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How Important Were Economic Factors In Shaping Us Foreign Policies Between 1890 And 1917?

867 words - 3 pages

American foreign policy changed drastically between 1890 and 1917, from isolationist to interventionist. This change was due to economic factors as well as several other important factors. Many of these were factors outside of US control, but many of them were influenced by people or events in the USA.Big business is one economic factor that influenced US foreign policy. The business giants like J.P. Morgan put pressure on politicians to become more interventionist because they knew that this would encourage trade links with other countries. When the US finally did join world war one, trade with Britain increased by three times, and US big businessmen made a lot of money. The search for new markets meant the US would have to involve itself with the rest of the world. These new policies required military and naval support.By the 1890's, the USA was also such a world superpower that it would be very difficult for it to not get involved with world affairs - it had the power to intervene in foreign affairs, and so public pressure was very much on it to do so.The strength of the American economy was soon exploited by Presidents and used in their foreign policy, for example Taft's Dollar Diplomacy. He used loans and debts to effectively control the economies of other countries such as the Honduras in 1909. This would not have been possible if the US economy had not been as strong, and of course if other countries had not been in such economic turmoil.Economic factors such as these were key in shaping US foreign policies between 1890 and 1917.One of the key factors that influenced American foreign policy were the personal agendas of the presidents of the period. Other politicians in powerful positions also affected foreign policy, for example during the Boxer Rising in China in 1900. It led to foreign embassies in Beijing being besieged, and the US joined the international force that was formed with the intention of restoring peace and order in China. When it became apparent that China may be divided amongst the European powers the US Secretary of State, John Hay, stet out Open Door policy, with the intention of preventing China's division and keeping the principle of free trade in China. John Hay had a huge influence in how the USA reacted to this event.Possibly one of the most obvious examples of presidency affecting foreign policy is Theodore Roosevelt. He was one of the most imperialistic men in the country, holding very interventionist views, and this showed in US foreign policies of the time. In 1901, the year that Roosevelt assumed presidency, Congress passed the Platt Amendment, which...

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