Comparing the United States Before and After the World Wars

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United States foreign policy has always been characterized by a commitment to free trade, protection of American interests, and a concern for human rights. Our founding fathers, specifically George Washington, are responsible for much of the influence regarding foreign policy after their time period and up to the present day. Washington, in his Farewell Address, warned the country to stay out of permanent foreign entanglements and to stay neutral. The United States stayed faithful to Washington’s warnings for about 125 years. But, when the age of Imperialism hit, the country was forced to intervene to prevent other countries from rising up and becoming world powers. The atrocities of imperialism caused something that America will always regret; The First World War. After the war, the United States’ foreign policy changed from all out intervention to almost complete isolation, similar to what George Washington suggested. After the Second World War, American foreign policy back once again to intervention to try and make the world a better and more peaceful place. In comparison, each foreign policy have nearly no similarities, but a wealth of differences.

Throughout the first 125 years of her history, the United States was, for the most part, an isolationist nation. After the onset of two world wars, however, America moved from an isolationist stance to become one of the world’s two superpowers. This stance would remain for almost 50 years, until the Soviet Union would come crashing down, leaving America standing as the lone superpower. But how did American foreign policy influence the world over those 50 years? Why did some Presidents take an idealistic approach to foreign policy, while others looked for more realistic approaches? Since World War II, American foreign policy has taken on a global mission. While the policy has sometimes had an idealistic approach, the realistic approach to foreign policy has benefited America and her...
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