American Foreign Policy Gilded Age Analysis

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From the end of the Civil War to the 1880s, the United States remained largely isolationist. However, by the 1890s, America began to turn outward and expand onto the international stage; it embroiled itself in a war with Spain, took over new lands and territories in the process, and even entered into a world war. It was obvious that American foreign policy had experienced a drastic change from the days of the Civil War and the beginning of the Gilded Age, but what was the driving force behind these foreign policy changes? The two most prominent factors that contributed to the new imperialistic America who became more involved in foreign affairs were self interest and idealism. While it is agreed that self interest and idealism were prominent elements, historians have argued over which …show more content…
In the 1890s, due to rising exports and increased manufacturing capability, the U.S. needed to expand onto the worldstage to find overseas markets to sell its products because it was producing more than it needed. Senator Albert J. Beveridge proclaimed that there was more capital than investment, therefore the U.S needed to find new markets for its produce, new occupation for its capital, and new work for its labor (Doc B). The U.S acquisition of Hawaii was a display of America’s desire for more money. Treaties had guaranteed commercial trade and U.S. rights to Pearl Harbor, and Hawaiian sugar was very profitable. However, in 1890, President McKinley raised the price of sugar. America felt that the best way to offset this was to annex Hawaii despite its Queen’s opposition. Americans in Hawaii revolted and drove the queen out of power; the island was annexed after Cleveland stepped down from power. Hawaii was annexed mainly for selfish economic reasons (military reasons too in the Spanish-American war); the money that would result from its acquisition was one of the first things on Americans’

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