Presidents and Foreign Policy

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  • Presidents and Foreign Policy 1897-1912
    • William McKinley
      • Spoke of need to avoid wars of conquest and territorial aggression.
      • By 1898 taken USA to war against Spain and had started to build American Empire in Latin America and the Pacific
      • Encouraged American involvement in China in order to expand trade and protect existing commercial interests.
        • Collapse of imperial rule in China was attracting interest around the world and McKinley did not want to miss out.
          • Wanted an 'open door' to China.
            • This policy stated that all European nations and the USA could trade with China and was upheld by Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson.
      • Always claimed had not been motivated by greedy imperialism but by a 'civilising mission' to aid development of less advanced peoples.
      • Boxer Rebellion about preserving Chinese independence, 2nd Note adds to first one (John Hay). Preserve Chinese Empire.
    • Teddy Roosevelt
      • Blatant supporter of imperialism.
      • In foreign affairs he coined the phrase 'speak softly and carry a big stick.'
        • Fear of German imperialism.
      • in 1904 he turned his actions into a theory.
        • Set out the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.
          • Stated that the principle that the USA had the right to exercise international police power in Latin America if there were 'flagrant cases of wrongdoing or impotence'.
          • Justifying America's involvement.
        • Not clear, could twist and justify how they want.
      • By end of his presidency had got US involved in affairs of Panama, Venezuela, San Domingo and Dominican Republic.
        • Dominican Republic, 1905 US took over finance.
      • Imperialism was all part of showing the world that USA was a power to be reckoned with and that American policy would fully control its own 'back yard'.
      • Platt Ammendment, Cuban constitution.
        • Gives America right to intervene if independence is threatened. Lasts until 1930's.
    • William Howard Taft
      • Continued to support interventionist policies, favoured avoiding direct colonialism.
      • Famous for DOLLAR DIPLOMACY.
        • Used American financial power to secure economic domination in Latin America and China.
          • He described his actions as 'substituting dollars for bullets.'
            • For example American bankers sent to Nicaragua in 1912 to control economy after became worried about mining interests after 1909 revolution.
        • Was unpopular with both imperialists and anti-imperialists.
          • The former saw it as underhand colonialism, latter wanted America t be more open about its imperialist ambitions.
      • Went to great lengths to help developing American business interests in foreign areas.
        • Sent troops in to Nicaragua to maintain government which was friendly to American commercial interests.


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