Presidents During The Progressive Era Essay

3455 words - 14 pages

During the Progressive Era, the presidents adopted a bombastic, aggressive, imperialistic policy when they had power, and didn't when they didn't have power. The presidents had power in the Western Hemisphere, so they were able to adopt an aggressive policy, but in the Far East and Europe, they did not have as much influence, so they were inclined to be more cautious. Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson adopted the aggressive policy when they could and adopted the defensive policy in areas where the United States had little or no power.Theodore Roosevelt is said to have two foreign policies. One policy was in Latin America and the Caribbean, where he was aggressive, bombastic, and imperialistic because the United States dominated the Western Hemisphere. The other policy was in Asia and Europe, where he was cautious and defensive because he had no power there. Roosevelt's Far East policy mainly dealt with China. In the 1890s, John Hay introduced a policy known as the Open Door policy, whose purpose was to protect the territorial integrity of China. After the annexation of the Philippines, American business prospered. Therefore they looked even further east, and found China, which with its population of 400 million would provide even more customers for American products. However, at this time China was extremely weak and could not resist, so other countries already had their own spheres of influence in China. The Americans were too late to acquire their own sphere of influence, because most of China had already been divided by foreign countries. So to get rid of these spheres of influence and to allow the Americans to trade in China, Hay wrote the first Open Door note. This note stated that no country had the right to restrict trading opportunities of another, and so asserted that the United States had the right to sell their products in China. Basically, this was asking the Europeans to nullify their spheres of influence. So as to not seem like bullies, the Europeans agreed that it was a good idea, but not practical. Hay took these positive comments and announced to the world that the Europeans had agreed to the Open Door policy. At the same time, young Chinese with a desire to purge China of foreigners known as Boxers began to rise up. They killed many foreigners, and the climax of this was when they surrounded the diplomatic embassies and threatened to kill anyone who lived within. An international army of about 18,000 was formed and sent to Peking, where the Boxers were defeated. After this event, the Europeans were furious so they called a meeting to deal with the issue. They decided to divide China among themselves, so that it would cease to exist. The United States feared this because if China was no more, then American trading opportunities would go down. Therefore Hay wrote the second Open Door note, which stated that the United States would seek to protect the territorial integrity of China. There would only be one...

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