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PinkMonkey Study Guide - American History

7. 7 America Becomes a World Power

Till the 1890s, the U.S pursued an Isolationist policy as George Washington put it in 1796: " is our policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world...Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture..."

This Isolationist policy suited the needs of America then. The Americans were busy with issues closer home - like the Westward expansion, the Civil War and the Reconstruction. This tradition of Isolationism got into trouble later in the 19th century as the American interests in trade required it to actively protect American rights in the world. In fact, several Americans began to realize that the U.S could never remain completely neutral.

In this context, the 1890s proved to be an important period for the U.S. Industrial production during these years had grown steadily. The growth of American industry and finance was indeed spectacular. By 1898 the U.S was exporting $600 million manufactured goods more than it imported from Europe. Speaking of the effects of this impressive industrial growth, historian Richard Hofstadter says: "More than any decade following the Civil War, the 1890s was one of upheaval and discontent for the American people. Domestically, this crisis led to reform movements. In her foreign policy, it gave rise to aggressive nationalism."

The strongest advocate of an aggressive foreign policy in the government was the Secretary of State - James Blain. He wanted to enhance the sphere of American influence to include all of the Americas. Keeping this goal in mind, he organized the First Pan-American Congress on October 2 1889, at Washington. The result of this Congress was the formation of the Pan-American Union, a Union aiming to promote good relations between the two continents of America.

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Table of Contents

7.0 - Chronology of Major Events
7.1 - The Growth Of Industry
7.2 - Agriculture
7.3 - Settlement In The West And The Indians
7.4 - Rise Of Reform Movements
7.5 - Women's Rights Movement
7.6 - Rise Of The Labour Movement
7.7 - America Becomes A World Power
7.8 - The Spanish-American War
7.9 - Panama Canal
7.10 - Points To Remember

Chapter 8


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