1B DBQ 2/6/12
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Imperialism played a large role in America. Starting with Jefferson, Imperialistic views were spread down through the presidents. Some were for Imperialism and some very against it. Imperialism largely affected foreign policy in this time period as well. In this time period Imperialism affected foreign policy through military power, religion, and political views.
In this time period military power affected American foreign policy, because it was felt that winning a war was more “supreme” then keeping peace. With this attitude of using military to get supreme feelings, going to war wasn’t bad in their opinion. This is clearly shown in Document K where it says “…No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumphs of war…” When this attitude is present in a society, treaties and peace agreements aren’t highly looked upon. This leads to unnecessary military use, and bitter feelings from those territories or countries that the United States would put up a fight against. Also, a great example of this would be in Hawaii where America had military on site while being an Imperialistic leader. With the Dole plantations there, America was very interested in keeping military power there and not backing down, because they didn’t see that it was bad to use military to govern other sovereign societies. Hawaiians and Queen Liliuokai didn’t like having America in their territory telling them how to govern themselves, which created very bitter feelings towards America. These feelings in the citizens of Hawaii made them very upset and not wanting to be involved with America, trade wise or government wise. The United States using their military to get peace irritated other societies and led to bitterness in foreign policy.
Religion in this time period was still very focused on Christianity. Another way that it has often been put was the “White Man’s Burden”. This attitude was very extreme in this time period. The feelings were that it was their duty to Christianize and “civilize” people in nondemocratic societies. Some of these societies were Hawaii, the Philippines, etc. This “burden” is shown in Document L where in Kipling’s article in McClure’s Magazine it says, “…Go, bind your songs to exile To Serve your captive’s need;…”. This very clearly shows that these white men felt that they were genetically and spiritually better then these “captives”. These social Darwinism views were spread through America quickly and very soon most people felt that it was socially, and more importantly, religiously okay to imperialistically govern these societies. This influenced foreign policy because religiously it influenced American citizens and created a socially Darwinist view that it was okay to govern smaller societies. This affected foreign policy by creating the attitude that it was okay to rule others because it was their duty and Christians and as white men.
Politics also was a large influence on imperialism, which led to a change in foreign policy. In Document E, it shows an example of political influence on this by giving an excerpt from The Platt Amendment. This is a great example of how politics were being affected by imperialism. This amendment was an amendment on foreign policy and shows the political influence. Once imperialism was politically in place, it created a new standard for foreign policy by having an amendment. Politically adding these new documents to the United States and other societies; put on paper new alliances and new imperialistic foreign policy.
Military, religion, and politics all definitely forwarded imperialism which affected foreign policy in many ways. All of these spread attitudes that imperialism was okay for the United States to do and a new norm. It led to new foreign policies with the United States to other sovereign societies.