How did the policies of the American government encourage isolation? The Growth of Isolationism.
The First World War had a strong effect on many Americans. It forced them to look at their relations with the rest of the world and look at their own society. The result was a move to isolation. This was seen in:
The rejection of the League of Nations.
Changes in immigration policies.
Tariffs against foreign goods.
Isolation also meant limiting foreign trade. Action was taken to make sure that foreign good could not compete with home-produced goods on the US market. In 1922 Congress introduced the Ford-McCumber Tariff (tax). A tariff was placed on foreign goods coming into the USA. This made them more expensive than the same American products and so ‘protected’ American industry. However, foreign governments retaliated by putting high tariffs on American goods exported abroad, which made them harder to sell.
Between 1901 and 1910, over 9,000,000 immigrants entered the USA. This number fell by more than a half to 4,000,000 between 1921 and 1930. This was for several reasons:
Partly the result of war and increased nationalism in the USA.
All foreigners wishing to enter America had to take a Literacy test. They had to prove that they could read a short passage in English before they would be allowed in the country. Many people from poorer countries could not afford to learn English and failed the test.
This limited the maximum number of immigrants allowed into the USA to 375,000 each year. The act also limited the number of people emigrating to the USA from any country to no more than 3% of the people from the same country already living in the USA. This ‘quota’ system worked in the favour of people from western and northern Europe because they had large numbers of immigrant American citizens. It was to ensure that the majority were WASPs – White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.