American Foreign Policy Sec. 1 Expanding Horizons • Pres. George Washington advised Americans to increase trade with other countries but to have “as little political connection as possible” and to “steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world”. • These principles guided American Foreign policy of isolationism for about 100 years.
American Expansionism • After the government announced the end of the “frontier” in 1890, Americans began to look beyond the nation’s borders to frontiers overseas where they could expand trade and compete for political influence. • In 1853 Pres. Fillmore sent Commodore Matthew Perry on a mission to Japan & he returned in 1954 & the Japanese signed the Treaty of Kanagawa.
Age of Imperialism • U.S. was not the only Western Nation expanding its trade & influence in Asia. European nations created large empires by exerting economic & political control over weaker regions. The late 1800 early 1900s were called an age of imperialism. • The search for materials and markets drove imperialism. • European powers competed with one another for power and influence in Asia & Africa.
Toward an Empire – purchase of Alaska • After the Civil War, many wanted to U.S. to annex new lands. • Secretary of State William H. Seward supported the view that America should be an empire. • Seward took a major step with the purchase of Alaska in 1867 from Russia for 7.2 million – some ridiculed the purchase calling it “Seward’s Ice Box” or Seward’s Folly” until gold was discovered in the 1890s.
A sense of mission • Some Americans had other reasons for imperialist expansion – a sense of mission. • A belief that they could “lift up” people they considered “uncivilized” by sharing Christianity and Western civilization with the rest of the world. • Josiah Strong, a Congregational missionary proposed an “imperialism of righteousness”.
American Interest in Latin America • Since colonial time the U.S. carried on a flourishing trade with Latin American. • They used the Monroe Doctrine (warning European nations not to attempt to establish new colonies in North or South America) to their advantage and signed treaties with Latin American countries. • At an 1889 conference, the Pan-American Union was established to share information among member nations.
Building Sea Power • As the U.S. looked to expand its horizons, Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, called for improving and enlarging the navy. • To maintain powerful navy the U.S. would need overseas colonies where ships could be refueled. • Congress authorized construction of the first steel-hulled warships, shifted from sails to steam power by early 1900s the U.S. had the naval power needed to back up an expanded role in foreign affairs.