Chapter 19 Review: Progressive Era Diplomacy
After 1900, whether Americans liked it or not, the nation could no longer avoid playing an important part in world affairs. The progressive presidents clearly understood the new role. Yet each had different ideas about how to go about playing it.
These three presidents also brought very different styles, interests, and values to their handling of international relations. Their specific policies reflected these differences. Roosevelt’s balance-of-power diplomacy differed greatly with Taft’s dollar diplomacy and Wilson’s missionary idealism. Of the three, Roosevelt was probably most successful in completing his foreign policy goals. Taft’s dollar diplomacy had little success. Wilson was probably least successful overall, because idealism and vision exceeded what he could practically accomplish. How the progressive presidents’ foreign policies were judged depends mostly on a definition of national interests and how best to handle them. Americans continue to argue about this.
The desire to build empires plus complicated political alliances pushed Europe into the greatest war the world had ever seen. The United States tried to keep neutral, but such factors as German interference with American shipping and strong cultural and economic ties with England forced the United States in the Great War (World War I). After the defeat of the Central Powers, the Allied powers imposed peace settlement that many historians believe helped to bring about World War II.