The desire for isolation in the subliminal level couldn't be continued for long for a rich nation in the wake of faster mode of transport and communication in the late 19th century. There fore the circumstance and a number of factors like the opinions of American thinkers, policy makers as well as the popular sentiments has formed the American Foreign Policy in between 1877-1924.An interesting feature of American policy is the sudden shift from isolationism to excessive involvement resembling quixotic escapade.
The end of the American Civil War (1861-1865) was the waking up of a sleeping giant. The rapid strides the nation made in the industrial front compelled it to leave its isolationistic policy. The development of a powerful navy, many thought was the need of the hour:
Captain A. T. Mahan of the U.S. navy, a popular propagandist for expansion, greatly influenced Theodore Roosevelt and other American leaders. The countries with the biggest navies would inherit the earth, he said (Zinn).
The Spanish-American war, which America fought and won in 1898, was the inauguration of the American colonialism. It found America owning an empire of overseas possessions in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam and in the distant Philippines. It is surprising that the hesitant overseas involvement suddenly gave way to an excess of involvement culminating in the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands. In all the places that the Americans reached they were driven by greed, the principles of respect that the original owners of land, the native Americans had, was hardly found in American commercialism. The ruthless policy followed in unscientific alternation of landmarks of nature for immediate gain has resulted natural calamities and sometimes the displacement of people from their natural habitat as happened in The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927(Barry).
The perception of China as the future market for commercial expansion had already dawned on all major powers and America wanted more than the share of the booty. In 1899 the American Secretary of State John Hay in 1899 articulated what he called the open door policy, which was aimed at China's huge market. Roosevelt also shared the same enthusiasm. The policy of developing formidable naval ultimately reaped rich dividends, as by now, the US navy could almost enforce anything anywhere. WE achieved the construction of the Panama Canal by fermenting a revolution in Colombia and the independent Panama gave 16 Km strip of land with full sovereignty to US. While the need of the Canal was being debated in the Congress the canal was getting completed. In spite of the emergence of US as a great power, it continued to avoid alliances with other powers.
Though the US foreign policy was to avoid alliances, towards Britain, America had a natural predilection to it. During the early three years of the First World War, Britain just maintained a clandestine supply of arms to Britain. However in 1915 the sinking of a passenger liner by German submarine killing over 1000 including some Americans enraged the US and later resulted in open hostilities and declaration of war. After the First World War America again went into hibernation. However the rising Japanese power in the sea was put to close surveillance because of the US perception that its commercial interests in China might be endangered by Japanese expansion in the region.