Essay on New Phase in American History

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Following the Revolutionary War that lasted from 1776 to 1783, Britain’s thirteen North American colonies entered a period of great uncertainty. Finally free from the constraints of the Old World, the Founding Fathers of the United States were facing the predicament of a small population with limited resources and an unstable frontier. Though it was unclear as to how the colonies would create a New World order, most of the Founding Fathers had agreed upon a single point – that they would avoid the “balance of power” politics that had long reigned in Europe. Between the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Spanish-American War in 1898, the fledgling nation rejected “balance of power” politics and, instead, formed a federation …show more content…

While Europe continued to struggle – through both war and diplomacy – because of power politics, the thirteen American states were bound together through law and order. Immanuel Kant, in his work “Perpetual Peace” written in 1795, theorized that democratic countries would not go to war with one another because they would only go to war in self defense. While many of the Founding Fathers such as Jefferson believed this theory, some, like Alexander Hamilton, saw war as a consequence of a desire for power that is in human nature. This struggle between idealists – such as Jefferson – and realists – such as Hamilton – has, therefore, existed since the birth of the United States. It was the idealists, however, that believed in the capacity of better institutions to produce better outcomes; that the New World would be federalist, apart from the Old World, and, in essence, better. The period between 1776 and 1898 – while it is often labeled isolationist – should, perhaps, be seen as more of a type of hemispherism. Isolationist policy in the United States is more prevalent in the twentieth century, with the onset of the Second World War. Hemispherism is a more accurate term for the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries because it was a time in which the United States desired simply a distinction between the Old World

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