Emergence Of The Americas In Global Affairs

United States’ expansionist foreign policies: political, economic, social, and ideological reasons


• Americans had a desire for military strength (after seeing other nations establishing a global military presence
• American leaders advised that the United States build up its own military strength
• Constant fear of communism. (Red scare)


• Americans had a thirst for new markets/goods
• United States, needed raw materials and new markets for its agricultural and manufactured goods because of advances in technology and Imperialists viewed foreign trade as the solution.
• Example: Hawaii and their sugar plantations; Alaska – rich in timber, minerals, and oil
• Oil reserves in Middle East are discovered to be a source of wealth—Britain had a head start. I.e. America wanted a piece of the pie.
• Tariffs to protect American companies which led to foreign tariffs and contributed to the Great -Depression


• Americans had always sought to expand the size of their nation
• European nations had been establishing colonies for centuries


• Many American leaders had become convinced that the United States should join the imperialist powers of Europe and establish colonies over-seas.
• Americans believed that their culture was superior to others and that they must show how other cultures can ‘improve’ themselves.
• Social Darwinism – a belief that free-market competition would lead to the survival of the fittest – with a belief in the racial superiority of Anglo-Saxons; Argued that Americans had the responsibility to spread Christianity and “civilization” to the world’s “inferior peoples”
• Terrified of communism. Red scare.

United States' foreign policies: the Big Stick; Dollar Diplomacy; Moral Diplomacy; applications and impact on the region
Big Stick Diplomacy (a.k.a. the Roosevelt Corollary)
“Speak softly and carry a big stick —- you will go far.”
- West African Proverb
- addition to the Monroe Doctrine of 1823
(Monroe Doctrine – written by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, stated that the European powers had no right to further colonize the Western Hemisphere)
- stated that the United States had the right to enforce an “international police power” over the Western Hemisphere
- belief in diplomatic negotiations backed by military force
- affirmed that other countries did not have the authority to cause unrest in the Western Hemisphere (specifically referring to Latin American and European conflicts in the early 1900’s)

In Asia:
Conflicts of Manchurian and Korean ports resulted in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904.
The Treaty of Portsmouth (1905), when a compromise was met Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize
Led to resentment from Russians and Japanese
(Russia blamed the United States for the first major defeat of a European power by an Asian power. Japan blamed the United States because it did not receive the protection it felt was deserved.)
In Europe:
Creation of the Panama Canal led to criticism of the United States and controversy in the international world. Roosevelt mediated a dispute between England, France, and Germany over territorial rights in Morocco. His settling of the Russo-Japanese war garnered respect for Roosevelt’s policy.
In Latin America (Panama Canal):
Roosevelt, who maintained an imperialist outlook, participated in negotiations for the Panama Canal, which were very hostile. After providing aid to Panama during their fight for independence, the U.S. got its way.
North Korea: Big Stick refers more to economic pressure by using embargoes to send North Korea's already fragile economy into turmoil.
Big Stick has also been used to approach conflicts in Iraq and China.

Dollar Diplomacy – policy of using the U.S. government to guarantee loans made to foreign countries by American businesspeople

Taft’s approach = invest in other countries to make them amenable to US policies

- Taft’s dollar diplomacy also worked to keep other countries’ influence out of places where American business interests had developed. So where the US did invest in Latin American countries, Taft wanted to make sure that the US would have complete control.

- Honduras had been broke forever and took several loans from England, yet it could not pay off any of them. Taft had US banks pay off Honduras’ debts to England with hope that it would lead to political stability. As a result, there was not much stability and Honduras became a responsibility for the US. Wilson then ended up sending troops into Honduras five times.

- Also, the 1912 occupation of Nicaragua allowed Taft to make sure only loans from American banks were extended in order for the country to have an economic tie with the US. Taft felt that it would be better to invest in Nicaragua since it was in better shape than Honduras.

- As a result, the US was not able to fulfill its goals entirely. Having taken on troublesome countries, such as Latin America, the US had to take on the responsibility that these countries brought on.

Moral Diplomacy
- Wilson's idea to condemn imperialism, spread democracy and promote peace.
- mainly dealt with Latin America
- US would only trade with them if they had a democratic government and American ideals

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