Roosevelt Vs Wilson Foreign Policy: Compare and Contrast Essay

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While subjectively focusing on domestic problems during his election window and rarely mentioning foreign problems, President Wilson quickly realized that foreign policy, economic issues, and violence would prove to be major problems for him and the nation. With his success came many failures, in both a domestic and international sense. He did what he did to merely stop the spread of communism and try and implement world peace at once. But, while doing so he did not want to make the United States look like we were a nation to just step over. He did this by rejecting laws and policies in Latin America and joining wars internationally.

Wilson decided that there were changes that needed to be implemented to refine America's foreign policy, thus changing the way America took on international affairs. Continuing onto the changes made, Wilson changed the way the nation took on foreign policy, he also changed the way America operated for the time that he was in office. This was done because he no longer wanted to carry a 'big stick' or implement the policy of 'dollar diplomacy.' He wanted moralistic diplomacy to succeed and thrive in both the United States and foreign nations. But, at the same token, he was not hesitant to implement military solutions to foreign problems, as shown in the Latin American battles. This was also shown on a much bloodier scale in the battles of Mexico and in WWI. Getting involved with Latin America was meant to support the movement of Democratic governments and oppose the unjust governments occupying the land.

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After WWI and the Latin American conflicts, Wilson used the fourteen points; (a blueprint for democratic world order), to assure world peace and try to gently push democracy onto other nations. Half of the points in his article focused on territory problems internationally, while others focused on problems such as economic barriers. This war proved to provide much fewer victories both domestically and internationally. One benefit the war did bring out was the agreement to the fourteen points and the agreement of the armistice in November 1918.

Democracy abroad proved to be a very challenging feat, while we were at war many thought our nation would improve due to our involvement abroad. They thought American life would improve while freeing our allied nations from oppressive rule. But, that notion proved incorrect. During the war, women gained new opportunities in the workforce but still fought against suffrage. While the return home for Americans proved depressing. Most of the few American soldiers that survived returned home to a nation that was plagued with unemployment, and a stalled economy. Let's not forget about the Red Scare coming ever so closer as well.

While Wilson decided that there were changes that needed to be implemented to refine America's foreign policy, he went about it in a way that we can only term unique. His goal while he was in office his goal was to go through and change the way the world worked, starting with foreign policy in Latin America and working his way through Mexico and expanding into Europe. Nearing the end of WWI he enacted the fourteen points in order to attain one positive out of this situation, but in the end, 'The defeat of Wilson’s plan for international democracy proved the crowning blow to progressives who had hoped that the war could boost reform at home.'

Life in America during the Roaring Twenties was thriving. People kept up with the constant out push of modern inventions, or standards, of society, but this did not take away from the submerged corruption beneath the economy that would soon lead to the Great Depression. And as the Great Depression hit, the joys and excitement of new inventions like the radio and the automobile were quickly forgotten as the country was thrown into a panic. This same tension did not only apply to America but was happening around the world, and many large nations found themselves in a fragile state. The best way to describe American society through the time period of 1920 to 1941 is to call it a rollercoaster. The rollercoaster started with some strong ups, with the end of World War I, in 1918 and the powerful Roaring Twenties following. But America’s uphill climb ended there. Shooting straight down as the Great Depression hits in 1929, World War II begins in 1939, and all the way down to the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. American morale was at an all-time low and nationwide confusion spread on how America was going to get out of this slump. Luckily a new president arose who was willing to actually fight back against this economic crisis, and that man was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt provided quick and immediate relief to Americans across the country through the use of the radio and his triple R policy. Among his responses and policies, Roosevelt changed the course of America’s foreign policy. The ingrained idea of isolation that America had been following was not working. The change was needed because of Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations policy, Hitler’s reign, and the start of World War II, America gradually changed its foreign policy from avoiding foreign issues to becoming involved in global affairs, which in fact, was inevitable.

During this period of time, many Americans, both Republican and Democratic, still held an isolationist view on foreign policies. America’s ego seemed to be too big to think that such a large nation would not have to contribute to the rest of the world. With the presidencies of Harding and Coolidge, the popular view of the time was the return to being ‘normal’. In 1920, Harding made a speech opposing Wilson’s plan for the League of Nations (Doc 1). This return to being ‘normal’ was believed to be the key to upholding America’s individualist ideals and nothing can conquer the American spirit. This belief was shared across the nation, and both the Republican and Democratic parties agreed. But Roosevelt was this pending wakeup call that America needed, and that America is in a state of crisis and someone needs to do something. In 1940, both parties aimed to keep the United States out of the war only to enter if the United States itself was attacked (Doc 6). Yet the inevitability of America entering the war seems clear to us looking back on it, but at the time there was no telling what was going to happen next. What America did not know was the level-headed FDR was on his way and that the incoming attack on Pearl Harbor will light a fire in American spirits. With Roosevelt as president, America soon realized it would have to become involved in the war.

As believed to be America’s first “dictator”, he made amends and arrangements to aid countries in Europe that were fighting against Germany (Doc 5). Roosevelt called for a new foreign policy, called the Good Neighbor Policy. At its core, this policy was directed more toward Latin American countries, but Roosevelt maintained that he wanted to aid European allies as well. The Neutrality Acts played a major part in the war. It was a passive-aggressive set of acts, that were used to save America lives but it lit a fire in fascist hearts. So Roosevelt established the destroyers for bases deal with Britain to help Britain’s war effort and Britain was grateful. Roosevelt also went on to establish the Lend-Lease Plan in 1941, which clearly showed Americans that he is looking to get even closer to international involvement (Doc 7). By enacting this plan, Roosevelt is promising America’s allies in the war with munitions (Doc 3), food, and clothing. But of course, by doing this America is clearly showing that it will become involved in this war should the European nations fail to defeat Hitler. That is exactly what America did, entering in the very final months of the war, pushing the Germans out of Paris, and therefore saving the war.

Roosevelt’s hope was that America could aid our allies from overseas and peace would soon arrive. America was waking up to the idea of cooperating in the war and one of those men was Charles Evans Hughes. Charles Evans Hughes wanted to have international cooperation through military discussions like a limitation of armaments (Doc 2). Charles believed that America should be that savior country that relieves the rest of the world from the burden of war.

Problems in Asia begin to arise and affect America. Japan had recently established its first democratic government, which fell apart very quickly. The Japanese army did not agree with its country's policies and the Japanese generals overthrow the Japanese parliament and the country is not being run by its army. Japan has thrown away any chance of gaining respect in the world at the time with the Butchery Marked Capture of Nanking (Doc 4). This Nanking was a mass killing of its own people, to the point where you could leave your home and see dead people lying on the streets. Japan's ego is growing fast and they are now butting heads with its neighbors, one being China. Japan's ego grew to such a size that they believed that with the element of surprise, they had a chance at taking out America. Japan believed by ridding America of its naval fleets, Japan could win a war against America. This is where the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, taking more than 2,300 American lives.

Over the course of a few decades, the United States had become increasingly involved in world affairs. But without Roosevelt’s policies and bold approaches to global conflicts, who knows where America would stand today? These changes in policies helped fade the idea of isolation and were replaced with a direct impact around the world. America overcame a rollercoaster of pain and became known as the most powerful nation in the world.

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Roosevelt Vs Wilson Foreign Policy: Compare and Contrast Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Aug 29 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/roosevelt-vs-wilson-foreign-policy-compare-and-contrast-essay/
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