this dispute with China into an environment where there was no preferred nation over another prevented any international antipathy from arising.
The United States complex and long involvement in the League of Nations is centered around the man who conceived the idea of the League and offered it to the world and to the U.S. Senate. Woodrow Wilson, the president of the United States during World War I, developed its charter and argued its merits and possible advantages to the world and U.S. alike for the last few years of his presidency, and life. Despite all of his efforts in the United States, the Senate still refused to ratify it.
In England a League of Nations Society was founded in May 1915, and the idea of a League was supported publicly in the U.S. In the United States numerous branches of the League to Enforce Peace sprang up around the country, with Woodrow Wilson being an avid supporter of them. On May 27, 1916 this group, supported by ex-President William H. Taft, heard speeches by President Wilson and the Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Lodge was wary of forming entangling alliances, about which Washington had warned America in his farewell speech, but this he felt should not prevent the U.S. from joining with other civilized nations to stop wars before they start and encourage peace. In fact the Senator stated strongly, “We must find some way in which the united forces of the nations could be put behind the cause of peace and law.” (Du Collogue, 43) In his speech Wilson also declared, “The nations of the world must in some way band themselves together to see that that right prevails against any sort of selfish aggression.” (Du Collogue, 44) He believed that civilization can not be firmly established until nations are governed by the same code of conduct that we demand of individuals. He outlined three fundamental principles: first, that every people has the right to choose their sovereignty; second, that small nations as well as large ones ought to have the guarantee of territorial integrity; and third, that the world and the rights of its people and nations ought to be protected from disturbing aggression. He proposed that the United States initiate a movement for peace calling for a “universal association of the nations” to maintain security of the above principles with the help of world opinion. (Du Collogue, 46-48, 71, 93-99) (Scott, 67-72)
Wilson expressed his hope that peace could be negotiated soon, and he was convinced that after the war an international association of power must prevent any further wars. He offered the United States Government with its tradition of upholding liberty to serve by using its authority and power to guarantee peace and justice throughout the world by means of the (his) League Of Nations. The President wanted to indicate the conditions upon which the United States could enter into this process. Firstly, the war must be ended, and by a treaty of peace that would be internationally approved and guaranteed by an international treaty, which must include the countries of the New World. He believed that this organized force of mankind protecting the peace must be greater than any nation or combination of nations. Wilson did not believe that the war should end in a new balance of power but rather in a just and organized common peace, for he believed no one can guarantee the stability of a balance of power. He proclaimed that it must be a peace without victory so that the victor will not impose intolerable sacrifices which result in resentment and escalating hostilities in the future. Stating that equality of nations is the right attitude for a lasting peace, Wilson also believed that a just settlement regarding territory and national allegiance was necessary, “governments derive all their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that no right anywhere exists to hand peoples about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were property. That henceforth inviolable security of life, of worship, and of industrial and social development should be guaranteed to all peoples.” (Du Collogue, 118)Peace can only be stable with justice and freedom; otherwise the spirit rebels. Wilson asserted the importance of freedom of the seas and also the need to limit navies and armies. Wilson felt that he was speaking “for liberals and friends of humanity in every nation . . . for the silent mass of mankind.” He suggested that the American principles of the Monroe Doctrine (from 1823) should be extended throughout the world so that “every people should be left free to determine its own polity, its own way of development, unhindered, unthreatened, unafraid.” These principles of self determination, freedom, and protection from aggression “are the principles of mankind and must prevail.” (Du Collogue, 126) (Knock, 88-96, 115-125) (Scott, 33,78-80, 100-109)
Wilson thought that peace could only be maintained by a partnership of democratic nations and that autocratic governments could not be trusted. Therefore Americans must fight for the liberation of the world’s people, including the German peoples. “The world must be made safe for democracy.” The League Of Nations was the brainchild of this idea. (Du Collogue, 133)
By the end of summer 1918 the Central Powers were breaking up, and on September 27th of that year Wilson appealed to the peoples of those countries by suggesting more specific peace proposals. Once more he emphasized that right must be made superior to might. The idea of a League of Nations was beginning to take a more definite shape. Each government must be willing to pay the price necessary to achieve impartial justice, by sacrificing some of its individual rights to the League of Nations.
Wilson outlined five particulars:
1) Impartial justice means no discrimination or favoritism between peoples;
2) No special interest of a single nation should infringe upon the common interest of all;
3) “There can be no leagues or alliances or special covenants and understandings within the general and common family of the League of Nations;”
4) There can be no selfish economic combinations or boycotts except as “may be vested in the League of Nations itself as a means of discipline and control;” and
5)”All international agreements and treaties of every kind must be made known in their entirety to the rest of the world.”
(Knock, 140-143, 146-149, 151-152, 155-159, 160-162)
President Wilson read the Armistice Agreement to Congress and promised food and relief to a suffering Europe. He pointed out the disorder in Russia and the chaos that resulted from attempting conquest by the force of arms, and he asserted, “The nations that have learned the discipline of freedom and that have settled with self-possession to its ordered practice are now about to make conquest of the world by the sheer power of example of friendly helpfulness.” (Du Collogue, 150) Wilson exclaimed in his several League Of Nations-related speeches that America must hold the light for the peoples who were just then coming into their freedom. It was this clause of the League Of Nations that gave way to entangling alliances that would eventually lead to the U.S. not entering the League through its defeat in Congress. (Scott, 72, 111-113, 115)
The next day he addressed the Peace Conference in Paris, where he discussed the league and its main principles. “Settlements may be temporary, but the action of the nations in the interest of peace and justice must be permanent. We can set up permanent processes. We may not be able to set up permanent decisions.” (Knock, 229) The idea for a League as an essential part of the Treaty of Versailles was adopted unanimously, and a subcommittee for the drafting of a League of Nations Covenant was selected with President Wilson as chairman. (Du Collogue, 157, 162, 163-170)
General Jan Christiaan Smuts, the leader from South Africa who had confronted Gandhi, published a pamphlet, The League of Nations: A Practical Suggestion, calling for a strong and active League which would not only prevent wars but also be a living, but also be a working organ of peaceful civilization. He wrote in his pamphlets that the League Of Nations must have general control of international affairs involving commerce, communications, and social, industrial, and labor relations. His extended beliefs on what he believed the duties of the League Of Nations should be summarized why Congress would eventually not approve of it. This was to be because of the mass amounts of individual rights that the U.S. would have to sacrifice. (Scott, 50)
An extremely proud President Wilson presented the League of Nations draft to the Peace Conference. The League was to consist of a body of delegates, an executive council, and a permanent secretariat. Any issue of international relationship would have free discussion, for “that is the moral force of the public opinion of the world.” (Knock, 230-233) However, if moral force was not sufficient, armed force was to be available only as a last resort. The League was designed to be simple and flexible, yet a definite guarantee of peace, at least in words. Securing peace was not the only purpose of the League, it could also be used for cooperation in any international matter, such as debating/negotiating labor conditions. The day after the draft was accepted by the plenary session, the President departed for the United States. (Du Collogue, 173-177)
In Washington, Wilson met with Congressional representatives to discuss the League. By the time he returned to France in March American public opinion was insisting on four alterations.
1) The Monroe Doctrine must be explicitly protected.
2) There must be a way nations could withdraw from the League.
3) Domestic disputes must be exempt from League interference, including tariffs and immigration quotas.
4) A nation must have the right to refuse a mandate for a territory.
Despite these revisions to the League Of Nations charter, there were strong isolationist sentiments against the Treaty in the Senate. Many senators favored it, but ratification of a treaty required two-thirds of the Senate. A third group led by Senator Lodge demanded reservations, particularly to Article 10 of the League which read:
The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled. (Du Collogue, 188)
(Scott, 200-204), (Knock 234-255, 257-261)
For Wilson this was the key article that made the League Of Nations essential, it was the Monroe Doctrine applied to the world and protected by all. To the Senate this was the key article that made the League Of Nations a cause of entangling alliances, something which they desperately did not want. The President explained to the senators that this was a moral obligation but not necessarily a legal obligation. Senator Warren Harding asked what good it would do if it was only a moral obligation which a nation could ignore since it was not legally bound. Wilson pointed out that because it was not legally binding, the nation would have the right to exercise its moral judgment in each case. Lloyd George explained that the covenant did not necessarily imply “military action in support of the imperiled nation” (Du Collogue, 193) but mainly economic pressure and sanctions against the aggressing nation. Former President Taft agreed that the chance of getting involved in a war was small because of the universal boycott which in most cases would be effective; only a world conspiracy would require the “union of overwhelming forces of the members of the League,” and in that case “the earliest we get into the war the better.” Taft, a Republican, believed the United States could not be forced into a war against its will, and to think so was “a narrow and reactionary viewpoint.” (Scott, 199-203, 205-221)
Nevertheless, despite these arguments which sought to diminish the belief that the U.S. could be forced into a war that it did not want to fight, opposition in the Senate was growing for just that same reason. Wilson argued that the League of Nations was founded according to the American principles of self-government, open discussion and arbitration instead of war, rejection of secret treaties, high standards of labor, the Red Cross, international regulation of drugs and alcohol, and prohibition of arms sales. He warned against violent revolutions such as had occurred in Russia rather than revolution by vote. The United States could be isolated no more, for “we have become a determining factor in the history of mankind” and in the development of civilization. He declared, “The peace of the world cannot be established without America. (Du Collogue, 197-204)
Despite Wilson s efforts, the League became a dead issue in American politics, and even Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, who both had been early League supporters, could not get the United States involved during their Presidencies due to mass opposition in the Senate. The idea of such entangling alliances was one which the Senate could not bare to deal with. Henry Cabot Lodge proposed a number of revisions to the covenant, figuring that the resulting debate in the Senate would lead to a delay of an actual vote to ratify on the Treaty Of Versailles, of which the League Of Nations was a crucial part. Wilson became ill from his constant touring and speech-making throughout the U.S. to gain support for the League Of Nations, and from his sickbed he made an appeal to all true friends of the treaty (Du Collogue, 234)to reject the Lodge reservations. However, when the Senate defeated these reservations in November of 1919 there was not enough support left to ratify the treaty and the league without reservations. (Du Collogue, 230-243, 246-249, 251-255) (Knock, 298-303)
I personally believe that the entire principle behind the League Of Nations disavows all of the basic principles that the Washington stated in his farewell speech. Even though Washington stated, Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all, he was not a believer in the entangling alliances that the League Of Nations would have placed the United States in. He said in this farewell address, The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations to have with time as little political connection as possible. The United States would have become a quintessential player in all of Europe s affairs. George Washington did not want to see this happen to the U.S., Europe has a set of primary interest which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns…. it must be unwise ion us to implicate ourselves… in… her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships and enmities.
With specific regard to Article 10 of the League Of Nations charter, the United States would have been placed directly into the position of the protector of independence for all established countries, which is obviously quite a daunting task and would be resource draining for any nation. This alone completely differs from the theme of Washington s message.
Even though Washington could not have speculated as to the circumstances of the time; the U.S. being a world power, and the bridging of the Atlantic due to inventions in technology in the 19th century, the same ideals that he believed in 1796 were still preferred, despite Wilson s belief that it would be impossible for the U.S. to stay out of Europe s affairs.
In my opinion, I believe that the U.S. should follow every word, theme, and ideal that the Washington speech stated. It my belief that other counties should be allowed to carry out its own free will and decisions without U.S. interference. If it is a better economy for our country that is so desired, then allowing other countries to develop their own route to prosperity will create a better environment for trade as the country becomes increasingly economically advantageous.
Policies Under The Clinton Administration
1)China – Since becoming President in 1993, Clinton has found it preferable to engage the Chinese in dialogue on such issues as nuclear proliferation, human rights, peace on the Korean peninsula, and the flow of missiles and weapons to the Middle East, where they might threaten the world s oil supply. In other words, he prefers to work with the Chinese toward a more positive future rather than dwelling on the difficulties of the past. While I greatly support all of the ideals that Clinton has strived for above, I do not believe that any country should have the authority to dictate to any other country what it should do in terms of policies. Instead, I believe that the all of these issues should be the United Nations responsibility. No nations should be the police of the world, as one nation can not have the interests of the others in mind at all times. Only an independent organization (i.e., the United Nations) should have this authority.
2)Cuba – Clinton s Secretary Of State Madeline Albright has stated that (U.S. Actions) should help all Cubans to understand that the United States is on their side in the search for economic choice and prosperity in the quest for freedom of religion, expression, and thought. The United States currently has a trading embargo locked on Cuba where it is forbidden to conduct any form of commerce between the two countries. With our country being the leading economic power and agricultural producer in the world, preventing mercantile relations with Cuba has crippled its economy. While there is growing support for absolving the treaty such as the support of Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, It s a lost opportunity for America , the Clinton administration has refused to lift the embargo. Because of Cuba s Communist government and dictatorial leadership (Castro), the U.S. has placed this embargo on Cuba to prevent it from advancing to a position of power that could be a threat to national security. In my opinion, I believe that the Cuban Embargo is only hurting the people of Cuba, preventing them from having a better economy, cheaper food, and therefore a better life. Personally, I think other countries such as Iraq and North Korea pose a more severe threat to national security then Cuba.
3) Kosovo – The United States acted as the world police in 1999 and organized a massive strike against the armies of Yugoslav President Milosovich which were believed to be carrying out genocide against the Albanian people s of the country. With his country crippled from the attacks on his country, Milosovich vowed to stop all genocide in his country and guarantee safety for all remaining Albanians in the country. Under Clinton s urging, the U.S. also sent 4,000 troops to be part of NATO s peacekeeping force in that region to ensure that Milosovich carried out his pledges.
Although I am a full supporter of Clinton s/NATO s actions in that region, I do not think that even though we are the world s superpower that we should be the world s police. Again, I believe that this entire operation should have taken place, just under the authority of the United Nations, and not the United States.
For the actions of the United States in regard to its foreign policy during the time periods discussed in this paper, I believe that the U.S. has completely ignored the foundations of Washington s farewell address. From the seize-for-prosperity actions of the U.S. in the Spanish American war, to its actions in the Boxer Rebellion, and finally its goals in the League Of Nations, we have grown into a nation dependent on other nations for our own prosperity, and as such it has been common policy for the United States to take whatever means necessary to keep ourselves in a position of maximum influence and success.
While Washington s ideas emphasized staying out of other country s affairs and preventing entangling alliances, almost all U.S. foreign policy decisions have uprooted the foundations of his final speech. The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave…Antipathy in one nation against another disposes much more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute. In the time periods specified, the United States has time and time again acted as the world s police force and done whatever it needed to so that our pecuniary betterment would be advanced or kept stable. Even though our causes may be ethically venerated, Washington never wanted the United States of America to become a protectorate of all the world s nations.