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Foreign Policy
A History of American
Foreign Policy
American foreign policy can be divided
into three different sections:

• Isolationism
• Imperialism

• Idealism
Defined: a national policy of abstaining from
political and economic relations with other
countries .

“It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances

with any portion of the foreign world.” – George
Washington, Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796

The idea of ‘Manifest destiny’ – the belief that the US had

the God given right to expand on their terms. (1800’s –
justified their expansion within America and in the South
• Monroe Doctrine (1823)- President James Monroe
releases a statement to the world that declares that the
Western Hemisphere is no longer open for colonization
or intervention
• U.S.’s rejection of the League of Nations (1919)- United States
rejects the peace terms in the League of Nations, turning inwardly
on itself
• Fordney-McCumber Tariff Law (1922)- Congress passes tariff that
raises duties to shut out cheap goods sent from Europe
• Emergency Quota Act of 1921- European immigrants are
restricted to 3% of their nationality who had been living in the United
States in 1910
• Immigration Act of 1924- Replaced Emergency Quota Act of 1921;
quota’s were replaced to 2% of nationality living in the United States
in 1890
• Neutrality Act of 1935- Roosevelt declares United States neutrality
regarding relations with Europe and Asia
• Second Neutrality Act (1936)- Roosevelt reaffirms United States’
• Third Neutrality Act (1937)- Roosevelt, again, reaffirms United
States neutrality
• Neutrality Act of 1939- Hitler declares war, Unites States re-
declares neutrality

Defined: The policy of extending a

nation's authority by territorial
acquisition or by the establishment of
economic and political hegemony
over other nations.
Troops, bombing
19-year occupation after revolts.
8-year Marine occupation.
Military occupation, economic
Defined: The act or practice of envisioning things
in an ideal form.

• Wilson’s 14 Points (1918): President Woodrow

Wilson proposes fourteen points, including the most
important one: “making the world safe for democracy”
Foreign Policy Doctrines
Isolation Policy
• Monroe Doctrine (1823): written by Secretary of State John Quincy
Adams, it declared that the United States was opposed to attempts
by a European power to interfere in the affairs of any republic in the
Western Hemisphere. (Isolationist to a large extent, but justifies
expansion in the Western hemisphere)
Idealistic Policies
• Moral Diplomacy (1913): Wilson’s doctrine (with
William Jennings Bryan as Secretary of State): hoped to
demonstrate that the United States respected other
nations’ rights and would support the spread of
• Good-Neighbor Policy (1933): FDR promised to be
good neighbors with other nations of the Western
• Arsenal of Democracy (1940): FDR explained his
doctrine for WWII when he stated, “We must be the great
arsenal of democracy.”
1914Declaration of Neutrality
1918Wilson’s 14 Points
1919U.S.’s rejection of the League of Nations
1921Emergency Quota Act of 1921
1922Fordney-McCumber Tariff Law
1924Immigration Act of 1924
1924Dawes Plan of 1924
1933Seventh Pan-American Conference
1936Second Neutrality Act
1937Third Neutrality Act
1939Neutrality Act of 1939
1941Attack on Pearl Harbor
A m e r ic a v s . t h e W o r ld

1 9 0 0 A D 1 9 1 0 1 9 2 0 1 9 3 0

1 9 0 7 - D i s p l a y o f t h 1 G 9 r 2 e 1 a -t E m e r g e n c y
W h i t e F l e t t Q u o t a A c t o f 1 9 2 1

1 9 0 3 - R o o s e v e l t C o r o 1 l 9 l a 2 r 2 y - t Fo o t hr d e n e y 1 - 9 M 3 3 c C - Su me
M o n r o e D o c t r i n e T a r i f f L A w P a n - A m e r i

1 9 0 8 - R o o t - T a k a h i r1 a 9 2 4 - D a w e s
A g r e e m e n t P l a n o f 1 9 2 4

1 9 1 8 - W i l s o n ' s 1 4 P o i n t s
( L e a g u e o f N a t i o n s )

1 9 1 4 - D e c 1l a 9 r 2 a 4 t i o - nI m m i g r a t i o n
o f N e u t r a l i t yA c t o f 1 9 2 4

1 9 1 9 - U S ' s r e j e c t i o n o f t h e
L e a g u e o f N a t i o n s

Im p e r ia lis m &
G lo b a liz a t io n
E x p a n s io n

Is o la t io n is m
Id e a lis m & P r e s e r v a t io n
A m e r ic a v s . t h e W o r ld T im e lin

1 9 3 0 A D 1 9 4 0 1 9 5 0

1 9 3- u 9N t l ri t a y
1 9 4 9 - F o r m a t i o n o f N A T O
A oc 9tf 3 1 9

1 9 4 7 - T h e T r u m a n D o c t r i n e

1 9 3 6 - S e c o n d
1 9 5 0 - N o r t h K o r e a i n v a
N e u t r a l i t y A c t

1 9 4 1 - A t t a c k o n
P e a r l H 1 a 9 r b4 5o r- C o l d W a r b e g i n s / 1 9 5 0 - N
( W W I I )

1 9 3 7 - T h i r1 d 9 4 5 - F o r m a t i o i n o f t h e
N e u t r a l i t y A cU t n i t e d N a t i o n s

1 9 4 5 - F o r m1 9 a 5 t 0i o -n M o c f Ct h a e r r a n I n t e n a
U n i t e d N a t i So ne cs u r i t y A c t

Im p e r ia lis m &
G lo b a liz a t io n
E x p a n s io n

Is o la t io n is m
Id e a lis m & P r e s e r v a t io n
Websites to Explore
• - This web page contains
a list of United States’ interventions since 1890.
• - This web page contains a brief
overview of the United States’ foreign policies.
• - This web page supplies a
short summary of the United States’ intervention in Latin America.
• - This web page discusses
President Wilson’s Idealistic ideas, including The Fourteen Points and the
Treaty of Versailles
• - This web page reviews a history
of Isolationism in the United States
A Brief History of American Foreign Policy. <>
A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present. Howard Zinn.
American Foreign Policy Council. <>
American History. <>
American History Archives. <>
American History from About. <>
America’s Library. <> <>
Outline of American History. <>
National Committee on American Foreign Policy. <>
National Museum of American History. <>
The American Pageant: A History of the Republic. Thomas A. Bailey, David M. Kennedy.
United States Department of State. <>
United States Foreign Policy. <>
United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination. John J. Newman,
John M. Schmalbach.