Apush, I pledge veritas
Between 1789 and 1823 the United States made cautious efforts to become involved in world affairs to further insulate itself from European involvement with few notable exceptions. This tendency toward isolationism is clearly shown in treaties to resolve outstanding differences with European countries, territorial acquisitions, attempts to maintain neutrality in European struggles and broad policy statements by Washington and Monroe.
Much of the focus during this time period on isolationism has to do with the territorial acquisitions. Many debates were over the territory. America wanted to control the Mississippi river and North Florida because that would mean the ability to control the trade. Pinckney’s treaty of 1795 stated that Americans could have free usage of the Mississippi River and north Florida. This resolved many of the issues the United States were having with Spain. Later in early 1803, after wanting to expand America for some time, Jefferson bought the Louisiana territory, which spread Far East of the Mississippi River. He bought this land from Napoleon for only 15 million dollars, when Napoleon was his weakest and needed the money for the wars he was in. This shows isolationism because of the use of a treaty meaning they wanted to settle their differences. Also the Louisiana Purchase was considered when Napoleon absolutely needed the money.
The United States wanted to maintain neutrality in European struggles because of the policy of isolationism. Washington and others did not want to become involved in foreign wars because they thought it would hurt our country. America became involved in an undeclared naval war with France, this went against a treaty America had with the French. Because of actions like these is the reason many people wanted to stay out of European struggles. The neutrality act was then passed to try and prevent those kinds of things from starting again. Washington and many others did not approve of the fighting and thought it would only separate our country and put us in debt.
Washington and Monroe had many good policies all throughout their presidency. However Washington’s Farewell Address shows great focus on his opinion on becoming entangled in foreign alliances. He thought that if we became too entangled in our permanent alliances our country could become in danger. When he addressed the United States right before his retirement after his second term he had very good points. His view on this had a great influence on isolationism. His broad policy statement was a big influence on all of this.
Many of the reasons isolationism was ever a policy is because of all the wars and things like them the United States got into. Washington and many others had good points when it came to their policies, shown it territorial acquisitions, attempts to maintain neutrality in European struggles and broad policy statements by Washington and Monroe.