How America's Foreign Policy Shaped

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Foreign policy determines how America conducts relations with other countries. It is designed to further certain goals, and to ensure America’s security and defense. Originally American foreign policy was based isolationism; however, as the United States began to become more powerful, its foreign policy evolved. Through the 19th century, America concentrated on creating a nation that spanned the continent, and it avoided foreign entanglements. Once industrialized and more prosperous, it began looking for foreign markets and colonies. Dollar diplomacy was one strategy used to increase American Influence abroad. In addition to the need to exert more influence in foreign affairs for political reasons, Americans had a belief that their own cultural, moral, and racial superiority justified an increased global involvement. This can also be referred to as the Whiteman’s burden. The late nineteenth century to the 1920s can generally be described as a change of the United States from a very regional power, to a dominant world power. This shift began with the Spanish-American war. This war gave the United States, for the first time, an overseas empire. This war was also a fulfillment of the U.S aim of the Monroe Doctrine, which was that the U.S should secure the western hemisphere of colonial European rivalry which could infringe on U.S economic and political interests. This is one of the reasons why the U.S went to war against Spain, to kick the Spanish out of nearby Cuba. Along with the threats to America from Central America, and Cuba, trouble was brewing over seas in Europe during the early 20th century. When WWI began, the U.S proclaimed a policy of strict neutrality. However, due to unrestricted submarine warfare and the Zimmermann Note, Wilson went to congress calling for a declaration of war on Germany. After being victorious in war, Wilson hoped to revolutionize the conduct of international affairs. He came up with the Fourteen Points, which attempted to...
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