Policy activities USA 19th and 20th century

Published 25 Sep 2017

The United States has always portrayed itself to others as a benign power that is guided by democratic principals. However history of the country and its attitude towards the foreign policy adopted goes against this statement.

In late 19th century the United States established itself as the world power that it is now. The company underwent extensive wars like the Spanish Wars and the civil war which shaped and structured the boundaries of the nation and the constitution of the nation. The country was revolutionized with the movements of the people which led to the reconstruction of the south and election taking place in 1876. The United States as well as the countries in Europe were facing benefits of superiority for nations through the expansion strategy based on conquests and wars. “Numerous factors combined to enhance local power in nineteenth century foreign policy. The ambiguity of federalism and the doctrine of states” rights, for example, encouraged rivalry between local actors and the national government” (Cairo, 2004).

As a result the United States also employed a similar stance towards its foreign policy. “Many remembered the crusade of abolitionism, and were ready to apply the same standards of human rights to people in faraway lands. Other anti-imperialists, believers in Anglo-Saxon superiority, voiced concern for the ways in which contact with “tropical people” would eventually dilute our racial stock and diminish our institutions.” (Chimes) This imperialist stance resulted in the acquisition of the Hawaiian Islands, the presence of the US government in the Central Asia as involvement in the wars and battles around the world like the Versailles treaty that depict the hypocrisy of the United States when it refers to itself as a benign and democratic country.

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The similar anti-democratic principles were employed by the country in the late 20th Century as well. The involvement of the country in the World War II, the cold war between Russia and the United States as well as the wars with Vietnam, the Gulf Wars and the involvement of the country in the politics of the Middle East all reflect an implerialistic stance which goes against the image of a country that promotes itself as a benign nation having democratic values as maintained by the United States.


  • Cairo, M. , (20040, Local Activism in 19th Century American Foreign Policy: A Preliminary Assessment, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Online, retrieved July 2, 2009
  • Chimes, M., American Foreign Policy in the Late 19th Century: Philosophical Underpinnings, retrieved July 2, 2009 from http://www.spanamwar.com/imperialism.htm
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