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American City as a Locus of Opportunity in the Years 1870–1913

The larger part of the contemporary era, more Americans have lived in the city rather than in the countryside. This is a striking contrast to the early colonial days and even after gaining independence when most of the Americans lived in the country. The change from the country to the city life is as a result of several social, political, and economic factors. However, historians agree that the most plausible reason for the movement from the country to the town was a necessity to search for economic opportunities. This essay seeks to argue that the American city was the locus of opportunity for the urban elite of industrialists, developers, and capitalists, but misery for the city poor in the years 1870-1913.

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The industrial revolution is one of the most important happenings in the history of the world. The American nation had been founded as a rural community, as most of the world of that period was. A considerable amount of work in the early colonial period and even after independence was provided in the sphere of agriculture, which could only be economically viable in the vast farmlands in the country (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Moreover, even the pioneer industries started in the rural areas, where they were closer to the source of raw materials like cotton and could get water from waterways for powering their machinery. Workers of these industries would come from the nearby farms (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This was beneficial for everyone starting from the factory owners and ending with the people who worked at the factories, but following this method the plants could barely expand. Moreover, there was a problem with the marketing and distribution of the goods due to the remoteness of some of the areas where facilities were located and the sparse distribution of the population in the countryside.

Industrialization has changed this dynamic. Before 1870s, cities thrived as well as the markets for buying and selling of goods to take into the interior or export outside the US. Consequently, there was little need for cities to have large populations as most of the non-commercial opportunities were situated in the farms at the countryside (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). However, as technology improved, including manufacturing expertise, transport, and communication, it became possible to locate the factories in areas that one could get the labor, raw materials, and markets at the optimal prices (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Consequently, as most of the production became concentrated in industries, more large-scale plants began to be located in the town. In cities, the owners could scale the production back to the raw materials, easily transportable to the facilities and the finished products on the markets, and cheap especially for immigrants in the seaports like New York (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). With the invention of the steam engines, there was little need for the industries to be situated near the rivers in the countryside, which ended the dependence of factories on the power of flowing water. Using this discovery, the early captains of American industry would make millions of dollars.

Among those who would benefit from the influx of people from the countryside to the village were also the developers. Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil (2007) explain that the developers deliberately destroyed buildings in which the poor had lived (predominantly wooden houses) to build structures intended for the urban living. These buildings were not only cramped but also filthy most of the times due to the shared amenities such as toilets that would frequently stop working because of their overuse. The scholars also give an example of New York’s Eleventh Ward, where more than nine hundred and eighty-six people per acre lived in overcrowded and dirty conditions, as a population density only in Bombay, India, exceeded the world’s index at that time.

Currently, with the larger part of the population dwelling in the cities and as this index is constantly growing, the entrepreneurs established spin-off industries that are aimed at supporting the major industries in the towns. Moreover, while a vast majority of people who lived in cities by now were poor, they needed the basic amenities that they could no longer produce on their farms, since the city could not support an agricultural lifestyle (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). As a result, the city also became a business center with merchants selling such basics as food to support the burgeoning population. Nevertheless, as many other industries, these are kept under control by wealthy entrepreneurs.

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In contrast to the other people in the cities, the growth of the town system was not an advantage for the poor but rather a curse for them. While the industrialists, the real estate developers, and the entrepreneurs had benefited from the city, similar circumstances could not be applied to the indigent people (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). It is not debatable that these three categories were involved in wage employment in the factories in the city. However, most of these jobs were nothing more than sweatshops in which people received poor remuneration, while the plant owners increased their wealth (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Moreover, the living conditions in the city were atrocious for the lower-class workers and their families (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This led to the growth of poor housing where some of these workers lived. Thus, unlike the other groups of people, the city was not the locus of opportunities for the less rich population. For the latter, it was the locus of widespread poverty, exploitation, and miserable living conditions.

It is apparent from the essay that the city was the center of opportunities for the manufacturers, the developers, and the businessmen, but not for the urban underprivileged people. The transfer of the population to the city from the countryside meant that the industrialists could get cheap labor from the city-dwellers and multiple benefits. First, factories also relocated to the city where there was not only labor but markets for the goods. Second, the real estate developers benefited from the booming population in the city by building houses, which, however, were mainly cramped and resulted in poor living conditions for the impoverished population. Third, the entrepreneurs too benefited from the opportunities the city provided. Since the population of the city mostly had what they needed, these people also finished being wealthy. Nonetheless, for the poor population, the city was not a locus of opportunity as they were suffering and struggling to survive.

The similarity of the Post-First World War and Second World War Years

In the modern era, some of the most defining periods in the history of the American nation were the two world wars. During these events, American appeared to be a victorious and the only one nation, on the territory of which there was no battle in the wars among the belligerent countries. The effects of the two world wars varied greatly from the US and the rest of the world, owing to major similarities and differences. These are attributable to various situations in the countries and socio-political and economic circumstances. This essay seeks to analyze the similarities between the post- World War I and the post-World War II periods in the US. Moreover, the article will also attempt to elucidate the reasons for the similarities.

The first similarity between the two periods is the “Red Scares.” After the Bolshevik upheaval in Russia in the course of the First World War, American politicians were afraid that the agitation that the communists had established in Russia might spread to the rest of the world and particularly to the US (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The politicians and the public feared that a Bolshevik-style revolution would occur in the US and completely alter the American social, religious, cultural, and political life (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The labor strikes backed by some international organizations only served to exacerbate the situation with the media further disseminating the fear of communist and radical left political thought (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The media would misconstrue legitimate strikes by workers as attempts to establish communism thus further fueling fear among the people.

The second “Red Scare” occurred in the period after the Second World War and is also referred to as McCarthyism. The continued occupation of the Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union, the blockage and later the building of the Berlin Wall, and the fear of foreign infiltration in the society and espionage in the US government by the Communists had frightened many politicians and Americans (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The similarity between the periods is attributable to the emergence of the Soviet Union and its satellite states offering an alternative governance and social model to the US capitalist one, which caused tensions among the US politicians and population (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Moreover, there was fear among the American public that communist infiltration would lead to a change in the US as they knew it.

In the aftermath of the world wars, the US would also emerge as the dominant global economic power. Among the belligerents in the First and Second World Wars, America was the nation that had sustained the least damage from the war (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This set the US for world economic domination. As the other nations were occupied with reconstruction after the wars, America was expanding its industries and economy. Although there was a recession in this country after the First World War, it was not enough to destroy the US dominance in the world economy as the other nations also suffered the recession, some significantly worse than the US. On the one hand, the world economic domination set the US to a global military supremacy in both cases as the US had the resources and the technology to invest in research and development of new weapons systems (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The similarity in both cases is reduced to the fact that none of the war was fought in the US territory, apart from the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii which was a one-shot event (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). On the other hand, the traditional economic and military powers of Europe, Britain, France, German, and Russia were then all devastated by the two world wars. Consequently, they had to spend substantial economic, political, and human resources rebuilding while the American economic domination of the world continued.

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The years after the First World War strongly resembled the ones after the Second World War in a sense that in both periods it was followed by political and social reforms. With many men fighting in the First World War, the important role that the women played in the American polity became apparent to the Americans. This led to calls to let the women have a right to vote, a right that they had not exercised since the Declaration of Independence, unlike their male counterparts. The agitation against women disenfranchisement resulted in the historic Nineteenth Amendment that affirmed the women’s right to vote in August 1920(Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Furthermore, in the aftermath of the Second World War, it was apparent that the African-Americans had played a notable part in the subjugation of the Germans and the Japanese. Thus, their incorporation into the American political and social system was encouraged. Hence, the movement for civil rights seriously started in the US. This lead to the laws that would guarantee voting rights and other civil rights for black people such as the Civil Rights Act in 1957(Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This similarity can be explained by the empathy the leaders felt for these groups of the American public after the war. These groups, women and blacks in particular, had proved to be useful members of the American polity during the war contrary to the common perception.

The essay analyzes the similarities of the post-World war I and post-World War II and their preconditions. The first similarity is the development of the Red Scare in both periods. This can be blamed first on the establishment and growth of the Soviet Union which made many Americans worry about potential Soviet encroachment and its effect on the US society. The second peculiar feature is the emergence of the US as a dominant world power. It can be accounted for the fact that America did not have to do reconstruction work after the war, as no fighting has occurred in its territory. The third similarity is the adoption of social and political reforms after the war. These include the ninetieth amendment post-World War I in the voting rights for black people after the World War II. One can explain it as a result of the realization among politicians that these people played a significant part in the American polity and the war effort in general.

The 1920s

The 1920s is one of the most noteworthy epochs in the history of America. A few years after the euphoria of winning the World War I had ended, the country faced uncertain future in economic terms. Moreover, some population groups such as the Blacks that had hitherto imagined that the age in which they would receive treatment as equal by the other Americans had arrived, since they saw their hopes drop through the continued racism at home even after so many of them had served in the first world war with gallantry. There seemed to be a collective lack of faith in some population groups among the government, the society, and the economy as all these were seen to be failing. The 1920s marked a period of disillusionment for some parts of the US population, while for the others it was the decade of fulfilled hopes.

This time span came a few years after the end of the First World War. Basically, although most Americans had opposed the war and dreaded sending their young men abroad to fight, the end of the war had been perceived as a glorious event, one in which the global leadership of the country had appeared manifest. However, by the 1920s, Americans seemed to be disillusioned by the war. With Woodrow Wilson’s offend of the presidency, the Americans went to the polls to choose a new leadership. Being disenchanted with the war, Americans chose the candidates who promised to cease the war and its stresses in favor of “healing and normalcy” rather than “heroics and nostrums” (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Thus, Republicans Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge won in a landslide against the more internationalist Democrats.

In the 1920s, there was the hope for a more racially and religiously equitable America. People of all ethnicities in the US had participated in the war effort, and many felt it was their time to be recognized as equal to their white Protestant counterparts. Demographic groups such as Blacks and Catholics had long been excluded from the national politics in the US, however, Americans were inspired and hopeful after the First World War and felt like the country was going to improve interracial relations. Lynching seemed to be reduced for several years, until mobs started even lynching African-American soldiers in their uniforms after the war (Henretta, Brady & Dumenil, 2007). Nevertheless, the influence of the Ku Klux Clan spread to nationwide level with its anti-black and anti-Catholic violence including major urban areas like New York and Chicago (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This produced a lot of disappointment among the Blacks, immigrants, and Catholics who had hoped for a new America where race and religion would not act as an impediment.

The 1920s were “the Roaring 20s” for some people due to the increase in productivity driven by the corporate enterprise. However, this economic growth only covered some parts of the population. According to Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil (2007), between 1922 and 1929, the GDP doubled while the income rose from six hundred and forty-one dollars to more than eight hundred per capita. In spite of that, the agricultural sectors which directly employed as much as 25% of the people suffered during this period (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The recession during the time of war was followed by the glut of goods as the European farmers started various farming activities again (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The farmers’ share in national income dropped from sixteen percent in 1919 to less than ten percent by 1929 (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Furthermore, the 1920s were disappointing for such sectors of the economy as the coal and textile industries (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Due to the increase in production during the war years, these industries had an overcapacity in the 1920s which led to falling prices (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Thus, while the rest of the nation enjoyed prosperity at that time, these industries remained rather disappointed for much of the period.

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The last depressing event in this period was the stock market crash of 1929. The steady growth from 1921 had ensured that a significant number of Americans enjoyed a rising income level (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). However, the Wall Street Crush made most of the stock lose significant value, leading to money losses for a lot of investors and businesses. It greatly affected not just some groups in the US population but the entire American population and even spread abroad. This triggered the Great Depression underlining the theme of disillusionment at the end of the decade.

Despite these hardships, while for some Americans this period was associated with the despair and unrealized hopes, for others it was the era of hope and fulfilled dreams. It is especially notable for the farmers, the Blacks, and the coal workers as the period of recession; while for the middle class, industrialists, and the blue-color workers at the factories it was the period of great prosperity (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This enhanced the development of welfare capitalism, where the factory owners continued to ensure that they had healthier, long-term working force by improving the working conditions through the provision of good housing and health insurance.

In addition to this, while this period for the Blacks might have marked the regression in race relations, it also signified the great cultural awakening of black people. This period indicates the Harlem Renaissance that tried to reclaim the African roots of Black Americans and find the racial pride in their blackness (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). These included such prominent authors as Claude McKay and poets such as Langston Hughes. Undoubtedly, this period had a great social significance for the blacks.

In conclusion, the 1920s were a period of disillusionment for some segments of the US population, while for the rest it marked a decade of prosperity. First, the election of Harding as the president in 1924 indicated American disillusionment with the war as a president who promised them normalcy and a remedy for internationalism. Second, for Blacks and Catholics this period continued to be a hazardous one as the Ku Klux Klan rose, thus diminishing their hopes in the decade. Fourth, while the economy continued to grow in this period, the farmers, coal workers, and black people seemed to be deprived of any their benefits. However, for the other classes of the population the period was marked as one of the progress and prosperity. The middle class continued to grow while the industrialists increased their profits. Fifth, the factory workers also benefited from the advent of the welfare capitalism. Finally, this period marked the Harlem Renaissance for the Blacks.

Between 1980 and 2000, at Home as Well as Abroad, a New Order Emerged

A new order occurs when the society reorders itself into a new dynamic system as a result of changing socio-economic and political factors. The two decades lying between 1980 and 2000 were of immense change in the socio-cultural and political aspects of the world. The period saw the Regan era which changed the way the US politics was conducted. This was also the epoch in which in the international arena the cold war, the defeat of communism, and the disintegration of the USSR ensued. The analysis of the historic events of this period reveals that inside the US, as well as in the world at large, a new order emerged.

The period started with the shift of the American politics to the rights. The religious leaders long before alienated from the political process found a voice through the Moral Majority in the exposition of what they termed as the family values (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Moreover, fiscal conservatives, who were concerned about the large size of the government and the budget deficits that the government kept on running each year, emerged (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The political position of these groups was contrary to the New Deal policies of a decade earlier, and the continued movement of the US politics into the conservatism.

All these forces were to get to their climax in the election of Ronald Reagan as the US president. The shift of the American politics was evident in that fact that he won decisively in almost all of the US states (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The new forces that helped elect him to be dubbed the “New Right.” The New Right was about to form the superstructure of the American politics for years. This forced Democrats to adopt an approach, as seen by the election of the centrist Bill Clinton in 1994, with his promises that sounded eerily like Regan’s messages: being tough on crime and limiting government” (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Thus, this marked a new political era in America.

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The election of Reagan had to form a new ideological basis for the government. The economic policy of this period was termed by the politicians “Reaganomics.” Reagan reduced taxes, in particular among the corporates and the super wealthy, so that they would reinvest the money in the economy (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The main mantra of the day became the government as the source of all people’s problems and its trimming which presumably was for everyone’s benefit (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This was a contradiction that was obvious because of the movement of the US politics towards the left and liberalism since the New Deal era.

Furthermore, the US demographics also reached its turning point in this period. Immigrants, whether legal or not, from Mexico and Latin America entered America in the millions (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Latinos in the US exceeded the number of the Blacks in the nation for the first time in the US history (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This also changed the racial complexity of some towns in the south of the country, with the most affected areas being California which by 2000 had 27% of the population being foreign-born (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). While anti-immigration and nativist calls had always been part of the US policy, the new demographics made anti-immigrant rhetoric more apparent from people like Pat Buchanan (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This was to usher in a new era of multiculturalism in the US with the realization that it was no longer a culturally uniform state.

Internationally, this was a period of drastic changes too. For most Americans in the post-war era, the fear of the evil empire, Soviet Union, and the Cold War had defined the American and world politics. However, during this time, the Soviet Union collapsed the sole superpower. According to Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil (2007), the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War are the most dramatic events of this era. The build-up of American military strength had forced the USSR into competing in the arms race with the US that had damaged their economy (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Moreover, the CIA supported the rebels who were trying to overthrow the Soviet-supported communist governments in the third world (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Thus, being faced with a failing economy and a reduction in its influence abroad, the USSR struggled to keep itself afloat in political, economic, and global terms.

However, the collapse of the USSR was not an event that happened overnight. In the years preceding the collapse of the USSR, the Iron Curtain had started separating Eastern Europe (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). After Gorbachev had come to power in USSR, his policies made it clear that the Soviet system had flaws that needed fixing, as there was a flurry of movements in the Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe that sought to overthrow communism (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The Velvet Revolution brought an end to communism in much of Central and Eastern Europe. The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized the end of the era of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. The collapse of the USSR followed two years later in 1991. At last, the bitter ideological warfare between the US and the USSR was ended with America winning, and the USSR was obliterated as most of the countries the USSR had controlled in Eastern Europe transformed into democracies (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This initiated a new era of democratic reforms all over the world as the Communist model failed.

Economically, in this period the structures that affirmed the Western economic domination of the world also started to develop. While during most of the Cold War countries had tended to trade with their ideological colleagues, this period showed the increase in the interconnection of the world economic and financial system (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The phase of globalization became apparent in the institution of several bodies that sought to liberalize the world economy. The General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs and later the World Trade Organization which aimed at reduction of trade barriers in the world were established (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The creation of the European Union also happened during this period. Multinationals such as McDonald’s moved from the US to be started in other parts of the world (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Meanwhile, globalization also led to the loss of jobs by American population as firms, as Nike for example, transferred their manufacturing basis to countries where wages were lower, such as Vietnam and China (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This was in contrast to the years before when the average American manufacturing facility would employ people in the US.

In conclusion, it is obvious that the period between 1980 and 2000 saw the emergence of a new order both in the US and the world. In the US, politics shifted from New Deal liberalism to fiscal and religious conservatism after the election of Ronald Reagan. The Democrats changed with the election of centrist Bill Clinton to reflect the modification in the US politics. Additionally, Reagan instituted his brand of government and economics “Reaganomics” which emphasized the limited government, lower taxes, and deregulation of the economy. In the global arena, the USSR disintegrated as communism was destroyed in Eastern Europe and most parts of the world. This led to the emergence of the new unipolar order run by the US. At the same time, globalization of the economy reduced its largest impact seen in the proliferation of US firms like MacDonald’s in other parts of the world and the relocation of manufacturing plants from the US to the developing countries.

Characteristics of American Foreign Policy from 1877 to 1914

Much of the American mainland had been colonized by the British people. After the country had gained independence, it adopted a foreign policy doctrine that mostly did not suit in a sense of leaving European matters to Europe. The country was also growing fast in its production capacity and thus, needed overseas markets. This promoted a foreign policy that would accommodate such necessity. Moreover, the companies in the nation also attempted to develop production in the countries abroad, so that a foreign policy that provided the means to do that was also necessary. Hence, the US did not have a defined foreign policy. The years between 1877 and 1914 marked a shift in the way America viewed its market foreign policy from the isolationism of the 1870s to entering the First World War a few years after the 1914. This essay is an analysis of the characteristics of American foreign policy between 1877 and 1914.

For most of the early American history, this state pursued isolationism to disconnect itself from other matters in the rest of the world. America did not have the military of the old European powers like Britain and France, and thus tended to avoid any sort of military alliances that gained popularity in Europe (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The US wanted to trade with all the countries in Europe, for this reason, creating enemies in Europe would have had a detrimental effect on business. Thus, the nation had a tendency to behave like a self-containing unit, as if it could produce most of what it needed, and the rest it would export to Europe. This US isolationism from European and world affairs was shifted, however, to a more proactive system of foreign policy as America’s economy began to grow and the country demanded overseas markets for its industrial and agricultural goods.

With the pressure from the US merchants and politicians, the country became expansionist in its the foreign policy. For several decades, Americans had established themselves in the Hawaii. Among other things, they established sugar plantations on the island. The merchants were also able to get the US to admit Hawaii sugar into the US without any tariffs. Despite this fact, this had to change as the US started treating sugar from Hawaii as a foreign commodity, and thus applied tariffs to it (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). To continue making sugar tariff-free, the merchants lobbied the US Congress, so America built a base in Pearl Harbor and was in charge of the Hawaii in a few years (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). With the island that is now the part of the US after expansionism, the sugar was not subject to tariffs anymore. Samoa was to follow Hawaii. The US needed a coaling station for its ships on their way to Australia (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). After much harangue with the Brits and Germans, it resulted in getting the Pago Pago harbor in 1878(Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). During this time, the US continued to control Alaska, which it had bought from the Russians in the 1860s.

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During this period, American foreign policy also focused on Pan-Americanism. The Monroe Doctrine had explained that the US was to ensure that the European powers would not impede the newly sovereign countries in Americas (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This aspect of the Monroe doctrine caused the case that the US foreign policy needed to have good relations with the rest of the nations in the Americas, which the US regarded as kindred nations (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Pan-Americanism was also driven by the need for the US to have its own sphere of influence in the newly formed countries. In the time when James Blaine was the secretary of the state, he promoted this idea helping organize two Pan-American conferences in 1881 and 1889 (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Meanwhile, the US believed that it should actively be involved in the affairs of these nations and as much as possible on a friendly basis. For instance, the US tried to mediate the Chile versus Peru and Bolivia border dispute and the war in 1881 (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Although it was not a success, it showed the US efforts in trying to forge friendly relations in Latin America. Unfortunately for the US, Pan-Americanism theory was to fall after Americans embarrassed Chile because of a riot that targeted US sailors in the port Valparaiso in 1891 (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The Chilean government was forced to pay an indemnity of seventy-five thousand dollars to ensure that the US would not invade it

Throughout the course of these years, the US foreign policy also turned decidedly imperialist and interventionist. The US began to serve as the nominal imperial power in several nations in the Caribbean and the Pacific after the conclusion of the Spanish-American war in which the Spaniards ceded most of their overseas colonies to the US (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). The first manifestation of imperialism was in Cuba. This island had formed an important part of the Spanish colonial possessions after losses of its own colonies in South America. The Americas helped to liberate the island from the Spaniards but unknown to the Cubans, they did not do this out of benevolence (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). In return for their independence, the US urged the Cubans to sign the Platt Amendment which among other things forced the Cubans to agree to unilateral American involvement in their internal affairs (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). In the Philippines the same incident happened . The Americans helped the revolutionaries in the Philippines who expected that Americans would leave after the defeat of the Spaniards (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). However, the Americans continued to administer the Philippines as a colony much to the chagrin of the Philippine people (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). This was regardless of the Philippine revolutionaries that waged war on Americans in a bid to regain their independence (Henretta, Brody, & Dumenil, 2007). Another aspect of imperial fervor held by the US is apparent in the their sending five thousand troops to assist in quelling the Chinese in the Boxer Rebellion which emerged from the Chinese that needed to control more of their internal affairs.

The essay explores the US foreign policy between the 1877 and 1914. It is apparent that the US did not have a particular policy doctrine in this time, but adopted a concept of foreign policy to suit its needs. First, the policy was isolationism as it was isolated from European affairs. Second, it was also expansionist as the US sought to expand its continental borders to the places like Hawaii, Samoa, and Alaska. Third, the policy was also Pan-Americanist as the US attempted to have friendly relations with the community of nations in the Americas. Finally, the policy was also imperialist and interventionist owing to interference in the affairs of Cuba and the colonization of Philippines.