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Introduction to American Civilization

IX. From Isolation to Manifest Destiny to Imperialism and Internationalism and Corresponding U.S. View on Immigrants


Washingtons Farewell Address beginning of isolationist tradition (1796); Key points: not running for a 3rd term; importance of unity, honesty; awareness of mens desire for power; Constitution ideas to be changed only after wise reflection; checks and balances system; religion and morality as pillars of society; foster institutions for diffusion of knowledge and creation of a strong public opinion Foreign policy neutrality; only extend commercial relations

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. at best, temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies

Isolationism and Changes towards Internationalism / Imperialism: Monroe Doctrine (1823)

Early U.S. - Latin American relations: the Monroe Doctrine (1823), originally meant to stop European influence in the Americas, establishing separate spheres of influence for Old and New World (isolationist scope): the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers [at a time when most Latin American countries had gained independence from Spain, except Bolivia (indep. 1826), Cuba and Puerto Rico] With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. [USs neutrality on existing European colonies in the Americas but its opposition to "interpositions" that would create new colonies among the newly independent Spanish American republics] - Invoked by US gvmt in 1865 in support of Mexican President Benito Jurez vs.

Isolationism and Changes towards Imperialism: Theodore Roosevelts Corollary to Monroe Doctrine (1904)

Context: in 1904, European creditors of a number of Latin American countries threatened armed intervention to collect debts. President Theodore Roosevelt promptly proclaimed the right of the United States to exercise an international police power to curb such chronic wrongdoing. As a result, U. S. Marines were sent into Santo Domingo in 1904, Nicaragua in 1911, and Haiti in 1915, ostensibly to keep the Europeans out. This corollary asserted the right of the United States to intervene in Latin America in cases of flagrant and chronic wrongdoing by a Latin American Nation, asserting U.S. domination in that area, essentially making them a "hemispheric policeman
Monroe doctrine used by US in 1962 by Kennedy vs. Soviet Unions starting to build missile-launching sites in Cuba, throwing a naval and air quarantine over the island

Manifest Destiny Meanings and Highlights of U.S. Foreign Policy (up to WWII)

The phrase was popularized by journalist John L. OSullivan in his United States Magazine and Democratic Review (The Great Nation of Futurity, 1845): the expansion of the U.S. across the North American continent was self-evident, inevitable and sanctioned by Providence, starting from unique building blocks of America (human equality including duties and rights vs. privilege, American fights only in defense of humanity); a radical expression of the sense of mission (human progress) at the foundation of U.S. national identity in need of extension to its business / economy and literature / culture and, finally, to freedom of conscience, freedom of person, freedom of trade and business pursuits, universality of freedom and equality vs. imitation which is absurd and injurious (danger of foreign precedents in legislation); the key formula of U.S. exceptionalism; U.S. in-continent expansionism under Manifest Destiny: annexation of Texas (1845) and the Mexican War (1846-8) annex. Of California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona; Post-Civil War nationalism, interventionism, and imperialism (beyond continent): annexation of Hawaii as territory (1898), Spanish-American War results in U.S. control of Cuba, the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico (1898); Roosevelts corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (1904);

Manifest Destiny Meanings and Highlights of U.S. Foreign Policy (up to WWII)

Manifest Destiny revived at the end of 19th c. to suit U.S. imperialist projects (criticized by Carl Schurz because of its one-sidedness, danger of turning U.S. into a merely self-interested colonial power, only trying to promote its commercial advantage and naval development and prone to change democratic mindset by granting equal status to new states whose inhabitants follow non-democratic, anarchic and despotic thinking because of tropical climate different work ethics and idea of civil disobedience) he is against such attempts of expansion South of the continent to Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Hawaii because of one-sidedness of America (likely to foster Americas colonial mindset and end its democracy) Schurzs reconfiguration of Manifest Destiny as possibility of Northern expansion to annex Canada fol. affinity of citizens in point of beliefs and values and provided both spaces want it (not enforcement but consent of democratic culture); link with internationalism: the U.S. is on a mission to spread and defend democracy, freedom, prosperity and power.

Uncle Sam teaching self-government (

Struggles between Manifest Destiny Discourse and Isolationism

U.S. and World War I; the Lusitania incident (1915, British liner torpedoed by Germans, some 1,100 passengers of 1,900 died); the Zimmerman telegram (January 1917 Germany to offer military alliance to Mexico if it made war vs. U.S., to gain Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona); Declaration of war on Germany (April 1917); the war as a crusade for democracy, human rights and world peace made of self-determined and moral countries; U.S. internationalism: Wilsons Fourteen Points Speech (January 8, 1918); The League of Nations (meant to guarantee political independence and territorial integrity, which the U.S. did not then join, finally proving Wilsons failure against American isolationism (Senator Henry Cabot Lodges speech 1919); Denunciation of Th. Roosevelts corollary to the Monroe Doctrine by Pres. Calvin Coolidge (1928) and renouncement of interventionism by F.D. Roosevelts Good Neighbor Policy (1934); Neutrality Act (1935); Dec. 7, 1941: the Pearl Harbor attack buries U.S. isolationism.


Manifest Destiny Meanings and Highlights of U.S. Foreign Policy (up to WWII)

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Robert Luces 1941 suggestion that the 20th century is the American century need of U.S. to assume its role as the dominant world power it has become, not isolationist but interventionist (fol. Britains dependence on America for war aims and victory, the international character of American national documents and culture Hollywood, jazz, slang, machines) Areas to use American vision as international vanguards of hope: Implement free economic practice internationally [economic model] Create a skillful world by the export of its technical and artistic skills [industrial / technical model] America as good Samaritan, placing as much money in military as in international aid system for the hungry and the discriminated [humanitarian / philanthropic model] Powerhouse of ideals of Freedom and Justice [social / legal model]


American Manifest Destiny and Mainstream Views of Immigrants [New Theories of American Identity]

Birth of nativism against European immigrants given great waves of non-Anglo-Saxon European immigrants in the 1820s-40s (Irish), 1840s50s (Germans), 1880s-1920s (Eastern Europeans), pointed out by Horace Kallens Democracy vs. the Melting-Pot (1915) - a new look on whites (no longer seen as homogeneous and self-conscious group but as hierarchical: WASP as the best whites, then Alpines, Mediterranean, and Eastern Europeans) Kallens decrying the reconfiguration of Americanism for promoting WASP conformity and inferiority of immigrants of non-Anglo-Saxon stock; see Dillingham commission 1911 report, establishing old, superior Northern and Western European immigrants vs. new, inferior Southern and Eastern European immigrants, leading to the Emergency Quota Law of 1921 (limiting no of immigrants to at most 3% of immigrants of each nationality living in the U.S. in 1910) and the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 (limiting no of immigrants to at most 2% of immigrants of each nationality living in the U.S. acc. to 1890 Census, in force till 1965) - decreasing numbers of EEur immigrants from 10 million in 1910-1920 to 1.5 millions between 1930 and 1950)

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

Meaning in 1776 Context Defend Americanism

Meaning in 1915 Defend Americanism

Colonists fear of English power [that] had laid Fear on the part of Americans of British descent claim to the of the danger to lose certain possessions acknowledgment of their traditional superiority to the colonists in America (68) Danger source from a force across the from a force across the water considered water considered superior: inferior: immigrants (68) English rulers (68) Equality invocation Reversed To conserve the inalienable power relationships + rights of colonists in 1776, it was necessary to declare all message men equal. Men were as good as their betters.(68) Inequality invocation To conserve the rights of their descendants in 1914, it becomes necessary to declare all men unequal. Men are worse than their betters.(68)

Basis of Transnational View of Immigrants: Redefinition of Freedom

If freedom means the right to do pretty much as one pleases, so long as one does not interfere with others, the immigrant has found freedom (Bourne 1735). [immigrant to be tolerated and geared by the native-born who run politics, society, culture] If freedom means a democratic cooperation in determining the ideals and purposes and industrial and social institutions of a country, then the immigrant has not been free, and the Anglo-Saxon element is guilty of just what every dominant race is guilty of in every European country: the imposition of its own culture upon the minority peoples. (Bourne 1735) [immigrant to be respected and contribute to American social, political, cultural life]

Kallens and Bournes Proposition: Cultural Pluralism and Transnationalism (Prolonging Manifest Destiny)

Americanization has not repressed nationality. Americanization has liberated nationality. (Kallen 88, my emphases) Assimilation, in other words, instead of washing out the memories of Europe, made them more and more intensely real, since colonists themselves were pioneer only in conquest of material resources, otherwise bearers of their cultural roots, leading the strong cultural movements of foreign press, school, and colonies (Bourne 1732) fol. this view, AngloSaxons = simply the first immigrants to America. Americanization = more inclusive, not WASP-conformity, but Euro-centric use of English and American standards in politics and diverse national / ethnic standards in private, co-existence of both division and identification Outcome: U.S. = first international country, allowing the intellectual battleground of nations via discourse battles, cosmopolitan viewpoint aimed to understand difference not indict it / dual, mobile citizen model making returning immigrants missionaries of cosmopolitan America to an inferior civ., the country of their birth, by preaching American pioneer spirit and sense of new social vistas

John Gasts American Progress 1872 (