Welcome to HIST 1302 OnlineUnited States History, 1877-
Part II: War, Depression and War, 1914-1945
U. S. Foreign Policy, 1901-1941
United States foreign policy between 1901 and 1941 can be characterized as generally confident, sometimes aggressive and, occasionally, even cautious. The first twenty years of the century saw the U.S. leadership pursue confidently interventionist strategies in dealing with other countries. The next decade-a-half witnessed a clear modification toward cautious non-entanglement if not outright isolationism. With the election of Franklin Roosevelt to the White House a gap grew between the isolationist American public and an increasingly internationalist policy. This gap temporarily disappeared with Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II.
Period of Confident Intervention, 1901-1919
Theodore Roosevelt’s arrival as president could not have been less auspicious, coming as it did at the hands of an assassin who ended the life of President William McKinley. While others may have doubted Roosevelt's abilities, the new president gave no indications that such doubts ever troubled his over-sized self-confidence.
left000 President Theodore Roosevelt relished the “strenuous life” almost as much as he enjoyed his status as a media celebrity. Horseback riding was a favorite pastime and helped boost his image as the "Cowboy President." (Smithsonian Institution)
He moved aggressively to realize the long-held U.S. goal of building (and controlling) an inter-oceanic canal through Central America. For U.S. policy-makers the best choice lay through the northern end of the Republic of Colombia; the Colombian government, however, proved resistant to the notion of surrendering territory to the American government. Roosevelt promptly supported a highly suspect “independence movement” within the northernmost Colombian state of Panama and hastily recognized the government of a pro-canal American sympathizer...