American Political and Economic Foreign Policy in the 19th Century America has undergone through several changes and ideologies that have determined its political, economic and foreign policies. These policies have been the driving factor for all the wars that USA has fought since the 19th century…
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However, this idea was not shared by everyone including the native Indians and Mexicans who had differing views or opinions. Although there were no clearly defined principles to guide the idea, it received enormous support from the democrats who used it to justify various decisive actions. Through the notion of manifest destiny, the United States was driven by the temptation of world power and political supremacy, which sought to consolidate the position it held.1 The spanish american war was fought in 1898 and lasted only three months, and was triggered by the increased occupation of Cuba by the Spanish government which was strongly opposed by the US government. The war occurred as a result of intervention which was encouraged by other factors such as the Yellow Press which simply refers to the numerous newspaper articles that were printed in red ink and calling for bloodshed. Sensationalism by William Randolph Hearst through the Hearst papers and Joseph Pulitzer played a serious role in fuelling the war through propaganda views on either side of the war divide. Stories about atrocities committed by the Spaniards in Cuba enraged the Americans in the USA thus shaping their opinion to support the war. As at 1898, the war was at its peak and was nearly coming to an end; on the 4th of April 1898, the Americans intervened through President McKinley ordering war, mainly to end the devastating effect of the war in Cuba on humanitarian grounds and protect American citizens and interests in the island of Cuba. The intervention was also to protect American and Cuban trade and commerce as well as its strategic rights in that particular hemisphere. Through the Treaty of Paris December 10, 1898 America was able to stamp its foreign policy of expansion and imperialism through the acquisition of Philippines, annexation of Hawaii and the acquisition of Puerto Rico, and this occurred after Spain had surrendered. This expansionist theory resonated well with the American public opinion as it seemed to guarantee freedom to every person in the world and also made Americans proud of their institutions especially the military. In addition, it created avenues for commercial expansion in terms of trade in strategic locations of the world. The acquisition of Panama Canal by the US government was the epitome of imperialism by the government of the United States, and this is because of the economic benefits it offered the American government as well as its strategic importance in terms of geopolitical position. It should be noted that the canal offered the government of USA constant flow of revenue as well as saving the economy in terms of inter-coastal trade and commerce. The canal was however not strategic to the US government military-wise as it could be bombed at any time by adversaries such as Japan and the Soviet Union. The destruction would cause war losses that could only be recovered after a year or so during war time and a massive loss of 17 days in travel time as occurred during its sabotage during the Battle of Guadalcanal. This forced the US military to maintain a heavy presence of navy at sea just in case the canal was attacked. However, with time, the US government pulled out of the canal due to economic interests, and his was partly due to the invention of railway cars using diesel which made transporting of produce to coastal ports then shipping ...
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