Chapter 7 American Foreign Policy

Chapter 7 American Foreign Policy - AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY...

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122 AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY 1890-1914 Better pointed bullets than pointed speeches Otto von Bismarck (1815-1893) READINGS: Stranges, Chapter 7 Henretta, Chapter 21 I. INTRODUCTION The historical problem The role of the United States in international affairs in the period 1890 to 1914 changed from a policy of non-involvement, neutrality, and political disengagement to a more active foreign policy. The United States made several territorial acquisitions during this period . It purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million, or about 1¢ for 50 acres. William H. Seward (1801-72), the secretary of state, negotiated the sale. The Navy in 1859 discovered the Midway Islands, located about 1,100 miles west of Hawaii. They became a territorial possession in 1867. Hawaii, acquired in 1898, became a territory on 14 June 1900. The United States entered the international scene for several reasons . It had concerns about European global expansionism in Asia and Africa. It was looking for markets for its agricultural and industrial products. It sought sources of raw materials for its industries. Involvement in international affairs usually worked to distract attention from domestic discord, such as the 1893 depression. The United States frontier was officially closed in 1890. Many expansionists believed the United States had to find new frontiers in which to spread democracy otherwise the democratic spirit would weaken and die. II. THE DEBATE OVER FOREIGN POLICY Prominent, powerful, and influential Americans were the leading expansionist and imperialist policy advocates. They pledged duty and destiny and believed the civilized nations had to expand over the barbarous nations. Henry Cabot Lodge (1850-1924) was a powerful Republican senator from Massachusetts. Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), a Republican, was president in 1901. John Hay (1838-1905) was secretary of state under William McKinley and Roosevelt from 1898 to 1905. Alfred T. Mahan (1840-1914), the United States’s most influential naval strategist, was at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Mahan in 1890 published The Influence of Sea
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123 Power Upon History 1660-1783 . He said the United States should increase the size of its merchant fleet, expand the fighting navy, and acquire strategically located naval stations. The less influential anti-imperialists included such well-known Americans as Mark Twain, William James, John Dewey, Charles Eliot, and Andrew Carnegie. Some of their arguments were economic and moral as well as racial. III. PROBLEM WITH SPAIN OVER CUBA IN THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY: THE FIRST TEST OF THE NEW ACTIVE FOREIGN POLICY Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. The rest of Latin America had achieved independence by 1824, but not Cuba. Cuba, inspired by José Marti (1853-95), poet, anti-Spanish revolutionary hero and martyr, had
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Chapter 7 American Foreign Policy - AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY...

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