The history of foreign-policy of the United States went through three major positions.
The first was complete isolation in diplomatic affairs of the world, The next was alliances with European and other military partners, and the last was being entangled in the world affairs which is the position the United States is in today. In the first 20 years of the 20th century, the foreign policy of the United States changed very much and the change was permanent. George Washington’s Farewell Address in 1789 contained one major piece of advice to the United States: which was to not become entangled in worldly affairs and alliances. This advice shaped the foreign policy of the United States for more than a century. George Washington was a firm believer in minding one’s own business. This is evidenced by his Neutrality Proclamation.
George Washington’s Neutrality Proclamation stated that The United States would take no part in the war between two or more other powers, especially France and Great Britain. In 1797 the French were seizing American ships leading to an undeclared war known as the Quasi-War. When diplomacy attempted by John Adams failed, the French demanded that the United States pay France bribes to see the foreign minister Talleyrand in an event known as the XYZ affair in which the French agents were simply known as X, Y, and Z.
It ended with Adams not staying true to his political principles and making peace with France. An act which was not supported by the public but was the right decision to make. Singh 2In 1803 in the period known as the Jeffersonian era, the US would expand extensively and diplomacy would be broken down as the previous dream Washington had regarding foreign policy would slowly fade and provide the foundation for the eventual abolition of the neutrality proclamation. In an act of hypocrisy, Thomas Jefferson by the Louisiana purchase in which he purchased land west of the Appalachian Mountains. The one event that marked the start of the end of the George Washington Neutrality Proclamation was when the United States declared war on Great Britain and diplomacy faded. This is a prime example of the transition from complete neutrality to affairs among European countries. In 1893, Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown by a business community and a provisional government was proclaimed. The Kingdom of Hawaii asked to join the United States but annexation was refused by President Cleveland.
Eventually it was annexed by President McKinley. In the mid-1890s, the United States found itself in yet another foreign affair: Cuba. The American public thought of the Spanish hold on Cuba as brutal and supported Cuba and its venture for independence. The United States government kept pressuring Spain to give Cuba its freedom but was dissatisfied with the response. At this point, Americans were looking for a reason to go to war with Spain and they got one.
In 1898, the American ship USS Maine exploded for unknown reasons. Americans were certain that Spain had done it and Democrats and Republicans alike demanded war to liberate Cuba. War ensued almost immediately. The United States won the 4 month long Spanish-American War. The Spanish-American War is of great importance in the history of foreign policy of the United States because it is the point at which the United States changes from the George Washington Neutrality Proclamation to being Singh 3a player in world affairs. Some results of the change were the Roosevelt Corollary being added to the Monroe Doctrine which essentially made the United States the “cop” of the Western Hemisphere.
Under Theodore Roosevelt, do United States goes on to settle other foreign affairs like the Russo – Japan War, a canal is built in Panama and the US demonstrates its navy to the world on the tour of the great White Fleet. The United States is a world power for the first time and this change is permanent as proven by the future presidents. The presidents after Theodore Roosevelt also followed the route of intervention in world affairs. President Taft’s key principle was the Dollar Diplomacy which stated that the United States can achieve its goals through foreign investment rather than through force. After Taft was Woodrow Wilson. It was under Woodrow Wilson that the whole world was convinced of America’s role in the world as a global power. The United States intervenes in the Haiti debt crisis by sending troops and the Mexican Revolution by sending troops to chase Pancho Villa. Under Wilson the George Washington neutrality proclamation was forever abolished in one of the biggest events of the early 20th century: World War I.
When World War I erupted in Europe, many Americans along with Wilson wanted to stay neutral. This would not last as tensions arose between the United States and Germany won many United States ships were sunk by Germany as they were traveling to Britain. In February 1915, Germany declared unrestricted warfare against all ships neutral or not. President Wilson was out raged. However the Germans continued on May 7, the Lusitania ship was sunk without warning and a 178 Americans died.
When Germany continued on to sink four more US merchant ships, Wilson appeared before Congress and on April 4, the Senate voted 82 to 6 to declare war against Germany. America had entered World War I. The entry into World War I was the event that abolished George Washington’s Neutrality Proclamation forever. The United States had gone from being a neutral country to a major world power.
This change was immense and it is one that is still true today. From the beginning of the United States to now, the foreign policy has changed greatly. The United States went from being neutral in wars to being a major world power. Many events such as World War I contributed to this.
The foreign policy of the United States changed greatly in the first 20 years of the 20th century and this change was permanent.