UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY: ISOLATION vs. INTERVENTION
PART ONE – SYNOPSIS

1)George Washington’s foreign policy “advice” was to avoid entangling alliances.
2)John Adams recommended, “We should separate ourselves as much as … and
as long as possible from all European politics and wars.
3)Thomas Jefferson recommended, “peace and commerce and honest friendship
with ALL nations – entangling alliances with none.
4)Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase (1803) was considered “enough land to last ten
generations.” Jefferson hoped to create American self – sufficiency.
5)Jefferson attempted a boycott of British goods because British ships were
kidnapping American sailors on the high seas. Hated by many,
the economic boycott “hurt” more than it “helped”.
6)American shipping in the Atlantic and Mediterranean was being pirated by
the Barbary Pirates.
7)Jefferson sent the Marines to attack the city of Tripoli in “retribution”.
8)Jefferson, originally dedicated to American national ISOLATIONISM,
felt forced to INTERVENE in international affairs.
9)The Monroe Doctrine (1823) asked for no European interference in the Americas.
10)In return, the United States would stay out of Europeans affairs.
11)Americans could seek to stay “isolated” from Europe because they had room to
expand westward.
12)Manifest Destiny stated it was the “destiny” of the U..S. to spread its civilization (individual freedoms, self-government and prosperity) across the
North American continent.
13)The land was not unpopulated. Native Americans were forcibly moved
“westward” to reservations.
14)The Mexican-American War was started in part because of the “annexation”
(adding) of Texas in 1845.
15)Interventionists saw this as a great opportunity to expand American interests.
16)Isolationists saw the war as an unwanted expansion of slavery. Congressman
Abraham Lincoln protested against the war. Thoreau’s book “Civil Disobedience”
would later influence Gandhi in India and Martin Luther King, Jr.
17)In 1853, Commodore Perry was sent to Japan to “open” it to trade.
18)Three things led to the opening of America – INDUSTRIALIZATION,
immigration and URBANIZATION. These forces effectively ended isolationism.
19)Industry requires RAW MATERIALS and MARKETS for trade of our surpluses.
With mass production, America produced more than it consumed.
20)Economic expansion led to foreign policy expansion.
Economics helped make the United States look outward.
21)”Seward’s Ice Box” (1867) was the derisive term for the American purchase of
ALASKA from Russia. It was rich in natural resources.
22)In 1894, Americans occupied/took over HAWAII. Their Queen Liliuokalani
was overthrown by American citizens backed by Marines and encouraged by
American sugar growers.
23)In 1899, the United States would take control of some the southern Pacific islands of SAMOA.

REASONS FOR EMPIRE
24) #1 – ECONOMIC (natural resources and markets)
25) #2 – MILITARY (economic markets depended on having a strong NAVY)
26) #3 – NATIONALISM (expanding our country’s power, self-interests and influence)
27) #4 – CULTURAL (spreading “American Civilization” around the world)
28)”White Man’s Burden” was the idea that Anglo-Saxon were meant to “civilize” the world, spreading self-government, law, medicine, technological and religious benefits.

SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR (1898)
29)Americans sympathized with the “freedom-fighters” of Cuba.
30)Riots broke out in Havana. President McKinley sent the Battleship Maine there,
to protect American citizens and business.
31)The Maine exploded. American newspapers helped convince the American
public that it was the Spanish who were responsible for the explosion.
The public, spurred on by “yellow journalism”, demanded revenge.
32)American forces easily defeated Spanish forces in the Philippines and Cuba.
The United States had become an imperial power.

The PHILIPPINES
33)The Filipinos had largely fought with the Americans against Spanish rule,
assuming they were fighting for their own political independence.
34)President McKinley later claimed that the Filipinos were “unfit” for self-rule,
until we could “educate” them in the ways of democratic self-government.
35) Emilio Aguinaldo led an armed insurrection against American rule. The three
year war left 4324 U.S. soldiers dead from fighting and disease. An estimated
20,000 Filipino insurgents were killed. An estimated 250,000 civilians died.

CRITICS of AMERICAN “IMPERIALISM”
36)After initial support for the war, Author Mark Twain became part of the
“Anti-Imperial League.” He helped organize opposition to the Filipino War.
37)”Anti-Imperialists” saw the war as a threat to America’s democratic and
anti-imperial traditions. The American Revolution had been against empire and for liberty and self-government.
38)Twain had supported the Spanish-American and Filipino Wars until he concluded the U.S. had no intention of freeing any of the former Spanish colonies.
39)Fellow “anti-imperialist” William Jennings Bryan stated as a 1900 Presidential
candidate that, “No nation can endure half slave and half free.

CHINA – BOXER REBELLION & OPEN DOOR POLICY
40)Americans in China were killed when Chinese (called “Boxers”) who resented
foreigners had an armed rebellion, killing foreigners throughout China.
41)The Open Door Policy was the U.S. seeking access to potentially profitable
Chinese trade. The U.S. sought open and equal trade. (access to everybody everywhere)
42)This was a reaction to Europeans who had divided China into economic
“spheres of influence”.
43)The U.S. sought to limit European influence in Asia. “Open” trade would
benefit American interests.

The PANAMA CANAL
44)President Theodore Roosevelt negotiated the purchase of land to build a canal
in newly “independent” Panama after Colombia had refused to sell the land in their
Panama territory. The U.S. sent troops to make sure Panama stayed independent.
45)President Roosevelt boasted, “I took the canal zone and let Congress debate.”
46)The Roosevelt Corollary was an addition to the Monroe Doctrine that stated
the U.S. should be the “policeman” of the Americas, keeping “peace and order”.
47)Roosevelt’s diplomacy motto was, “Talk softly and carry a big stick”.
48)Roosevelt’s interventionist approach is symbolized by his statement: “I wish that
Americans would realize that American politics is world politics.
We are and should be INVOLVED in all great questions.”

LATIN AMERICAN “INTERVENTIONS”
49)Intervention in Haiti (1915-34) was due to “anarchy” (chaos) and “atrocities” ,
as the U.S. declared them “unfit to govern themselves.” Their dictator was
overthrown. Political prisoners were shot. People rioted against the landed elite.
50)American Marines created an army and police to create “peace and order”
and protect American interests – citizens and business.
51)Intervention in the Dominican Republic (1916-24) occurred when Dominican
national debts were not paid. European nations had threatened “intervention” over their investments.
52)The U.S. intervened by taking over the Dominican customs to pay off their
debts to Europeans.
53)In 1905, President Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating a peace
between the warring countries of Russia and Japan.

AMERICAN DIPLOMACY APPROACHES
54)GUNBOAT Diplomacy is the use of MILITARY FORCE (or threat of)
to influence other nations.
55)DOLLAR Diplomacy is the use of ECONOMICS (business investment in
foreign nations for domestic profit) to influence nations.
56)An example of “dollar diplomacy” was when Nicaragua installed a government
“unfriendly” to U.S. business interests. Marines were sent in to
restore “peace and order”. (and a “friendly” government)
57)In Mexico, Americans owned 40% of their land and businesses.
58)MORAL diplomacy is the use of “PRINCIPLES” and “IDEALS” to
guide American foreign relations.
59)President Woodrow Wilson’s goal in Latin America was supporting,
“… just government based upon law, not arbitrary or irregular force”.
60)Wilson used both “gunboat” and “moral diplomacy intervene in Mexico in 1914.
61)The U.S. navy occupied the Mexican port of VERACRUZ in 1914 to stop an
arms shipment to dictator Victoriano Huerta, who had taken over the Mexican
government during a coup d’etat in early 1913, killing the elected leader Madero.
62)Wilson declared Huerta a usurper (taker) of the “ legitimate” Constitutional Army of Carranza. Wilson: “I am going to teach the South American republics to elect good men”.
Was Wilson “right” (help-ful) or “self-righteous” (hypocritical?)
63)American troops captured the Veracruz customs, post and telegraph offices.
The force suffered sniper fire by an angry Mexicans fighting against foreign invaders.
64)While Huerta and Carranza officially objected to the occupation, neither was able to
oppose American intervention effectively, being more preoccupied by
fighting each other in their own “civil war” – the Mexican Revolution.
65)Intended to be “bloodless”, wilson’s intervention “backfired”. The occupation brought the two countries to the brink of war and worsened relations for many years.
66)An “expedition” to capture Pancho Villa occurred in 1916 to punish him for
leading a raid into the U.S. that killed 17 Americans. It was unsuccessful.
67)Wilson, originally an “isolationist” and “idealist” became an interventionist,
involved in a “tangled web” of moral, gunboat and dollar diplomacies.
Our TANGLED WEB of diplomacy(s), combined with the “MISERABLE MORASS”
of foreign affairs, results in a “tragic” world of the “GOOD, BAD and UGLY”.
whether we “isolate” or “intervene”.
Is foreign policy a dilemma described as “Damned if you DO, damned if you DON’T”?
When does either isolation or intervention leave things BETTER, BAD OR WORSE?

WORLD WAR ONE (The “Great War”)
68)Considered a “foreign ” war, the official American position was NEUTRALITY.
69)President Wilson called it, “… a war with which we have nothing to do,
Whose causes can not touch us”.
70)The U.S. supplied “the Allies” (Britain & France) with war supplies and food.
71)The Allies bought $3 BILLION in war supplies. The U.S. might have been
“politically” neutral, but was definitely not economically neutral.
72)The Germans used aggressive submarine warfare , trying to stop Allied trade.
73)In 1915, the huge ocean ship Lusitania was sunk by the Germans, killing
over 1100 civilians, including 128 Americans. This promoted anti-German
sentiment in the United States.
74)President Wilson narrowly won the 1916 Presidential Campaign, based in part
because of his campaign slogan, “He kept us out of war”.
75)During 1916-17, Wilson called on both sides to accept, “Peace without victory”.
76)Germany then tried to win the war with a great offensive. In 1917, they re-startedunrestricted submarine warfare, sinking “neutral” American ships.
77)The Zimmermann Telegram (1917) sent by the German Ambassador to
Mexico allegedly promised them lands lost in 1848 if Germany won.
78)The U.S. entered the war based on a combination the this telegram, submarine warfare
and a distrust of German militarism more than British imperialism.
79)Wilson intervened to protect American interests – “I cannot consent to the
abridgement (limitation) of the rights of American citizens in any respect”.
80)In April, 1917, President Wilson called Congress to declare war on Germany in order to “Save the World for Democracy”.
81)For Wilson, the war became a great moral crusade for “freedom”.
(caused by dollar diplomacy (economic aid to the allies) leading to
gunboat diplomacy (naval hostilities)
82)American forces helped “tip the balance” in favor of Britain and France. There were
53,000 American soldier combat deaths. Another 63,000 died from disease.

The TREATY of VERSAILLES (1919)
83)The Germans agreed to sign an armistice (they were “exhausted” and could not
win the war) The British and French, with millions dead, sought revenge.
84)President Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” called for an “equitable” peace and a
“world organization” to help prevent future “world” wars,
through “collective security”.
85)Wilson was cheered by Europeans, by trying to turn a “terrible war” into a
“great cause”. European leaders were in no mood to listen to his
“self-righteous preachings”. From their perspective – it was millions
of them who had suffered, died and been victimized)
86)Wilson returned to the U.S. to get treaty approval for U.S. participation in
the League of Nations from the Congressional Senate.
87)Wilson suffered in incapacitating stroke while campaigning for public support for American involvement in the League of Nations. Congress ultimately rejected
American entrance. (remember Washington’s “No entangling alliances”)
88)After World War One, many Americans became “DISILLUSIONED” from
“messy” foreign relations and “pointless” wars.
Americans generally sought peace with a foreign policy of ISOLATIONISM.