Isolationism In The United States

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The character of the United States of America was fundamentally altered by happenings prior to the World War 1. Washington, the then USA president, in his farewell address opinionated that the political connections to foreign nations should be minimised with more emphasis laid on commercial relations. The main reason for adopting the stance was to reduce interactions that may have led to war. However, a resolution to get involved in the First World War took only four days to be approved by the congress in the year 1917 (Braumoeller, 2010). This marked the point at which isolationism ended and it was due to the protection of human rights and democracy.

War was completely dreaded due to the fact that it would lead to huge unnecessary expenditures and loss of character with a conditionality of only protection against attack. Most leaders had the same opinions as the President and referred to the practise as neutrality or rather isolationism. Continental Americanism, as defined by Charles Beard, means there would be no intervention on European and Asian controversies but the only issue would be that they would not be a knight errant (Braumoeller, 2010).

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Consequently, the Monroe Doctrine that ensured that there was no meddling in the affairs of the United States or European powers was annulled first by Roosevelt and then by Wilson, who were both American Presidents (Braumoeller, 2010). America was so inclined on developing its own civilization and nations such as Hungary that were fighting for independence did not understand it. Likewise, when Russia crushed a Polish revolt the USA declined involvement citing their policy.

After the World War broke out in 1914, America was more concerned with their domestic issues and alleviation of any alliance that was not based on self-defense or free trade which consequently earned Wilson a second term on the basis of keeping America out of war (Powaski, 1991). That resolution of isolationism remained even after the world war but then Wilson, a political scientist began becoming uneasy with German aggression. In view of spiteful actions such as Lisutania sinking by submarines belonging to Germans a movement that advocated for American alertness began pressuring the Government.

In light of these acts and other similar ones, the American government changed his view on isolationism due to fear of war spilling over the Atlantic Ocean. Losses of life led the government to develop initiatives equivalent to moral imperatives that were meant to promote nations sovereignty (Braumoeller, 2010). The moment the initiatives were commencing freedom and self-determination of various nationals was at stake. Military posturing was withdrawn in place of war and leading to a complete turnaround in the principles that guided neutrality. Finally, the US foreign policy was drastically mutated into a form of defense for democracy and freedom worldwide.


  1. Bear F. Braumoeller, (2010) The Myth of American Isolationism, Foreign Policy Analysis, Volume 6, Issue 4, Pages 349–371,
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  4. Powaski, R. E. (1991). Toward an entangling alliance: American isolationism, internationalism, and Europe, 1901-1950. New York: Greenwood Press.


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