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Foreign Policy

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Progressive era foreign policy was motivated by a variety of factors including racial and national superiority, business and economic interests, strategic concerns, and idealism. Excerpts from For the Record provide various examples supporting the concerns that led to America's foreign policy.

The idea of national superiority was evident in the belief of manifest destiny. This doctrine basically stated that America was a superior nation that was designed to expand. The nationalist argument is best depicted in Albert Beveridge's "The March of the Flag" which states, "The rule of liberty that all just government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, applies only to those who are capable of self-government."(For the Record p.117) This supports America's superior views that it could govern a country better than the country's native citizens. Frederick Jackson Turner further enhanced the feeling of national superiority in, "The Frontier in American History." His writing explained that the frontier had been essential in establishing American independence and individualism. He also claimed, "The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization."(For the Record p.49-50) The implication that expansionism leads to positive Americanization further displays the superior mindset. Racial superiority was obvious in the "White Man's Burden." This suggested that it was the responsibility of the American people to spread democracy and Christianity to civilize the "savages" and "inferior races"; those people included anyone of color.

Business and economic interests were also a driving force in foreign policy. "The March of the Flag" epitomizes the American viewpoint. It explains the problems of overproduction in the country: "Today, we are making more than we can use...there are more workers than there is work; there is more capital than there is investment...we need more circulation."(For the Record p.117) All of these factors contributed to America's need to expand to foreign markets. By establishing trade with other countries, America could import natural resources in order to produce manufactured goods at cheaper costs. This expansion of the economy would provide a market for the overproduction of goods and also increase jobs.

Additionally, strategic concerns were contributing factors in expansionism. Since the U.S. wanted to expand and trade with foreign countries, it ensured that other countries were stable and open to trade. This was demonstrated in China and the Open-Door market. There was also the belief that Europeans would dominate the market if America did not become involved. Finally, Americans



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