Why Did the Us Engage in a More Assertive Foreign Policy Around the Turn of the 20th Century?

1906 WordsMay 17, 20098 Pages
Immediately prior to the turn of the twentieth century the United States began to engage in a more assertive foreign policy. There have been numerous speculations of why that the United States decided to engage in a more aggressive foreign policy, but the main factors are clear. The United States required a stronger foreign policy because of the economic, strategic, and political interests that the United States held in foreign markets. Theses interests were necessary in order to continue the strong economic growth the United States had been experiencing immediately prior to the turn of the century. The US for the first time, saw the need to expand its global market operations by means of increasing the amount of goods being…show more content…
One of the United States most important foreign trading partners was Cuba. The Cuban and the US economy had been intertwined for nearly a decade before the turn of the 20th century with American invests of $50 million in the Cuban economy. Americans owned the most valuable land in Cuba, which were the sugar plantations. More than 90% of Cuba’s sugar was exported to the United States7. Most of the imports to Cuba and the surrounding islands came from the US. If the Cuban market closed the US would lose not only its $50 million in investments, but also millions in lost revenue from not being able to trade with Cuba. This was one of reasons that President McKinley saw a need to intervene in Cuba in January 1899. McKinley had lost his faith in Spain’s ability to bring peace to Cuba and did not want to lose Americans investments in the country. So He and Washington then ordered the U.S.S. Maine to Havana harbor in order to demonstrate the US’s concern and to protect American investments. On January 15th an explosion caused the Maine to sink killing 266 of the 354 American’s on board. The naval board investigating the explosion of the Maine initially reported that a mine was the cause of the explosion. This led Americans to blame Spain for the event, and led Congress to vote unanimously with McKinley’s request for $50 million in defense funds. This event made McKinley’s

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