United States and Uk Relations in the 20th Century

Topics: United States, World War II, Cold War Pages: 11 (3726 words) Published: February 26, 2008
United States and UK Relations in the 20th Century:
A Powerful Alliance and the Changing of the Guard

The United States and UK have a shared, multifaceted history. Between them, they have colonialism, wars, partnerships and friendship. Recent events have highlighted their relationship and applauded or criticized it. The thesis of this paper is to evaluate the trends in the relationship of the US and the UK in the 20th century that indicates American ascent from a young nation to a leader of the international community.

This paper will evaluate the key elements of the relationship of the US and the UK as they evolved in the 20th century. A historical review of the developments in this association will be done to provide a perspective to compare current relations. Major developments in the relations of the respective countries that have shaped economic, political, military, and personal policies will also be explored. Consequently, the implications and effects in international relations with each other and other countries because of these historical influences will also be considered. Finally, this paper aims to discern an accurate analysis of the relationship of the US and the UK and its significance to future relations.

The History of Relations: The British Colonization of the Americas and World Leadership
The first permanent English settlement in the Americas was established at Jamestown. The success of the settlers, who were sponsored by the Virginia Company (formerly the London Company), came from profitable tobacco and other agricultural operations, as well as trading with the local Indians. The first form of local administration was formed through the House of Burgesses, which comprised of local representatives, and membership into the house was limited to male white landowners. The House of Burgesses was also one of the first venues of voicing self-governance ("English Colonization of America"). At this point in time, Britain was not the only country who had colonies in what are today the territories of the US. French, Spanish and Dutch colonies were also being established primarily for commercial purposes (Rodee, Anderson & Christol 232-234). However, Britain controlled the most substantial of these territories and was rising as internationally as a global power. By the 1770's however, British taxation on the colonies was gaining criticism and the passing of the Tea Act of 1773 became the flash point of American revolt and the War of Independence against Britain's colonial rule. The Tea Act of 1773 was seen as giving preference to the bankrupt English East India Company and resulted in the boycotting of tea and to the dumping of the tea cargo of three East India ships dubbed as the Boston Tea Party. The American War for Independence lasted from 1775-1781, and ended with the British defeat at Yorktown ("US and UK: A Transatlantic Love Story?"). In the following years, US and UK relations were poor, and included a war in 1812. But relations eventually improved and thrived because of the lucrative trade between the two countries (Latourre 521-527). During the American Civil War years of 1861-1865, Britain was officially neutral, although British ships provided logistical support to the Confederacy. An incident at Trent broke Britain's treaty with the Union but a declaration of hostility was avoided with the intervention of the imperial government ("US and UK: A Transatlantic Love Story?"). With the conclusion of the Civil War, the US focused on building its federal government and constitution and Britain continued its imperial expansion, securing territories in Asia and Africa (Taylor 201-217; Rodee, Anderson & Christol 334). These territories would later play a large part in 20th Century U.S.-U.K. relations.

On to the 20th Century: A Word on Economic Expansion
At the beginning of the 20th century, the US had already established its territories into a federal state and...

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