Foreign Policy | Teen Ink

Foreign Policy

May 8, 2021
By serenapei123 PLATINUM, San Jose, California
serenapei123 PLATINUM, San Jose, California
24 articles 5 photos 0 comments

The Founding Fathers of America created a nation that would remain true to isolationist ideals and democratic principles. However, many events during the country’s growth would challenge that motivation and force political leaders to look further at the global scale to imperialism and eventually war. Even before World War I, the United States joined justified acts of interference in Latin America and China with democratic ideals, world peace, and economic incentives. By then, America already deviated from its original goals. In 1917, the entry of America into World War I marked the final definite departure from America’s previous foreign policy because of the country’s mature global involvement in territorial control, trade with established nations, and new ideas of democratic advancement.

America’s immense territorial possessions overseas played a strong role in the departure from previous foreign policy. By 1900, America had territory in Latin America and great involvement in Eastern Asia. Political cartoons portrayed the advancement of America as a world power in terms of military maturity and brute power. In 1901, the Puck magazine published a political cartoon with America is portrayed as a woman admiring herself in the mirror wearing a naval ship labeled as world power and smoke labeled as “expansion” (doc 1). This fully captured the idea that America took pride in being a global leading power, which was very different from previous foreign policy that limited America’s involvement in international issues. In addition, President Wilson proposed the League of Nations in the Treaty of Versailles in hopes of asserting America as a major political power in maintaining world peace in the future. A political cartoon expressed a potential scenario that would happen if the United States joined the League of Nations, where many soldiers return to America looking depressed are forced to fight and sacrifice their own lives for the security of other nations (doc 5). This political cartoon demonstrated that Wilson’s proposal that opposed previous foreign policy would put United States’ citizens in worse conditions than before.

Trade with other nations also motivated America’s departure from its previous foreign policy. In 1900, Henry Cabot Lodge argued in his speech that Manila would greatly improve the United States’ economy by encouraging wider international markets as one of the greatest distributing and trading spots (doc 2). Additionally, the Platt Amendment of 1902 stated that the United States had the right to interfere with the matters in Cuba after the Cuban Revolution, and that a permanent naval base would be established at Guantanamo Bay. The Platt Amendment was a blatant assertion of United States’ foreign power and demonstrated a departure from the previous Monroe Doctrine, which limited United States’ involvement in other parts of the world. The Open Door Policy in 1900 was also a deviation from previous foreign policy because the United States tried to take control of international trade in China.

Democratic advancement also contributed to the departure of United States from previous foreign policy. Wilson’s Fourteen Points stated that other countries would have to be transparent about international treaties or agreements, and that they will limit national armaments to ensure domestic safety (doc 4). Wilson’s goal was to establish the power of democratic values across the world, which was a deviation from the previous isolationist policy of the United States. The Fourteen Points were not only different from the original goals of the country but also ineffective because it there was no one to enforce the rules. People like Robert La Follette disagreed with United States’ entry into World War I precisely because he realized that they were no longer holding up their previous values. He argued that Americans would not be as supportive of the war as their German counterparts (doc 3). This supports the idea that American departed from previous policies during its entry into World War I.

The entry of America into World War I marked a definite departure from America’s previous foreign policy because of the country’s global involvement in territorial control, trade with other nations, and hopes of democratic advancement. This situation is similar to the Hawaiian Revolution because the United States tried to annex Hawaii for the benefits of economy and trade. This was because Hawaii was located in the Pacific, a stronghold for international trade. In both cases, the United States departed from its previous values in foreign policy due to economic incentives and other motivations.

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