The 2nd Set of Journal Entries
Important interests that arose in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries got Americans involved in foreign matters. Prior to this, America was considered apart in a world of her own by political theorists. This was considered good since it kept her off problems and calamities of the entire world. However, persuasion by missionaries for her to help poor, illiterate people worldwide and desire for foreign resources and markets by businessmen pushed Americans to increase its international involvement. In 1898 and 1899, United States ventured in Cuba and Philippines respectively among others (White, 1972). In 2000, George Bush criticized Clinton’s administration for sending troops to Haiti and the Balkans claiming America was likely to experience problems. The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon prompted the government to send more troops to Afghanistan to fight terrorists and for implementation of a new government. President Barrack Obama has also increased more troops in this country. The interesting part is most Americans cannot locate Afghanistan on a map despite her impact there.
Isolation or expansion of the United States from the rest of the world was significantly attributed to the American foreign policy but it depends from what perspective one bases their argument. Industrialization majorly fostered America’s interest in foreign investments. Historical events had resulted in much hatred for European powers by Americans which resulted to isolationism (White, 1972). During the civil war Americans suffered many injustices caused by anger and hostility of powerful nations against them. They were vulnerable to these great powers especially before the airplanes discovery and could therefore not effectively retaliate. Revolution and Napoleonic wars also caused great harm to Americans. These past painful events pushed America to turn down any kind of relation with Europe. America went as far as pressing charges against any great power that conflicted with it. Great Britain was charged for loss of cargo in the ships that had been sunk by confederate cruisers.
In the late eighteenth century, America’s interest in the Pacific and East Asia began with the Wanghia treaty of 1844, increasing privileges of the American traders in China. This greatly increased trade promoting more missionaries to move to China. Hawaii islands were a route of access to China by Americans and movements had risen seeking to annex these islands. This movement had failed since Hawaii wanted to remain a state. Therefore United States agreed to cooperate with European powers on expansion in East Asia though European powers had major influence and power in these nations (Huntington, 1993). America therefore increased its influence in Hawaii though made no attempt at making it a colony. After the death of King Kalakaua, Queen Liliuokalani took over the thrown and abolished the constitution which had paved way for the white minorities having major control over the islands. This led to a coup by American residents in Hawaii which led to her government being overthrown. The new leadership that came to power sought for a treaty of annexation of Hawaii by America which was opposed by Cleveland. He attempted to restore Queen Liluokalani to no avail since the new regime had support from American businessmen. The islands were annexed by Congress in 1898 through majority vote.
United States had become a great power, achieved through its involvement in several activities. Its intensified annexation of Hawaii and overseas bases and Cleveland diplomacy in the Venezuela boundary dispute contributed greatly to this. Decisions on imperialism of nations like Philippines by United States were determined by the outcome of a conflict over policy. Most American citizens had no intention of joining in the power struggle for nations despite the economic benefits resulting from colonizing (Huntington, 1993). President McKinley believed in the benefits of holding on to what was available to the state despite his caution over imperialism. Expansionists managed to convince him that Americans wanted control over Philippine viewing it as a door to accessing East Asia markets. This therefore led to United States applying its power in controlling the Philippines.
America’s imperialism lasted a short time because some anti-imperialists believed that colonialism was more costly than beneficial. Philippine insurrection shock and lowering tariff barriers also led to retreat from imperialism by America. A new policy through dollar diplomacy and Roosevelt Corollary displayed the interest of America in wanting to help impoverished nations rather than controlling them (Phillipson, 2012). Dollar diplomacy aimed at preventing violence and promoting economically development. This expansion approach by United States was economically beneficial and earned good foreign relations. However, they faced hindrances especially from non-industrial nations. They assumed that all nations wanted democracy, capitalism and industrialization hence ignoring the desire of nations to develop under their own effort and terms. Cuba was one such nation. America maintained her isolationist way of doing things since she knew her wealth, population and geographical location made her powerful and invulnerable.
United States had no intention in harming foreign states and countries. Wilson intended to spread the American democracy policy to ignorant nations to enlighten them to elect good leaders. He proved this through revolting dollar diplomacy hence encouraging banks to lend financial help to China. His intention in the china situation was against the principles of his administration since he claimed that government would interfere incase loans were not paid. However, Wilson’s “moral” diplomacy got America involved in national wars (Phillipson, 2012). His administration adopted some tactics by Roosevelt and Taft which went against the principles of his moral policy. The Mexican dictator, Adolfo Diaz was overthrown during Wilson’s tenure and he supported Francisco Madero, the new president. However, Madero was assassinated by Huerta. Wilson was openly against Huerta sending soldiers to Mexico on severally accounts who lost their lives. His moral diplomacy in Mexico resulted to mixed feelings but later paid of through real revolution leading to consolidated power.
The story of the Titanic by James Cameroon not only depicted the disaster that occurred during the capsizing of the Titanic ship but also focused on Victorian courtships and the love story of Jack and Rose. Rose had been traditionally betrothed to her fiancé who she despised. Jack saved her from committing suicide when she had intended to plunge into the ocean. This story focuses on Victorian courtship practices that required high standards of etiquette and decorum by females (Nadel & Curtis, 1964). They ensured women distanced themselves from men and avoided expressing their thoughts and fears to strangers. These practices determined what a girl was expected to do and who she would eventually marry. However, Rose felt oppressed and limited by this principles and eventually sought for her freedom by planning to run away with Jack. Breaking away from Victorian courtships and marriages was the beginning of diverse courtship experiences by modern women.
Industrial mobilization was a difficult process that required co-operation between key economy players despite an entire year of absence of an efficient system to operate it. America joined the Great War without adequate preparation for the war industry. It had joined to help its allies whose finances and supplies were decreasing alarmingly. She tried to design shipbuilding programs, airplane and artillery programs but were a complete disaster and waste with most of these supplies coming from France and Great Britain. Wilson was determined in taking up Theodore Roosevelt’s idea of raising an army division and providing food and ammunitions to its allies. He therefore allocated the task to War Industries Board dictating that it allocate scarce resources, standardize production, and coordinate purchasing between America and its allies. Commerce and military were required to cooperate to ensure successful mobilization but the army declined due to suspicions over civilian institutions. Despite this, the industrial-military complex was founded since Wilson convinced War Departments to place some officers in the War Industries Board committee.
Rate of unemployment reduced significantly during the war since many men joined the army and immigration had also reduced hence increasing wages. This attracted minorities like African Americans to join workforce in factories in developed cities (Vedder, 1997). President Wilson established National War Labor Board to deal with rising labor disputes caused by government regulations on wages and working hours in uniform manufacturing factories and army cites. The board consulted employees and labor representatives in various industries to determine standard and fair hourly wages. It also pressured management in industries to relate with labor representatives hence unionizing workers. War required that employees do not strike with propositions of implementing laws against striking. However, Wilson opposed them claiming that it would infringe on workers’ freedom of action and suitable achievements would only be acquired through individual will.
According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse in 2008, quite a large percentage of college students are alcohol drinkers. The growing increase in alcohol taking amongst many college students has been attributed to social and cultural changes in the United States. Cultural changes were due to high increase of immigrants to cities which strained resources ultimately straining moral fabric through increased immorality rate (Bluestone, 1983). Women were also at the forefront of fighting for gender equity hence challenging traditional concepts on gender role. Minorities like gays and lesbians have fought for acceptance by society. Social media has generally contributed to assimilation of new cultural practices and beliefs by youths that has encouraged rebellion. This rebellion has led to moral and cultural corruption with many youths engaging in extensive alcohol drinking. Laws enacted prohibiting alcohol taking have done little in curbing this rising societial decay.
Bluestone, B. (1983). Deindustrialization and unemployment in America. The Review of Black Political Economy, 12(3), 27-42.
Huntington, S. P. (1993). The third wave: Democratization in the late twentieth century (Vol. 4). University of Oklahoma Press.
Nadel, G. H., & Curtis, P. (1964). Imperialism and colonialism. Macmillan.
Phillipson, R. (2012). Imperialism and colonialism. The Cambridge handbook of language policy, 203-235.
Vedder, R. K. (1997). Out of work: Unemployment and government in twentieth-century America. NYU Press.
White, G. E. (1972). From sociological jurisprudence to realism: Jurisprudence and social change in early twentieth-century America. Va. L. Rev., 58, 999.