America’s Role in the World after the Civil War
As the civil war came to an end Americas southern territory was in a horrible economic place it was, looted burned, and destroyed by the unions strength to defeat the confederacy. America saw this as a time to reconstruct morally, socially, and economically. During post-war northern Americas industries soared with the help of tariffs passed during war time. It helped corporations like steel and oil to grow and create better technology and mechanics. The growth of industries in America made Americans look outwards to other countries, they wanted to make the American lifestyle known globally. The United States sought to increase its role in the world because of popularized idea of American exceptionalism and imperialism, and to gain strategic territory that would help America gain more power. America’s role in the world changed due to the fact that many people thought that the idea of American exceptionalism and imperialism was superior to other countries. American exceptionalism is the idea that the united states is different from other countries due to its specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy partly rooted in that is where American imperialism came from which refers to economic, military, and cultural influence of the united states on other countries. It was first popularized by James k Polk on the concept of an American empire but started to influence more people when America’s economic and industrial power grew.
Josiah strong believe in the idea of American exceptionalism although not morally great he believed that America’s mostly white race was superior to other countries. That the highest civilization, America must spread its democracy and Christianity to other countries and institute themselves upon their mankind. (doc 2) Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan and the interest of America in sea power, present and future, shows the American imperialistic views that America had in its role towards the world. Mahan views were to increase the power of America’s navy to have a military to take control of weaker lands such as the Caribbean and central America, to reap the lands of their economic power and influence American culture on them which would increase the role America had on the world.(Doc 3) The Spanish American war was marked as the first entry into world affairs for America, contradicting its statue of isolationism.
The war asserted the nation’s interests which was the belief of American imperialism which its what America did to Cuba with their military. In (Doc 4) despite the authors ant-imperialistic views it supports Mahan’s idea of American imperialism by having a stronger navy to influence American culture on Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and the sandwich islands.(Doc 4) America gave a choice to Cuba which was either to impose American exceptionalism which is a more moral way to influence Christianity and democracy or to impose American imperialism by forcefully imposing American government and culture(Doc 6) The growing idea of American exceptionalism and imperialism after the war was clearly a primary role in America’s global expansion. Besides America’s idea of American exceptionalism and imperialism was the idea of gaining territory that would be a strategic move for America’s role in the world. The Louisiana purchase was the start of Americas goal to gain territory then came manifest destiny which was the basis of the Mexican American war which ultimately gave America a stronger hold on north American dominance. Years after the civil war America signed a treaty with Russia paying them seven million dollars in gold for them to cede from their land in north America (Doc 1) creating more north American dominance for America.
Theodore Roosevelt felt that he needed to justify the way America acts in gaining territory by appealing to the people with American exceptionalism views, giving the country the right to gain territories that they want for power by simplifying saying they are intervening to help the neighboring country become stable and influence democracy with international police power like the Spanish American war(Doc 7) A different way to America gained territory was by The open door policy which was a statement of principle initiated by John Hay from the united states in 1899 that called for equal privileges for all countries trading with china and support of Chinese territorial and administrative integrity, it was the cornerstone of American foreign policy in east Asia(Doc 5) It was a strive for American territory for trading and gaining economic power from the open ports in china, from cheap manufactured textile and cheap cotton it was a big step economically in a territorial kind of way for America. America’s role in the world increased significantly by gaining territory from other countries and north America.
American Imperialism and exceptionalism continue to affect American foreign affairs to this day After World War two America came up with The Marshall Plan and the Berlin airlift. When Europe lay in shambles and European countries struggled to rebuild their devastated infrastructures, and The United States recognized that bolstering the economies of the European states would not only undercut Communist influence but would also provide markets for American goods. So George C. Marshall announced a massive commitment of financial assistance to Europe in June 1947. Between 1948 and 1951, more than $13 billion was funneled to 16 countries through the Marshall Plan, contributing significantly to the reconstruction of Western Europe. The Marshall plan was a moral thing for America do to yet it was also partly passed because it would give America a market for goods and economic boost. Also The reason for the war in Iraq over weapon of mass destruction proved to be false and that the war was started for the main reason to invade and gain control the large amount of oil in Iraq. The involvements in American foreign affairs can still be connected back to the era were Imperialistic views were dominated and started the huge role we have with the world today.