The evolution of the American Foreign Policy.
George Washington’s farewell address left Americans with one general policy in mind and that is to stay out of foreign affairs. From that time on until the 1930’s, the United States of America had “kept its head down” for the majority of the time. However, the American Foreign Policy had experienced massive amount of changes from the 1930’s to the 1990’s. From Hoover’s conservative and withdrawing attitude during the Great Depression to FDR’s involvement in WWII, then eventually developing into “World Police” attitude during the Cold War. Each of these segments of time showed a keystone of the evolution of the American Foreign Policy.
During Hoover’s presidency, his Foreign Affair Policy was known to be on the conservative side. He directed his energy towards domestic issues rather than Overseas’ with a belief that the world would maintain peaceful. Many of the leaps taken during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency were pulled back. President Hoover proclaimed “the Good Neighbor” policy and he promised to end US interventions in Latin America. Later when Japan violated its league of nation’s covenant by invading Manchuria, the United States chose to remain passive. With the series of decisions made by President Hoover, the US had a weaker presence in foreign affairs.
When Hoover was quickly replaced by Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) after the 1932’s election, FDR’s active personality and governing style soon became apparent. FDR was mainly focused on domestic affairs during his first two terms largely due to the Great Depression when dozens of crises occurring throughout the country. However, he began to shift much of his focus towards the growing troubles of Europe in his third term. After Germen’s takeover of France, FDR began to push bills through congress that would help to strengthen the military. He also proposed the “Lend-Lease” bill which would provide supplies to Britain at an insignificant cost. The biggest shift for the American Foreign Policy happened at the end of WWII when America, Great Britain, and Russia discussed the fate of Europe.
The final development stage of the American Foreign Policy occurred during the grueling stalemate of the Cold War. During this time the foreign policy was defined by the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan for containment. This doctrine stated the general idea that America should be prepared to defend its vital interests through “the adroit and vigilant application of counterforce at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points.” In short, it was time for America to watch over foreign countries and police the world. This idea was carried over through the Cold War and after the fall of the USSR.
The significant changes to the focus of the American Foreign Policy during the last 60 years were remarkable. To evolve from a domestic focused country to a top world power, and the influences it gained in such a short time was truly impressive. Of course “the great power comes with great responsibilities”. As a result of its vast sphere of influence, the Americans have been called upon and involved in many foreign wars in recent years. Now the question is “was it all worth it?”