Hello and welcome back to the History 2020 lecture series here at East Tennessee State University In the lecture today I want to talking to you about American foreign policy during the early 20th Century leading up to the First World War Specifically we’ll look at how the United States began to define its world role in the early years the 20th Century. We’ll also consider how commercial interests abroad help to shape foreign policy during the Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson administration’s. We’ll also discuss how ill feelings develop between the United States and Latin American countries due to US foreign policy. Finally we’ll examine the idealistic diplomacy of Woodrow Wilson and how this led the United States to intervention in Mexico Throughout much of the 19th Century many Americans express what could be described as almost a lethargic attitude toward foreign policy. There are many more pressing issues at home to keep their attention such as industrialization, western settlement, and domestic policies Indeed most Americans were simply not interested in foreign affairs Yet, the idea of Manifest Destiny with it’s emphasis that the United States was destined to spread its influence in territory remained alive in the decades after the Civil War The expansion impulse was at first directed inward as American settled the trans-Mississippi west. However, during the late 19th Century the impulse turned outward. As Americans witnessed European powers between 1870 and 1900 seizing territory in Africa and Asia, some worry that the United States might be left out or left behind in the scramble for territory, markets, raw materials, and outlets for investment. So beginning in the late 1880’s, a new assertiveness began to characterize American foreign policy The annexation of Hawaii, the Spanish-American War, the occupation of the Philippines, and other overseas development represented both an extension of earlier expansion impulses; as well as a sharp departure from past American foreign policy So let’s talk a little bit about how the United States began to define itself as a world power The 20th Century began with the United States engaged in a bloody, but largely forgotten war in the Philippines that cost hundreds of thousands of lives The conflict was a sequel to the Spanish-American War of 1898, which if you remember had been waged in part to support the Cubans who were fighting for independence from Spain The Philippines had also been part of the Spanish Empire and in 1896 Emilio Aguinaldo organized the Filipino independence movement to drive the Spanish out When the United States declared war on Spain 1898, Aguinaldo’s group supported and assisted American forces So when the Spanish surrendered Aguinaldo proclaimed Filipino independence and drafted a constitution Yet in the peace treaty Spain ceded Puerto, Rico Guam, and the Philippines to the United States; and the victory over Spain, over Spain seems to have where the appetite for US overseas expansion Some American leaders however opposed the annexation at the Philippines because they thought it would corrupt the American principle one that dated back to the Revolutionary War; that people should be self-governing rather than be colonial subjects Also many argued that it was seen to be cost contradictory to liberate the Cubans and annex the Philippines. Others pointed out that the Philippines would be difficult if not impossible to defend if a foreign power ever attacked them Meanwhile though, President McKinley and other leaders supported annexation. For US businesses the Philippines in particular offered a stepping stone into Chinese markets So despite the fact that the Filipinos had declare their independence and had drafted a constitution, President McKinley reasoned that they were not ready for self-government and explain that it was America’s job to quote, “Educate the Filipinos and uplift and civilizing and Christianize them.” However, as a part of the Spanish Empire for many years most Filipinos were already of the Catholic faith, a fact that McKinley either didn’t know or perhaps just ignored Feeling that they been betrayed Aguinaldo ordered his forces to attack the US base of operations in Manila It appeared the so-called uplifting of the Filipinos was gonna require struggle for the United States The Philippine American War fought from February 1899 to July 1902 claimed nearly 250,000 lives, both military and civilian and it helped establish the United States as a power in the Pacific To help govern the Philippines, Congress passed legislation in 1902 that vested authority and a governor-general to be appointed by the

president The Act also provided for elected Filipino assembly and promised eventual self-government That independence finally came in 1946 for the Philippines While the Philippine War was being waged, American leaders turn their attention to China The aim here was not so much territorial as it was commercial During the 1890’s, the United States was not the only nation to emerge as a world power Japan was also making their presence felt in the world as well In 1894, 1895 the Japanese defeated China in the First Sino-Japanese War China’s weakness enabled European powers to begin exploiting it Russia, Germany, France, and Great Britain all established what were called sphere, spheres of influence in China by the end of the 19th century For instance, the Russians won the right to build a railway across the Chinese province of Manchuria Germany secured a long-term lease on Chinese seaports, as well as mining and railway rights The British and the French also carved out commercial holdings as well The British on two occasions in 1898 in 1899, approach the United States government to join them in person preserving the territorial integrity of China against further imperialist actions The US Senate however rejected this invitation both times because they believed it risk entangling alliance in a region where the United States had no strategic investment. Nevertheless this changed with the acquisition of the Philippines; but instead of acting jointly with Great Britain the United States decided it would act alone So what came to be known as the Open Door Policy was outlined by a request made by US Secretary of State John Hay Hay had asked the major European powers to assure American trading rights in China by opening the ports in their spheres of influence to all countries on an equal basis. As it turned out only the British accepted his Hay’s principles, but while the other European powers did not formally accept Hay’s request, they didn’t say no either. So Hay simply announced that all major powers in China had accepted the policy The policy, the policy itself had very little legal standing. For instance when the Japanese became concerned about the Russian presence in Manchuria, they inquired how the United States intended to enforce the policy Hay responded to the effect that at this time the United States was not really prepared to enforce the policy So as Hay pursued the US commercial interests in China a crisis emerged. In 1900, a group of Chinese Nationalist known as Fists of Righteous Harmony called boxers by Western journalists, rebelled against the foreign encroachment on China The boxers killed thousands of foreigners as well as Chinese Christians and laid siege to foreign embassies in the Chinese capital of Peking which we now call Beijing The United States contributed 2,500 soldiers to an international Army made up of British, German, Russian, and Japanese troops and they marched on Peking, dispersed and defeated the boxers in this rebellion In the meantime though secretary Hay had become fearful that the intervention might become an excuse to dismember China all together, so he took this opportunity to sort of refine open-door policy The US he stated in a letter written in July 3, 1900 sought a solution that would quote “preserve Chinese territorial and administrative integrity, as well as ensure equal in partial trade with all parts at the Chinese Empire.” While the Open Door Policy was rooted in the desire of American business to exploit Chinese markets, it also hit on the deep-seated sympathies those who imposed imperialism especially as the policy pledged to protect Chinese into a territorial integrity So let’s take a closer look at the foreign policy that Theodore Roosevelt Probably more than any other American of his time Theodore Roosevelt, transformed the role of the United States in world affairs. At 42, he was the youngest man ever to reach the White House and with his seemingly boundless energy he became the first truly activist president Since he considered the presidency his so-called bully pulpit, his forceful speech is reminded of Americans righteousness, honesty, and civic duty. Roosevelt was particularly forceful when it came to foreign affairs The country had emerged from the Spanish-American War in 1898 as a world power with new responsibilities To ensure that the US accepted it international obligations, Roosevelt stretched his executive powers and the constitution to its limits In the process, he effectively pushed a somewhat hesitant nation onto the world center stage In a trademark of Roosevelt’s foreign policy was established in his adage

quote, “speak softly and carry a big stick.” Since the time of the Spanish-American War, the United States became more deeply involved in the Caribbean One issue that overshadowed every other in the region was the building a canal across the 40-mile wide strip of land adjoining North and South America. A canal would effectively eliminate the hazardous voyage around South America In 1879, a French company secured permission from Columbia to build this canal crossed Panama which was part of Columbia at the time However, construction was continually delayed due to mismanagement and yellow fever. And by 1888, the company was nearly bankrupt and was trying to find a way to recover some of its losses; so the French company offered its assets including its contractual agreement with Colombia to the United States for 109 million dollars The US at this time passed on the offer In 1902, the company offered again and lowered the price to $40 million dollars Congress authorized Roosevelt to accept the offer from the French The following year Secretary of State John Hay signed an agreement with a Colombian diplomat which gave United States a 99-year lease on the project for a down payment of ten million dollars and a yearly fee of $250,000 dollars However, in a strange turn of events the Columbian Senate rejected the deal They wanted the French contract to run out and strike a better deal, so that’s why they rejected it and this caused Theodore Roosevelt to go into a rage He was determined to go ahead with the project, so President Roosevelt found a collaborator in Philippe Bunau-Varilla, an official with the French Canal Company. Wanting to avoid a $40 million dollar loss for his company, Bunau-Varilla organized a revolution in Panama from a New York City hotel room Believe it or not As his wife stitched a flag, he wrote a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution for the nation of Panama. When their so-called revolution occurred as schedule on November 3rd 1903, a US warship conveniently hovered offshore After proclaiming Panama’s independence Bunau-Varilla appointed himself ambassador to the United States John Hay Secretary of State quickly recognized Panama’s independence and signed a treaty granting the United States a 10-mile wide strip of land across Panama on the same terms rejected earlier by Columbia Roosevelt essentially summed up the entire episode by stating quote, “I took the Canal Zone and let congress debate and while the debate goes on the canal does also.” The Panama Canal opened August 15, 1914 just two weeks after the outbreak of the first world war in Europe. That to say the least US behavior in gaining control of the Panama Canal created ill feelings throughout Latin America A feeling that lasted for many generations Equally annoying to the Latin Americans was the constant meddling in their affairs from United States Much of the interference came as a result of debts owed to foreign corporations. For instance in 1904, a crisis over the debts of the Dominican Republic prompted Roosevelt to formulate a sweeping policy in the Carribean In his annual address to Congress Roosevelt outlined what is now called the Roosevelt Corollary It was a policy intended to be in addition to the 1823 Monroe Doctrine The Monroe Doctrine had warned European powers against meddling in Latin America Roosevelt took this further by stating the United States was justified in Latin American intervention when necessary to preempt involvement by outsiders. Meanwhile in Asia the principal of equal trading rights as set forth in the open door policy was tested and resulted in a war between Russia and Japan By 1904, the Japanese had decided that the Russians were threatening their ambitions in China and in Korea. Japanese warships as a result attacked and defeated the Russian Navy. Also Japan sent in ground troops to Korea to drive the Russians out. The Russians retreated back to Manchuria and the war settled into a stalemate Understanding that neither country would benefit from a prolonged war Roosevelt offered to help mediate a peace agreement A treaty was signed in September 1905, where Russia recognized Japan’s predominant political military and economic interest in Korea and both powers agreed to evacuate Manchuria The Japanese show of strength against Russia though worried American leaders about the security of the Philippines Roosevelt secured agreement from the Japanese to which they stated they had no interest in occupying the Philippines Nevertheless, there was still a mutual distrust between the two countries

Now while Roosevelt was negotiating peace between Russia and Japan, an effort that eventually won him the Nobel Peace Prize, tensions in Europe were becoming very heated In 1905, after a dangerous crisis occurred in Morocco Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm, II went to Tangier and gave what can only be described as a said saber-rattling speech criticizing the French and the British in their interest over North Africa An international convention was held and Roosevelt sent delegates because he believed the United States had a huge stake in preventing the outbreak a major war in Europe The US Senate eventually ratified the agreement made at the convention but stipulated that America should remain committed to neutrality with regard to any European affairs In 1907, before Roosevelt left the White House he celebrated America’s rise to the status of world power by sending the US Navy on a grand tour around the world Officially a friendly tour, this so-called Great White Fleet, called this because of the whitewashed ships, emphasize to the world America’s Navel might. So, now let’s look at the policies of William Taft and Woodrow Wilson While William Taft was not the progressive president that his predecessor Theodore Roosevelt was, he nonetheless continued advancing US commercial interests around the world The foreign policy Taft put forward was sometimes referred to critics as Dollar Diplomacy. In essence, whenever US commercial interests were threatened Taft sent in the military to stabilize the situation in order to protect American investments, so that’s why was called Dollar Diplomacy For instance, in Nicaragua 1911 a US-backed revolution allowed Adolfo Díaz to assume power. US bankers loaned the government 1.5 million dollars in exchange for control of Nicaragua’s National Bank, custom service and railroad. And the reason this was done was to keep foreign powers from trying to build a canal across Nicaragua that would rival the US controlled Panama Canal So when a revolt broke out against Diaz’s government in 1912, Taft sent the US Marines to protect the bankers investment and except for one brief interval the military forces remained in Nicaragua until 1933. As Woodrow Wilson took office in 1913 he criticized the interventionist policies of his Republican predecessors. Wilson who had no experience in international affairs admitted before taking office quote, “It would be an irony of fate if my administration had to deal cheaply with foreign affairs.” That irony became all too real as events in Latin America and Europe unfolded in the coming years of Wilson’s administration. Although he didn’t have experience in international affairs that’s not to imply that Wilson was lacking in ideas or convictions about global issues In fact, he considered himself a man of providential destiny who helped create a new world order. One built on morality and idealism, rather than what Wilson considered to be selfish national interest So Wilson developed a diplomatic policy based on this sort of sanctimonious idealism. Upon taking office will someplace the United States would never again seek one additional foot of territory by conquest However, Wilson soon found it difficult to live up to his pledge For instance, in 1915 Wilson sent the US Marines to Haiti and the Dominican Republic after unrest occurred The US military remained in the Dominican Republic until 1924 and in Haiti until 1934 Nevertheless, events in Mexico proved to cause Wilson the most distressed in his dealing with Latin America. Mexico had won its independence from Spain back in 1820. Yet the nation had remained divided between a landowning elite an impoverished peasantry. In 1911, an uprising led by Francisco Madero overturned the 30-year rule of President Adolfo Díaz Just months after Wilson took office, Mexican troops staged a military coup resulting in the murder of Madero General Victoriano Huerta took control of the government. In this confusion Wilson attempted to protect US investments in Mexico and provided safety to American citizens living along the US-Mexican border American investors had devoted nearly two billion dollars in Mexican oil wells and other ventures. Additionally, nearly 40,000 Americans had settled in Mexico under Diaz’s regime. However, Wilson refused to recognize the new Mexican government under Huerta He instead refer to it as quote, “A government of butcher’s.” Wilson self righteously announce quote, “I’m going to teach the South American republics

to elect good men.” The US at the same time authorized arms sales to Huerta’s rivals and Wilson ordered the port Veracruz blockaded to prevent Huerta from receiving arms, shipments from Germany In April 1914, 7,000 US troops occupied Veracruz and fought against Huerta’s forces. Wilson assumed that the Mexican people would view the US military’s liberators, but instead it brought criticism of so-called Yankee imperialism A court to advocate and a leader who was friendly to the United States was installed American troops left Veracruz in 1914 Nevertheless the turmoil in Mexico continued Fighting among various factions of the government resulted in the Civil War Francisco Pancho Villa led one of the largest revolutionary armies Wilson vowed he was gonna stay out of the matter this time and Poncho Villa in his men began crossing the border on raids into Texas and New Mexico in an attempt to build up Villa’s reputation as an opponent of Yankee imperialists On one particular raid Poncho Villa and his men rode into Columbus, New Mexico; they burn the town and the killed seventeen Americans, men and women A furious Wilson sent General John J. Pershing across the Mexican border with 11,000 US soldiers For nearly a year US troops chased Poncho Villa, but had no luck in catching him. They were then ordered home in 1917 because of a much greater and pressing issues occurring in, in Europe Despite trouble and disorder in Mexico, the situation with Mexico was minor in comparison to what erupted in Europe in the summer of 1914. No one could imagine the scale of destruction and massive loss of life that would occur during the First World War The United States tried to avoid this conflict in declaring neutrality, but as we will see another lecture maintaining neutrality would prove difficult and the United States became engulfed in a world war

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