American Interventionism Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Literature - Latin-American Type: Essay Paper: #73706635 Related Topics: Crucible, Irish Republican Army, Treaty Of Versailles, Latin American
Excerpt from Essay :


American Foreign Policy from 1890 to 1930

From neutrality to intervention

Early on in American history, President George Washington advised Americans not be become embroiled in foreign conflicts. However, at the end of the 19th century, it became increasingly difficult for America to remain isolated from the issues affecting its neighbors abroad. The period from 1890-1930 was characterized by a far more expansionist American foreign policy than had been the case before. Although this policy was often defended by the notion that the U.S. was making the world safe for democracy, self-interest rather than idealism was usually the real motivating force.

A good, early example of this in Latin America can be found in the form of the Spanish-American War (1898) which eventually resulted in the U.S. acquiring territories in the western Pacific and Latin America. Spain's repression of the Cuban pro-independence movement combined with the sinking of the Maine (sent to protect U.S. residents in the region) generated popular support for intervention ("Spanish-American War," 2015). Many called the Spanish-American War the first example of how 'yellow journalism' could fundamentally change the course of American foreign policy. "From Cuba, [William Randolph] Hearst's star reporters wrote stories designed to tug at the heartstrings of Americans. Horrific tales described the situation in Cuba -- female prisoners, executions, valiant rebels fighting, and starving women and children figured in many of the stories that filled the newspapers" ("Yellow journalism," 1999). Although Spain was indeed a colonial and repressive power, many of the...


The U.S. even after Spain declared an armistice, authorized the use of force to expel Span from Cuba. "The ensuing war was pathetically one-sided, since Spain had readied neither its army nor its navy for a distant war with the formidable power of the United States" ("Spanish-American War," 2015).The war ended with an easy U.S. victory and the Treaty of Paris expelled Spain from the region. The U.S. acquired Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines and also a status as a new world power ("Spanish-American War," 2015).

The U.S. also began to exert greater influence over Asia, when in 1900 it became involved in quelling the Boxer Rebellion in China. The concern was to preserve the Open Door Policy, which demanded that China be kept open to free trade on an equal basis with all nations. Thanks to its participation in the Boxer Rebellion, "the resulting indemnity that the Europeans and Japanese imposed upon the Qing dynasty to pay for the loss of life and property amounted to a crushing $333 million. The United States received $25 million of that amount, of which $11 million was given to American colleges to support Chinese students" ("U.S. foreign policy in Asia," 2015). The U.S. .was also called upon to broker a peace in the Russian-Japanese war of 1904, which was again testimony to its newfound influence and power in the region and the U.S. conviction that a proactive foreign policy was necessary in Asia to serve its interests.

It was its entrance into World War I, however, that truly marked the beginnings of a new, expansionist policy for the U.S. Woodrow Wilson won re-election in 1916, promising to stay out…

Sources Used in Documents:


Spanish-American War. (2015). Retrieved from:

U.S. foreign policy in Asia. (2015). KQED. Retrieved from:
Yellow journalism. (1999). The Crucible of Empire. Retrieved from:

Cite this Document:

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"American Interventionism", 01 March 2015, Accessed.23 January. 2022,

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