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US Foreign Policy
Transcript of US Foreign Policy
US Foreign Policy Over Time
US Foreign Policy Over Time
Due to continuing fear of Communism coming from the 2nd Red Scare and increasing tensions, Eisenhower continued the policy of Containment through ending the Korean War, the Eisenhower Doctrine, and the beginning of the Space Race.
Kennedy and Johnson
As the new country developed, the first President, Washington, made the wise decision to have the US remain neutral in foreign affairs as the US still did not have a strong military.
Like any theme traced throughout US History, foreign policy greatly changed. Generally, the US maintained a similar scale presence. However, there were several periods where foreign policy took a back seat.
To try to keep things peaceful with England, Chief Justice John Jay made concessions, including favorable trade status for Britain, to the powerful England resulting in a period of peace.
Another instance where the US made an amiable agreement, where Spain maintained control of most of modern day Florida.
Edmund Genet, was a French ambassador who wanted the US to give up its' neutrality during the war between Britain and France. Even though many citizens supported Genet, Washington refused to change policy.
In Washington's Farewell Address, he warned against the dangers of alliances with foreign nations. Washington wisely warned that siding with other nations will lead to conflicts as it did a little more than 10 years after he left office with the War of 1812
Adams, Jefferson, and Madison: Neutrality No More
After Washington left office, the US started to become more involved in world affairs. Due to personal biases and ongoing conflicts in Europe and Africa, the US moved started to show support and antagonism towards both the French and the English. This resulted in a quasi war with France and the War of 1812.
Even before John Adams became President, he had negative feelings towards the French. Tensions arose during negotiations and Adams was 'kicked' out of France.
During his presidency, the French and British were at war and the French stopped commercial trade with the US. In an attempt to negotiate, Adams sent three representatives to France but were disrespectfully asked for a bribe. Adams refused but wanted to avoid a war since the US still had a weak navy. This quasi war showed the US creating conflict with other nations.
When Jefferson came into power, wars between Britain and France continued. In an attempt to remain "neutral", Jefferson passed the Embargo Act which banned trade with both countries. However this was economically detrimental to the US. Jefferson's attempt to remain neutral differed from Washington as it showed a blatant disapproval for affairs in other countries.
The Non-Intercourse Act replaced the Embargo Act and banned all trade with Britain and France. This again shows the US taking an active role in affairs of other countries.
Pirates off the coast of North Africa were attacking US merchant ships. In response, the US would typically pay ransoms. Jefferson decided to end this and sent the navy to fight the Barbary Pirates.
Madison and War of 1812
US wanted more British land to expand
British ships were impressing American sailors
War Hawks were excited for the possibility of gaining land from England and coupled with Native American conflicts, the US declared War with Britain instead of more peaceful negotiations that might have occurred under Washington.
Monroe to Polk: Expanding the Country
All Presidents from Monroe to Polk had similar goals with regards to foreign policy: stay out of conflict unless it concerns the expansion of the United States or Manifest Destiny. Due to strong nationalistic feelings, the US pushed other countries hard when it came to gaining new land.
A major event in US foreign policy occured when President Monroe issued the Monroe Doctrine. The Doctrine stated that the US would react with force to any attempt to take land in the Western Hemisphere. This showed the world the importance of expansion to the US.
Treaty of Oregon Territory
This treaty finally resolved the issue of the Oregon Territory and the border with British Canada. At first, Americans were adamant about the 54 40 parallel but eventually settled for the 49th parallel due to an approaching conflict with Mexico.
The Adams-Onis Treaty was made in 1819 and gave Florida to the US.
Convention of 1818, Rush-Bagot Treaty and Webster-Ashburn Treaty
Series of agreements with England to resolve issues left unaddressed by the Treaty of Ghent. Generally granted the US more land.
Beginning of the Mexican American War
After Texas gained its independence and petitioned for statehood, tensions started to rise with the border of Mexico, specifically regarding US troops. Even with opposition in Congress from Lincoln, the US went to war with Mexico.
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
After the US won the war, it paid Mexico 15 million dollars and gained a substantial portion of what is now the South West also known as the Mexican Cession.
McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft: The Beginnings of an Empire
Near the end of the 18th century, the US started to expand beyond the scope of the contiguous 48 states. This resulted in a dramatic increase in the involvement of the US in foreign countries.
McKinley and the Spanish-American War
The Spanish-American War was a completely unnecessary war that illustrated the US' role as an empire. It gained the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico as well as a strong influence in Cuba (Platt Amendment) even though the US had promised no to intervene in Cuban affairs after the war (Teller Amendment). After this war, the US became heavily involved in affairs of other countries.
Roosevelt and Big Stick Diplomacy
Teddy Roosevelt's foreign policy was nicknamed "Big Stick" because he would make threats of military intervention if something did not go his way.
Big Stick Diplomacy is best seen through the Roosevelt Corollarly where TR said military intervention would be used against any country intervening in affairs in Latin America.
TR used his Big Stick Diplomacy to create the Panama Canal. He helped Panama separate from Colombia as well as make it cheaper for US ships to go through the canal.
Taft and Dollar Diplomacy
TR's successor, Taft, had a foreign policy nicknamed "Dollar Diplomacy." The idea was to make monetary investments in countries especially those in Latin America so the US could keep its influence.
During Taft's presidency, investments were made in many Latin American countries. Like TR, Taft did end up using force in Nicaragua to put down a rebellion and save US investments.
Wilson and WWI:Trying to Stay Out of War
President Wilson's foreign policy, known as Moral Diplomacy, had the goal of bettering nations, not necessarily helping the US. Wilson wanted to differ from Taft and Roosevlt. He also tried to have the US stay neutral during WWI but series of events brought the US into the war.
Moral Diplomacy:Failure or Success
While Wilson's plan was to only help other countries, he ended up invading more countries than either Roosevelt or Taft. This included a shipment of forces to Haiti where Wilson put down a rebellion.
Attempt to Stay Out of War
Wilson had no intentions of US involvement in WWI. His 1916 Presidential Campaign even ran on the slogan "He kept us out of war." However, submarine warfare and the Zimmerman Telegraph pushed the US into war.
Officially the US remained neutral until it entered the war in 1917, however, the US made loans to the Allied powers and acted as convoys for British ships which questioned its' neutrality.
Germany kept attacking ships with US cargo and/or people including the British ship the Lusitania where over 100 Americans died.
A big factor that pushed the US into war was the Zimmerman Telegraph that suggested a possible alliance of Mexico and Germany.
Treaty of Versailles and 14 Points
Wilson's 14 Points illustrated his idealistic goals that were also seen in "Moral Diplomacy." Most major powers in Europe did accept the similar yet harsher Treaty of Versailles but Wilson failed to get Congressional approval. This foreshadowed the isolationism that was to come.
Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover: Back to Isolationism
After the horror of WWI, the US went to an extremely isolationist period. This was similar to isolationism seen in the late 1800s after Manifest Destiny had been "achieved."
Going Back to Normal
While "Return to Normalcy" was the name of Harding's Domestic Policy, it also can be used to describe the foreign policy throughout the 1920s. Multiple treaties and laws were passed showing the US wanted to be left alone.
5 Power and 9 Power Treaties
Both the 5 Power and 9 Power treaties where agreements made by multiple countries including the US to limit Battle Ships and not recognizing any country taken by force which was something the US did throughout the early 1900s.
Limiting Contact: Inside and Outside
The new period of isolationism not only called for less intervention but also for fewer people from the outside world entering the US. As nativism spread throughout the nation, the US also isolated itself from non-Americans or immigrants. Immigration quotas passed in 1921 and reduced in 1924 greatly limited the number of foreigners from Eastern Europe and Asia in the US.
Promise of No War
In the late 1920s, the US sent a representative, Kellogg, to France, where the US and other countries signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact. This pact stated that no nation will use force to reach goals. Another sign the US wants to avoid conflict as much as possible.
FDR and WWII: Another Case of Failed Neutrality
Before the US entered WWII, FDR maintained its isolationist policies from the 1920s as well as neutrality due still to the fear of war from the people. Several policies did indicate that the US was planning on entering the war as it did on December 7, 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
As Hitler came to power in Germany and started to take land, the US did nothing to respond as it would have most likely done during Imperialism. For example the US was not present at the Munich Conference in 1938. The US also started to lessen its influence in Latin America with FDR's Good Neighbor Policy which said the US would stop intervening in foreign affairs (in Latin America) like it did in the early 1900s.
Staying Out of War
FDR and Congress were very adamant about keeping the US out of war. Neutrality Acts and FDR's I Hate War speech showed that the US wanted to prevent going into another World War. However, various policies did emerge like "Cash and Carry" and "Lend Lease" which showed that the US was preparing to go to war. Like in WWI, the policy of neutrality did not prevent the US from entering the war.
Hoover-Stimson and Panay
The Hoover-Stimson Doctrine and the Panay Incident were both reactions to Japan's invasion of Manchuria and attack of US ship (respectively). The fact that the US did not respond with force to either indicidinces shows the reluctance the US had of fighting.
US Enters the War
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the US declared War on Japan and Americans were out for blood. Similar to what happened during the Manifest Destiny period and WWI, it was not until the US was provoked and/or interference of a country in US affairs that the US went to war.
After WWII, the US was ushered right into the Cold War. Almost immediately, the policy of Containment was implemented due to the fact that the Soviet Union was trying to expand. The US focused all of their foreign policy efforts on containing Communism.
Truman was the first President to start Containment of Communism. He implemented this idea during the Berlin Air Lift, Marshall Plan and the establishment of NATO.
Both Kennedy and Johnson continued using the policy of Containment through increased escalation in the Vietnam War. However, issues like the Cuban Missile Crisis tested how far the US would go to contain.
Nixon, Ford, Regean, HW Bush and the End of the Cold War
In the last two decades of the Cold War, the US changed its approach to dealing with Communism. It still wanted to keep Communism from spreading but used the idea of realpolitik, to ease tensions, after a decade of tense relations due to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the deadly Vietnam War, which became known as the detente period. The US stopped using direct intervention but still strongly supported areas threatened by the Soviet Union.
Nixon and Ford: Beginning of Detente
Both President Nixon and Ford executed the practice of realpolitik. Nixon especially exemplified this with his visit to China as well as the SALT I agreement with the Soviet Union. Also, policies like the Nixon Doctrine put a cap on US direct intervention.
Regean: Pushing the USSR
Regean did not officially send troops for direct combat against the USSR but he did increase anti-Soviet feelings with the creation of STAR Wars, support for Afghanistan and pushed the leader, Gorbachev aggressively.
HW Bush: End of the Cold War
HW Bush's big influence on Communism came from his swift approval of the new countries that descended from the Soviet Union. He also began foreign policy post Cold War using similar idea with the Invasion of Kuwait: if something is interfering with US interests, then the US will intervene.
Clinton, GW Bush, and Obama
With the end of the Cold War, the US focused on new threats to the country: terrorism. Clinton dealt less with the issue and more with US involvement (similar to Moral Diplomacy) in helping other countries like in Bosnia in the 1990s. Bush began the War on Terror after the attacks of 9/11 and Obama kept up efforts to stop terrorism but has recently reduced efforts with the end of the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan. In general, the US has kept up involvement in other countries due to potential threats around the world.
President Clinton believed in a policy of Enlargement similar to that of Wilson: the US should try to create peace around the world and intervene if necessary. While the US was notably absent during disasters like the genocide in Rwanda, the US was very involved with the War in Bosnia and helped the Bosnian Muslims through air support. Clinton also helped to pass free trade agreements.
Bush and Obama: the War on Terror
The new threat that has been dominating US foreign policy is terrorism. After the attacks of 9/11, both President Bush and Obama have focused on preventing future attacks and holding Osama Bin Laden responsible. The US entered two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan to thwart possible threats against the US including nuclear weapons in Iraq. Recently, the US has started to pull back in intervention in the Middle East especially with the recent uprisings.