Isolationism to Super Power

9 September 2016

Isolationism to Super Power Trevor Ward HIS:204 American History Since 1865 Instructor: Stephen Chortanoff July 19, 2007 Isolationism to Super Powered Page 2 Isolationism to Super Powered Even though America would eventually need to take action to protect certain interests from opposing powers, throughout most of the 19th century, as well as part of the 20th, many people felt the ountry was better off staying isolated from European affairs and many of the reasons it fought for separation to begin with. Perhaps it was best stated by our nation’s first President during his farewell address, just a few years prior to the start of the 19th century, when he said

“The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled, with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities. ” (George Washington, 1796) Throughout the last few years of the eighteenth century Congress, would however realize the importance of having a peace time army for defense against many of the different threats that had arose ollowing the Revolutionary War, such as Shay’s rebellion in 1786.

Isolationism to Super Power Essay Example

“Shays and many other farmers in western Massachusetts was not doing enough to help relieve their debts (following the war). By the summer of 1786, some of the farmers believed they had to take action. Large groups of them met outside several courthouses in western Massachusetts and refused to let officials do there work. ” (Burgan, 2008 pg 13) Isolationism to Super Powered Page 3 On October 20, 1786, Congress responded to the threat by calling on several states to raise a 1,340- man force to serve for three years, but before any of the soldiers voted by Congress could reach the scene, local militiamen repulsed an attack on the Springfield Arsenal led by Daniel Shays in late January 1787, and a few days later a large reinforcement from the eastern part of the state arrived at Springfield and put an end to the disorders. Shays’ Rebellion was thus responsible for the first augmentation of the federal Army. More important, it helped persuade Americans that a stronger government was needed. (Stewart, 2005 pg. 111) During the early nineteenth century, follow the brief Quasi-War between France, the United States remained relatively quiet and stuck to it’s ideals of isolationism, however it wasn’t always easy to stay away from foreign affairs. One such event that could not be avoided was the First Barbary War. The United States was forced into this conflict following the attack on several American merchant ships, by Barbary pirates of the North African Berber States (Tripoli, Algiers, Morocco, and Tunis), this conflict was later settled by a paid request of tribute by the North African Berber States of $60,000.

Following this conflict American would find itself again matched up against the naval forces of Great Britain, during the War of 1812, they were also entangled in another battle with Algiers in what is know as the Second Barbary War. Although all three wars were fought against a foreign nation, the United States was not the provocateur of these wars and it’s main goal was to protect it’s interest of international trade throughout the oceans. By the the early 1820s, “the young United States had a message for the world: Stay away. Do not plan on establishing any more colonies in North and South America.

Do not interfere in our “New Isolationism to Super Powered Page 4 World. ” ( Burgan, 2007 pg. 4) “ The bold statement to the world was made on December 1823, when the U. S. congress met to hear the annual message of the President James Monroe. In his message, Monroe told Congress-and the world-That the United States would not accept new colonies in North America and that the United States would not interfere in events that took place in Europe. ” This statement would come to be known as the Monroe Doctrine. Burgan, 2007 pg. 6-7) Although the United States did not have the military power to prevent European military forces from taking action in North and South America. Still the Monroe Doctrine showed that the United States was taking an active role in world affairs. ( Burgan, 2007 pg. 8) Following the Monroe Doctrine the United States was largely quiet, when it came to any affairs with Europe, and the main course of its military action took place internally. Such conflicts as the several different battles with the Native American Tribes, that where encountered during the quest for xpansion of the United Sates was the main concerns.

There was also of course the war with Mexico, which was fought to protect the United States interest and secure a solid border and claim everything north of the Rio Grand. The United States also endured a war within itself throughout the nineteenth century, but the only action it took against a threatening European country would be the wars again the French during the French intervention in Mexico, as well as against the Spanish, resulting from the United States intervention in the Cuban War for Independence. Other than that the United States stay solated from any European affairs in the Eastern Hemisphere. That is until 1917. The first World War started in 1914, but the United States felt it should and did stay out of the affairs in Europe during this time, but that wouldn’t last. The Americans entered the “Great War” in Isolationism to Super Powered Page 5 1917 after, “ Germany’s unfettered submarine warfare against American ships during World War I and it provoked the U. S. into abandoning the neutrality it had upheld for so many years.

The country’s esultant participation in World War I against the Central Powers marked its first major departure from isolationist policy. ” (US. History. com) Following World War I, the United States fell subject to the Great Depression and it was in its best interest to stay away from external affairs, because of the lack of money, so America once again kept isolated from most of the political happenings and campaigns, which were taking place in Europe. In They would involve themselves in only a couple minor issues during the period leading up to the second World War, such as a minor involvement in the Russian Civil War against the Bolsheviks (early- ommunists), where they mainly helped to supply the White Army of Russia with supplies. Hardly any fighting was done by American soldiers. They also would help supply the Chinese during the Second Sino-Japanese War, which would later continue on through World War II. Other than these couple interventions the United States stood strong on its policy to not get involved with European affairs. Even during the first few years of World War II the United States held firm, that was until December 7, 1941 when the United States Pacific fleet was attacked at Pearl Harbor, thrusting the United States out of isolation and into the war.

The following day President Franklin D. Roosevelt would declare war on Japan, followed by the declaration of war by Adolf Hitler of Germany and Benito Mussolini on the United States. The war lasted until 1945, when Germany surrender in early May, after the Battle of Berlin. This was followed by the Japanese surrendered in early September, 1945 following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After World War II the United States evolved from a isolationist standpoint to a superpower. Isolationism to Super Powered Page 6 Immediately after 1945 (the end of the war) the United States produced about half of the world’s manufactured goods and held half the world’s currency reserves. ” (Kimball, 1992 pg. 30) They also put in effect the Marshall Plan to help rebuild Western Europe after the effects of World War II, to help protect it from the growing threat of communist Russia. “Original accounts of the Marshall Plan, or European Recovery Program as it was know officially, hailed this celebrated enterprise as evidence of America’s assumption of world leadership after the Second World War’. Together with the North

Atlantic Treaty (NATO) and other instruments of Cold War diplomacy, the Marshall plan supposedly marked the end of the isolationist era and the beginning of what Henry Luce called the “American Century. ” (Hogan, 1989 pg. 1) However even with the Marshall Plan in action, the threat of Russia, also a superpower following the Second World War, and communism would continue to threaten the world till this day. Following World War II came America’s involvement in the Korean War in June 1950. The Korean war was between the Republic of Korea (aided by the United States) and the Democratic People’s

Republic of Korea (aided by People’s Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic or U. S. S. R). Communism was spreading its way throughout Asia and the United States. The United States felt that total Communist control of Korea, would weaken the area and make Japan vulnerable , which they felt was a major strategic military point for the threats of the United Soviet Socialist Republic and Communist China. Not to mention they felt they needed to contain Communism and the Kremlin. The Korean War eventually ended in a stalemate, with both North and South Korea still split at the 38

Parallel, also know as the demilitarized zone. However it put a halt to anymore fighting in Korea Isolationism to Super Powered Page 7 during the remainder of the Cold War. By the end of the Korean War and the rising threat of the Cold War, it was evidently clear that the United States stance on isolationism and not interfering in Worldly affairs had changed, and rightfully so. The United States had to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis, which consisted of the Soviet eployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba, which caused a direct threat of an attack on American solid, a threat that had not existed since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. President John F. Kennedy had to take action by ordering a naval blockade of all Soviet cargo being shipped to Cuba. The standoff lasted fourteen days, eventually ending with the Soviet Union withdrawing the missiles. A couple years later following the assassination of President Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson would enter the Vietnam Conflict. The Vietnam War was fought between the North Vietnamese, with their communist allies and he South Vietnamese, with support from the United States, and other anti-communist allies. The United States entered the war trying to protect from the further spread of Communism throughout Asia, but in the long run the war turned out just to be a civil conflict between the two Vietnamese countries. The author Louis Zimmer says it best in his book titled The Vietnam War Debate: Hans J. Morgenthau and the Attempt to Halt the Drift into Disaster when he states how the war, “was a failure to acknowledge the conflict between North Vietnam and South Vietnam as a civil war among indigenous

Vietnamese, and a confusion about a Communist as a monolithic threat when the monolith had been separated had become fragmented into national communist states. ” (Simmer, 2011 pg. xi) The Vietnam War eventually turned out to be a disaster for the United States and South Vietnam eventually fell. The United States casualties during the war totaled 58,000 soldiers of which 47,400 (81. 7%) died in battle. Isolationism to Super Powered Page 7 (Dunnigan, 2000 pg. 241)

Following the Vietnam War many people questioned the United States stance on foreign policy. Some believed the idea of the United States returning to a more isolationist stance should be considered, however we were still faced with the threat of the continuing Cold War. The Cold War would last for several more years following the Vietnam War. Since it began in 1945 following World War II, many Presidents had tried to do their part to end Communism and the growing threat of nuclear supremacy. During the 1980s and the Presidential term of Ronald Reagan the threat was at an all time high.

The Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles directed toward Europe and President Gary Carters, along with NATO, previous deployment of nuclear missiles in West Germany, had the world on the edge of their seat. The Cold War was however resolved eventually when both the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to the Intermediate-Rage Nuclear Forces Treaty. Followed by the Soviet Unions economic decline, cause by military overspending, the end of the Cold War was mad official on December 3, 1989 between Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush. Directly following the end of the Cold War George H.

W. Bush would be faced with the Gulf War fought between the United Nations and Iraq, because of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, who was accused of stealing oil by Saddam Hussein. This was just the begin of what would be several years of conflict between the United States and Iraq. Years following the Gulf War on September 11, 2001 the United States was deliberately attack buy suicide bombers associated with Osama bin Laden and his terrorist group AL-Qaeda. This would be followed two years later by a United States invasion of Iraq, who was thought to have weapons of mass

Isolationism to Super Powered Page 8 destruction, which was never proved, as well as thought to be aiding AL-Quaeda’s jihad (religious war). Much like the United States involvement in Vietnam, the Invasion of Iraqi has been scrutinized, mainly because of lack of evidence and reasoning for the invasion. One through the research can easily conclude would eventually need to take action to protect certain interests from opposing powers, but can also see that there are times that we need or needed to ot involve ourselves in foreign affairs. One can feel after the September, 11 attacks we should surely concentrate on protect our own borders, but there will be times when we should interfere in the future, and one can hope that we have the right men and women in the government at the time to choose correctly. Isolationism to Super Powered Page 9 References Burgan, Michael. 2008. Shay’s Rebellion. Pg 13. Compass Point Books. Retrieved from www. google. books. com Burgan, Michael. 2007.

The Monroe Doctrine. Pg 1. Compass Point Books. Retrieved from www. google. books. com Stewart, Richard Winship. 2005. American Military History: The United States Army and the forging of a nation, Volume 1. pg 111. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from www. google. books. com Kimball, Warren F. 1992. America Unbound. pg. 30 Palgrave McMillan. Retrieved from www. google. books. com Dunnigan, James F. 2000. Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War pg. 241. MacMillan. Retrieved from www. google. books. com U-S-History. com. Isolationism. United States History. Retrieved from u-s-history. com

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