January 17, 2013 (American Exceptionalism, continued)
January-17-13 11:30 AM
- Believes principles aren't enough to be considered ideology?
○ Best and worst argument?
It may be the worst in the sense that it's true of every ideology.
○ The ideology varies widely in Stalinist Russia, etc.
- No idea of who dreamt up this idea?
- Meant to refer to some of the huge swings from one extreme to another in
○ Extremes that can be seen in the ideology of Woodrow Wilson, who went
from one being non-interventionalist to almost being solitary confinement -
○ Wilson was prepared to abandon some lofty principals.
- Educational background on Woodrow Wilson
○ Professor in politics at Harvard?
○ Wanted to make the world safer for democracy?
○ Many other presidents were crusaders wanting to promote democracy,
freedom, justice… even by force of arms if necessary.
Despite the proclamation of lofty principals in the founding of the United
States, there was:
- More of a promotion of the national interest.
- The United States, from its earliest times, had aspiring imperial goals.
○ Expanded to the West and South at the expense of Indian tribes.
○ It also expanded territory through land from Russia (Alaska Purchase).
○ It also benefitted from the Mexican War, which led to Texas becoming
independent and then returning to the United States.
Canada did not become part of the United States, even though some
revolutionists wanted Canada.
Many loyalists lived in Canada, and it was not considered extinct.
So… the country expanded from ocean to ocean?
- Issued Monroe Doctrine
○ Basically said that Europeans would not interfere in the development of
○ In return, the U.S. would not interfere in developments outside of the
○ Does not have any status under international law.
Just a statement at the time of what U.S. considered to be a piece of
American foreign policy.
Adherence to the doctrine is advocated and used as a justification for
many things… even now.
At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, John F. Kennedy talked about
the Monroe Doctrine.
□ The U.S. would not tolerate European or other powers
establishing a beachhead anywhere in the Americas, and was
used as a justification for various interventions during the Cold
- Wrote a book on American interventionism and came up with more than 100 - Wrote a book on American interventionism and came up with more than 100
ideas in the 19th century in central and south America?
- Concluded that American foreign policy was unilateral rather than
○ They wanted to do whatever they wanted without any sort of interference.
- Later in the 19th century, we will see the growth of an imperialist wing in the
United States on foreign policy.
○ There was advocating for not only involvement in world affairs, but also the
expansion of America's power and territory.
Alfred Thayer Mahan
- Wrote about the naval sea power in history.
- Talked about ability to control trade routes by having overseas colonies.
- When the U.S. won the Spanish-American War, they demanded that Spain
cede the Philippines, which then became an American colony, and allowed for
the U.S. to fuel ships in an attempt to expand American influence in the Far
William Randolph Hearst
- Wanted war with Spain and ordered people to take pictures of Spanish
○ Get pictures, he'll make the war?
Took pictures of innocent children with bad-looking dogs and printed
them on yellow paper in order to drum up support for a war?
- Wrote book suggesting that even if you look back to America's World War
policy, you will see an enormous shift from president to president.
- Imperialist era:
○ One might argue U.S. if far too interventionalists ever since imperialists
- Argued in a book called "American Lessons in History" that when Americans
are faced with conflicts, their experience is to use force.
○ One of the consequences of this:
Others judge "us" (USA) as we judge them on acts… and not on
Nations always act as they are rather on what they think they are.
Powers talk loudly.
It's mainly Americans that talk about this particular ideological view.
When Americans judge their own policy, they tend to judge it base