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The United States Becomes a Great Power, 1880–1914
John M. Dobson
From the end of Reconstruction to 1914, the United States changed from a minor nation into a major world power. John Dobson argues that this change resulted from the conscientious planning of American foreign policy makers. Stemming from motivations unique to those years, three major expansionist themes characterized American foreign policy. One: the economic theme consisted primarily of an effort to ensure access to foreign markets for American goods by increasing U.S. influence in Latin America, eventually seizing colonies in the Caribbean and the Far East, and ultimately furthering U.S. interests through Dollar Diplomacy. Two: the first expression of the political theme was a series of unilateral declarations, but by the late 1890s, the nation was strong enough to implement political adventures. In the early twentieth century a system of protectorates in the Western Hemisphere and the Open Door Policy in the Far East solidified American political dominion. Three: the ideological theme drew its strength from Americans' belief in the innate and unquestionable superiority of their way of life. This belief led the United States on a moralistic mission to democratize the world. In fact, Dobson argues that this fervor was a crucial ingredient in all phases of U.S. expansionist foreign policy.
(1978) 260 pp.
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