United States non-interventionism

Non-interventionism is the diplomatic policy whereby a nation seeks to avoid alliances with other nations in order to avoid being drawn into wars not related to direct territorial self-defense, has had a long history among government and popular opinion in the United States. At times, the degree and nature of this policy was better known as isolationism, such as the period between the world wars.


Robert Walpole, Britain's first Whig Prime Minister, proclaimed in 1723: "My politics are to keep free from all engagements as long as we possibly can." He emphasized economic advantage and rejected the idea of intervening in European affairs to maintain a balance of power.[1] Walpole's position was known to Americans. However, during the American Revolution, the Second Continental Congress debated about forming an alliance with France. It rejected non-interventionism when it was apparent that the American Revolutionary War could be won in no other manner than a military alliance with France, which Benjamin Franklin successfully negotiated in 1778.[2]

After Britain and France went to war in 1792, George Washington declared neutrality, with unanimous support of his cabinet, after deciding that the treaty with France of 1778 did not apply.[3] Washington's Farewell Address of 1796 explicitly announced the policy of American non-interventionism:

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.[4]

No entangling alliances (19th century)

President Thomas Jefferson extended Washington's ideas about foreign policy in his March 4, 1801 inaugural address. Jefferson said that one of the "essential principles of our government" is that of "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."[5] He also stated that "Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be" the motto of the United States.[6]

In 1823, President James Monroe articulated what would come to be known as the Monroe Doctrine, which some have interpreted as non-interventionist in intent: "In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken part, nor does it comport with our policy, so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced that we resent injuries, or make preparations for our defense." It was applied to Hawaii in 1842 in support of eventual annexation there, and to support U.S. expansion on the North American continent.

After Tsar Alexander II put down the 1863 January Uprising in Poland, French Emperor Napoleon III asked the United States to "join in a protest to the Tsar."[7] Secretary of State William H. Seward declined, "defending 'our policy of non-intervention—straight, absolute, and peculiar as it may seem to other nations,'" and insisted that "[t]he American people must be content to recommend the cause of human progress by the wisdom with which they should exercise the powers of self-government, forbearing at all times, and in every way, from foreign alliances, intervention, and interference."[7]

President Ulysses S. Grant attempted to Annex the Dominican Republic in 1870, but failed to get the support of the Radical Republicans in the Senate.[8] The United States' policy of non-intervention was wholly abandoned with the Spanish–American War, followed by the Philippine–American War from 1899–1902.

20th century non-interventionism

Wake Up, America! Civilization Calls, poster by James Montgomery Flagg, 1917

Theodore Roosevelt's administration is credited with inciting the Panamanian Revolt against Colombia in order to secure construction rights for the Panama Canal (begun in 1904).

The President of the United States Woodrow Wilson, after winning reelection with the slogan "He kept us out of war," was able to navigate neutrality in World War I for about three years. Early on, their historic shunning of foreign entanglements, and the presence in the US of immigrants with divided loyalties in the conflict helped maintain neutrality. Various causes compelled American entry into World War I, and Congress would vote to declare war on Germany;[9] this would involve the nation on the side of the Triple Entente, but only as an "associated power" fighting the same enemy, not one officially allied with them.[10] A few months after the declaration of War, Wilson gave a speech to congress outlining his aims to end the conflict, labeled the Fourteen Points. While this American proclamation was less triumphalist than the aims of some of its allies, it did propose in the final point, that a general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike. After the war, Wilson traveled to Europe and stayed for months to labor on the post-war treaty; no president had previously enjoined such sojourn outside of the country. In that Treaty of Versailles, Wilson's association was formulated as the League of Nations.

Protest march to prevent American involvement in World War II before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Isolationism Between the World Wars

In the wake of the First World War, the non-interventionist tendencies of US foreign policy gained ascendancy. The Treaty of Versailles, and thus, United States' participation in the League of Nations, even with reservations, was rejected by the Republican-dominated Senate in the final months of Wilson's presidency. A group of Senators known as the Irreconcilables, identifying with both William Borah and Henry Cabot Lodge, had great objections regarding the clauses of the treaty which compelled America to come to the defense of other nations. Lodge, echoing Wilson, issued 14 Reservations regarding the treaty; among them, the second argued that America would sign only with the understanding that:

Nothing compels the United States to ensure border contiguity or political independence of any nation, to interfere in foreign domestic disputes regardless of their status in the League, or to command troops or ships without Congressional declaration of war.

Some of the strongest opposition to American entry into the League of Nations cam from the Senate. Senator William Borah, of Idaho, declared that it would "purchase peace at the cost of any part of our [American] independence."[11] Senator Hiram Johnson, of California, denounced the League of Nations as a "gigantic war trust."[12] These men, and others, would become known as the Irreconcilables, who would oppose entry American entry into the League of Nations at all costs. While some of the sentiment was grounded in adherence to Constitutional principles, some of the sentiment bore a reassertion of nativist and inward-looking policy.[13]

Although the United States was unwilling to commit to the League of Nations, they continued to engage in international negotiations and treaties. In August 1928, fifteen nations signed the Kellogg–Briand Pact, brainchild of American Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand.[14] This pact that was said to have outlawed war and showed the United States commitment to international peace had its semantic flaws.[15] For example, it did not hold the United States to the conditions of any existing treaties, it still allowed European nations the right to self-defense, and it stated that if one nation broke the Pact, it would be up to the other signatories to enforce it.[16] The Kellogg–Briand Pact was more of a sign of good intentions on the part of the US, rather than a legitimate step towards the sustenance of world peace.

The economic depression that ensued after the Crash of 1929, also continued to abet non-intervention. The attention of the country focused mostly on addressing the problems of the national economy. The rise of aggressive expansionism policies by Fascist Italy and the Empire of Japan led to conflicts such as the Italian conquest of Ethiopia and the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. These events led to ineffectual condemnations by the League of Nations. Official American response was muted. America also did not take sides in the brutal Spanish Civil War.

Non-interventionism before entering World War II

As Europe moved closer to war in the late 1930s, the United States Congress continued to demand American neutrality. Between 1936 and 1937, much to the dismay of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress passed the Neutrality Acts. For example, in the final Neutrality Act, Americans could not sail on ships flying the flag of a belligerent nation or trade arms with warring nations. Such activities had played a role in American entrance into World War I.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland; Britain and France subsequently declared war on Germany, marking the start of World War II. In an address to the American People two days later, President Roosevelt assured the nation that he would do all he could to keep them out of war.[17] However, his words showed his true goals. "When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger," Roosevelt said.[17] Even though he was intent on neutrality as the official policy of the United States, he still echoed the dangers of staying out of this war. He also cautioned the American people to not let their wish to avoid war at all costs supersede the security of the nation.[17]

The war in Europe split the American people into two camps: non-interventionists and interventionists. The two sides argued over America's involvement in this World War II. The basic principle of the interventionist argument was fear of German invasion. By the summer of 1940, France suffered a stunning defeat by Germans, and Britain was the only democratic enemy of Germany.[18][19] In a 1940 speech, Roosevelt argued, "Some, indeed, still hold to the now somewhat obvious delusion that we … can safely permit the United States to become a lone island … in a world dominated by the philosophy of force."[20] A national survey found that in the summer of 1940, 67% of Americans believed that a German-Italian victory would endanger the United States, that if such an event occurred 88% supported "arm[ing] to the teeth at any expense to be prepared for any trouble", and that 71% favored "the immediate adoption of compulsory military training for all young men".[21]

Ultimately, the ideological rift between the ideals of the United States and the goals of the fascist powers empowered the interventionist argument. Writer Archibald MacLeish asked, "How could we sit back as spectators of a war against ourselves?"[22] In an address to the American people on December 29, 1940, President Roosevelt said, "the Axis not merely admits but proclaims that there can be no ultimate peace between their philosophy of government and our philosophy of government."[23]

However, there were still many who held on to non-interventionism. Although a minority, they were well organized, and had a powerful presence in Congress.[24] Pro-German or anti-British opinion contributed to non-interventionism. Roosevelt's national share of the 1940 presidential vote declined by seven percentage points from 1936. Of the 20 counties in which his share declined by 35 points or more, 19 were largely German-speaking. Of the 35 counties in which his share declined by 25 to 34 points, German was the largest or second-largest original nationality in 31.[25] Non-interventionists rooted a significant portion of their arguments in historical precedent, citing events such as Washington's farewell address and the failure of World War I.[26] "If we have strong defenses and understand and believe in what we are defending, we need fear nobody in this world," Robert Maynard Hutchins, President of the University of Chicago, wrote in a 1940 essay.[27] Isolationists believed that the safety of the nation was more important than any foreign war.[28]

As 1940 became 1941, the actions of the Roosevelt administration made it more and more clear that the United States was on a course to war. This policy shift, driven by the President, came in two phases. The first came in 1939 with the passage of the Fourth Neutrality Act, which permitted the United States to trade arms with belligerent nations, as long as these nations came to America to retrieve the arms, and pay for them in cash.[24] This policy was quickly dubbed, 'Cash and Carry.'[29] The second phase was the Lend-Lease Act of early 1941. This act allowed the President "to lend, lease, sell, or barter arms, ammunition, food, or any 'defense article' or any 'defense information' to 'the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.'"[30] American public opinion supported Roosevelt's actions. As United States involvement in the Battle of the Atlantic grew with incidents such as the sinking of the USS Reuben James (DD-245), by late 1941 72% of Americans agreed that "the biggest job facing this country today is to help defeat the Nazi Government", and 70% thought that defeating Germany was more important than staying out of the war.[31]

After the attack on Pearl Harbor caused America to enter the war in December 1941, isolationists such as Charles Lindbergh's America First Committee and Herbert Hoover announced their support of the war effort.[32] Isolationist families' sons fought in the war as much as others.[25]

Non-interventionism after World War II

Ohio Senator Robert A Taft was a leading opponent of interventionism after 1945, although it always played a secondary role to his deep interest in domestic affairs. Historian George Fujii, citing the Taft papers, argues:

Taft fought a mostly losing battle to reduce government expenditures and to curtail or prevent foreign aid measures such as the British loan of 1945 and the Marshall Plan. He feared that these measures would "destroy the freedom of the individual, freedom of States and local communities, freedom of the farmer to run his own farm and the workman to do his own job" (p. 375), thereby threatening the foundations of American prosperity and leading to a "totalitarian state" (p. 377).[33]

In 1951, in the midst of bitter partisan debate over the Korean War, Taft increasingly spoke out on foreign policy issues. According to his biographer James T. Patterson:

Two basic beliefs continued to form a fairly consistent core of Taft's thinking on foreign policy. First, he insisted on limiting America's overseas commitments. [Taft said] "Nobody today can be an isolationist.... The only question is the degree to which we shall take action throughout the entire world." America had obligations that it had to honor – such as NATO – and it could not turn a blind eye to such countries as Formosa or Israel. But the United States had limited funds and problems at home and must therefore curb its commitments....This fear of overcommitment was rooted in Taft's even deeper faith in liberty, which made him shrink from a foreign policy that would cost large sums of money, increase the power of the military, and transform American society into what he called a garrison state.[34]

Norman A. Graebner argues:

Differences over collective security in the G.O.P. were real in 1952, but Taft tried during his pre-convention campaign to moderate his image as a "go-it-aloner" in foreign policy. His whole effort proved unsuccessful, largely because by spring the internationalist camp had a formidable candidate of its own in Dwight D. Eisenhower. As the personification of post-1945 American commitment to collective security, particularly in Europe, General Eisenhower had decided to run because he feared, apparently, that Taft's election would lead to repudiation of the whole collective security effort, including NATO.[35]

Eisenhower won the nomination and secured Taft's support by promising Taft a dominant voice in domestic policies, while Eisenhower's internationalism would set the foreign-policy agenda.[36] Graebner argues that Eisenhower succeeded in moving the conservative Republicans away from their traditional attacks on foreign aid and reciprocal trade policies, and collective security arrangements, to support for those policies.[37] By 1964 the Republican conservatives rallied behind Barry Goldwater who was an aggressive advocate of an anti-communist internationalist foreign policy. Goldwater wanted to roll back Communism and win the Cold War, asking "Why Not Victory?"[38]

Non-interventionism in the 21st century

During the presidency of Barack Obama, some members of the United States federal government, including President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, considered intervening militarily in the Syrian Civil War.[39][40] A poll from late April 2013 found that 62% of Americans thought that the "United States has no responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria between government forces and antigovernment groups," with only twenty-five percent disagreeing with that statement.[41] A writer for The New York Times referred to this as "an isolationist streak," a characterization international relations scholar Stephen Walt strongly objected to, calling the description "sloppy journalism."[41][42] According to Walt, "the overwhelming majority of people who have doubts about the wisdom of deeper involvement in Syria—including yours truly—are not 'isolationist.' They are merely sensible people who recognize that we may not have vital interests there, that deeper involvement may not lead to a better outcome and could make things worse, and who believe that the last thing the United States needs to do is to get dragged into yet another nasty sectarian fight in the Arab/Islamic world."[42]

In December 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that their newest poll, "American's Place in the World 2013," had revealed that 52 percent of respondents in the national poll said that the United States "should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own."[43] This was the most people to answer that question this way in the history of the question, one which pollsters began asking in 1964.[44] Only about a third of respondents felt this way a decade ago.[44]

A July 2014 poll of "battleground voters" across the United States found "77 percent in favor of full withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2016; only 15 percent and 17 percent interested in more involvement in Syria and Ukraine, respectively; and 67 percent agreeing with the statement that, 'U.S. military actions should be limited to direct threats to our national security.'"[45]

Conservative policies

Rathbun (2008) compares three separate themes in conservative policies since the 1980s: conservatism, neoconservatism, and isolationism. These approaches are similar in that they all invoked the mantle of "realism" and pursued foreign policy goals designed to promote national interests. Conservatives, however, were the only group that was "realist" in the academic sense in that they defined the national interest narrowly, strove for balances of power internationally, viewed international relations as amoral, and especially valued sovereignty. By contrast, neoconservatives based their foreign policy on nationalism, and isolationists sought to minimize any involvement in foreign affairs and raise new barriers to immigration.[46] Former Republican Congressman Ron Paul favored a return to the non-interventionist policies of Thomas Jefferson and frequently opposed military intervention in countries like Iran and Iraq.

Supporters of non-interventionism


  • Rand Paul - Member of the United States Senate, Republican presidential candidate in 2016, and the son of Ron Paul. Rand Paul has long opposed American intervention and foreign wars.[51]


See also


  1. ^ Felix Gilbert, "The English Background of American Isolationism in the Eighteenth Century," William and Mary Quarterly (1944) 1#2 p 142
  2. ^ George C. Herring, From colony to superpower: US foreign relations since 1776 (2008). pp 14-23
  3. ^ Herring, From colony to superpower pp 66-73
  4. ^ Adam Quinn (2009). US Foreign Policy in Context: National Ideology from the Founders to the Bush Doctrine. Routledge. pp. 50–52. ISBN 9781135268824.
  5. ^ Jefferson, Thomas (4 March 1801). "First Inaugural Address". The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Princeton University. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  6. ^ https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/thomas_jefferson_169575
  7. ^ a b Raico, Ralph. America's Will to War: The Turning Point, Mises Institute
  8. ^ https://millercenter.org/president/grant/foreign-affairs
  9. ^ Vote in House of Representatives was 373 to 50 in favor of war, and in Senate 82-6.[1]
  10. ^ The Encyclopedia of World War I: A - D., Volume 1, p.1264 ABC-CLIO, 2005
  11. ^ https://www.historycentral.com/documents/Borah.html
  12. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1919/06/03/archives/johnson-assails-league-of-nations-californian-calls-it-a-gigantic.html
  13. ^ Selig Adler, The Isolationist Impulse: Its Twentieth Century Reaction (New York: The Free Press, 1957), 201
  14. ^ Adler, 213
  15. ^ Adler, 217
  16. ^ Adler, 214–215
  17. ^ a b c Roosevelt, Franklin D. (3 September 1939). "120 – Fireside Chat" (Text of Radio Address). The American Presidency Project, University of California at Santa Barbara. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  18. ^ Adler, Isolationist Impulse, 259.
  19. ^ The Annals of America, vol. 16, (Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 1968),6, N.B. The Annals of America is a multivolume collection of primary sources grouped by year.
  20. ^ The Annals of America, vol. 16, 8.
  21. ^ "What the U. S. A. Thinks". Life. 1940-07-29. p. 20. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  22. ^ The Annals of America, vol. 16, (Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 1968),4, N.B. The Annals of America is a multivolume collection of primary sources grouped by year.
  23. ^ Roosevelt, Franklin D. (29 December 1940). "154 – Fireside Chat – December 29, 1940" (Text of Radio Address). The American Presidency Project, University of California at Santa Barbara. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  24. ^ a b Adler, Isolationist Impulse, 257.
  25. ^ a b Lubell, Samuel (1956). The Future of American Politics (2nd ed.). Anchor Press. pp. 139–140, 142.
  26. ^ Adler, Isolationist Impulse, 284.
  27. ^ Annals of America, 71.
  28. ^ Annals of America, 75
  29. ^ Adler, Isolationist Impulse 257.
  30. ^ Adler, Isolationist Impulse 282.
  31. ^ Cull, Nicholas John (1995). Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign against American "Neutrality" in World War II. pp. 185, 241. ISBN 0-19-508566-3.
  32. ^ "Isolationist Groups Back Roosevelt". The New York Times. 1941-12-09. p. 44.
  33. ^ George Fujii. "Review of Wunderlin, Clarence E., Robert A. Taft: Ideas, Tradition, and Party in U.S. Foreign Policy (Biographies in American Foreign Policy) and Wunderlin, Clarence E. Jr.., ed., The Papers of Robert A. Taft, Volume 3: 1945-1948." H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews. December, 2005"
  34. ^ James T. Patterson (1972). Mr. Republican: a biography of Robert A. Taft. pp. 475–76.
  35. ^ Norman A. Graebner (1986). The National Security: Its Theory and Practice, 1945-1960. p. 249.
  36. ^ Patterson, p. 577
  37. ^ Graebner, p 249
  38. ^ J. Peter Scoblic (2008). U.S. vs. Them: Conservatism in the Age of Nuclear Terror. Penguin. p. 46.
  39. ^ "Text of President Obama's Remarks on Syria". The New York Times. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  40. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete (September 6, 2013). "A closer look at next week... Spending, Syria, ObamaCare". The Hill. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  41. ^ a b Thee-Brenan, Megan (30 April 2013). "Poll Shows Isolationist Streak in Americans". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  42. ^ a b Walt, Stephen M. (1 May 2013). "Sloppy journalism at the New York Times". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  43. ^ Healy, Gene (10 December 2013). "It's not isolationist for America to mind its own business". Washington Examiner. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  44. ^ a b Lindsay, James M.; Kauss, Rachael. "The Public's Mixed Message on America's Role in the World". Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  45. ^ Kassel, Whitney (29 July 2014). "What Would Nietzsche Do?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  46. ^ Brian C. Rathbun, "Does One Right Make a Realist? Conservatism, Neoconservatism, and Isolationism in the Foreign Policy Ideology of American Elites," Political Science Quarterly 2008 123(2): 271-299
  47. ^ Trygstad, Kyle (July 12, 2011). "Ron Paul to Retire from Congress". Roll Call. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  48. ^ Paul, Ron (2002-09-16). "Entangling Alliances Distort our Foreign Policy". Texas Straight Talk. House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2002-09-23.
  49. ^ Paul, Ron (2007-05-22). "Patriotism". Congressional Record. House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  50. ^ Rockwell, Lew (2007-05-21). "The Foreign Policy of Ron Paul". Lew Rockwell. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  51. ^ https://www.nationalreview.com/2014/04/rand-pauls-foreign-policy-situation-room-or-dorm-room-rich-lowry/
  52. ^ http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/mfs47/


  • Adler, Selig. The Isolationist Impulse: Its Twentieth Century Reaction. (1957).; says it's based on economic self-sufficiency and the illusion of security, together with Irish and German ethnic factors.
  • Aregood, Richard, Richard Shafer, and Eric Freedman. "American Isolationism and The Political Evolution of Journalist-Turned-US Senator Gerald P. Nye." Journalism Practice 9.2 (2015): 279-294.
  • Cole, Wayne S. America First: The Battle Against Intervention, 1940–1941 (1953), the stahndard history.
  • Cooper, John Milton, Jr. The Vanity of Power: American Isolationism and the First World War, 1914–1917 (1969).
  • Doenecke, Justus D. "American Isolationism, 1939-1941" Journal of Libertarian Studies, Summer/Fall 1982, 6(3), pp. 201–216.
  • Doenecke, Justus D. "Explaining the Antiwar Movement, 1939-1941: The Next Assignment" Journal of Libertarian Studies, Winter 1986, 8(1), pp. 139–162.
  • Doenecke, Justus D. "Literature of Isolationism, 1972-1983: A Bibliographic Guide" Journal of Libertarian Studies, Spring 1983, 7(1), pp. 157–184.
  • Doenecke, Justus D. "Anti-Interventionism of Herbert Hoover" Journal of Libertarian Studies, Summer 1987, 8(2), pp. 311–340.
  • Doenecke, Justus D. "Non-interventionism of the Left: the Keep America Out of the War Congress, 1938-41." Journal of Contemporary History 12.2 (1977): 221-236.
  • Dunn, David. "Isolationism revisited: seven persistent myths in the contemporary American foreign policy debate." Review of International Studies 31.02 (2005): 237-261.
  • Fisher, Max. "American isolationism just hit a 50-year high. Why that matters." washingtonpost. com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/12/04/american-isolationism-just-hit-a-50-year-high-why-that-matters Washington Post. Dec 12, 2013.
  • Gilbert, Felix. "The English Background of American Isolationism in the Eighteenth Century." The William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History (1944): 138-160. in JSTOR
  • Guinsburg, Thomas N. The Pursuit of Isolationism in the United States from Versailles to Pearl Harbor (1982).
  • Johnstone, Andrew. "Isolationism and internationalism in American foreign relations." Journal of Transatlantic Studies 9.1 (2011): 7-20.
  • Jonas, Manfred. "Isolationism" Encyclopedia of the New American Nation," online
  • Jonas, Manfred. Isolationism in America, 1935-1941 (1966).
  • Kertzer, Joshua D. "Making sense of isolationism: foreign policy mood as a multilevel phenomenon." Journal of Politics 75.01 (2013): 225-240.
  • Nichols, Christopher McKnight. "Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age". Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2011.
  • Smith, Glenn H. Langer of North Dakota: A Study in Isolationism, 1940–1959 (1979). Senator William Langer
  • Weinberg, Albert K. "The Historical Meaning of the American Doctrine of Isolation." American Political Science Review 34#3 (1940): 539-547. in JSTOR

External links

1935 in the United States

Events from the year 1935 in the United States.

American imperialism

American imperialism is the term for a policy aimed at extending the political, economic, and cultural control of the United States government over areas beyond its boundaries. Depending on the commentator, it may include military conquest, gunboat diplomacy, unequal treaties, subsidization of preferred factions, economic penetration through private companies followed by intervention when those interests are threatened, or regime change.The US is generally agreed to have had a policy of formal imperialism in the late 19th century. The government of the US does not refer to itself as an empire today, but some commentators refer to it as such, including mainstream Western writers such as Max Boot, Arthur Schlesinger, and Niall Ferguson.The United States has also been accused of neocolonialism, sometimes defined as a modern form of hegemony that uses economic rather than military power, and sometimes used as a synonym for contemporary imperialism.

Four Freedoms

The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Monday, January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech (technically the 1941 State of the Union address), he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy:

Freedom of speech

Freedom of worship

Freedom from want

Freedom from fearRoosevelt delivered his speech 11 months before the surprise Japanese attack on U.S. forces in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii that caused the United States to declare war on Japan, December 8, 1941. The State of the Union speech before Congress was largely about the national security of the United States and the threat to other democracies from world war that was being waged across the continents in the eastern hemisphere. In the speech, he made a break with the tradition of United States non-interventionism that had long been held in the United States. He outlined the U.S. role in helping allies already engaged in warfare.

In that context, he summarized the values of democracy behind the bipartisan consensus on international involvement that existed at the time. A famous quote from the speech prefaces those values: "As men do not live by bread alone, they do not fight by armaments alone." In the second half of the speech, he lists the benefits of democracy, which include economic opportunity, employment, social security, and the promise of "adequate health care". The first two freedoms, of speech and religion, are protected by the First Amendment in the United States Constitution. His inclusion of the latter two freedoms went beyond the traditional Constitutional values protected by the U.S. Bill of Rights. Roosevelt endorsed a broader human right to economic security and anticipated what would become known decades later as the "human security" paradigm in social science and economic development. He also included the "freedom from fear" against national aggression and took it to the new United Nations he was setting up.

George Washington's Farewell Address

George Washington's farewell address is a letter written by President George Washington as a valedictory to "friends and fellow-citizens" after 20 years of public service to the United States. He wrote it near the end of his second term of presidency before retiring to his home at Mount Vernon in Virginia.

The letter was first published as The Address of Gen. Washington to the People of America on His Declining the Presidency of the United States in the American Daily Advertiser on September 19, 1796, about ten weeks before the presidential electors cast their votes in the 1796 election. It is a classic statement of republicanism, warning Americans of the political dangers which they must avoid if they are to remain true to their values. It was almost immediately reprinted in newspapers throughout the country, and later in pamphlet form.The first draft was originally prepared by James Madison in June 1792, as Washington contemplated retiring at the end of his first term in office. However, he set it aside and ran for a second term because of heated disputes between Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson which convinced Washington that the growing tensions would rip apart the country without his leadership. This included the state of foreign affairs, and divisions between the newly formed Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties.As his second term came to a close four years later, Washington prepared a revision of the original letter with the help of Hamilton to announce his intention to decline a third term in office. He reflects on the emerging issues of the American political landscape in 1796, expresses his support for the government eight years after the adoption of the Constitution, defends his administration's record, and gives valedictory advice to the American people.


Isolationism is a category of foreign policies institutionalized by leaders who assert that their nations' best interests are best served by keeping the affairs of other countries at a distance. One possible motivation for limiting international involvement is to avoid being drawn into dangerous and otherwise undesirable conflicts. There may also be a perceived benefit from avoiding international trade agreements or other mutual assistance pacts.

List of Booknotes interviews first aired in 2002

Booknotes is an American television series on the C-SPAN network hosted by Brian Lamb, which originally aired from 1989 to 2004. The format of the show is a one-hour, one-on-one interview with a non-fiction author. The series was broadcast at 8 p.m. Eastern Time each Sunday night, and was the longest-running author interview program in U.S. broadcast history.

List of libertarian political parties

Many countries and subnational political entities have libertarian parties. Although these parties may describe themselves as libertarian, their ideologies differ considerably and not all of them support all elements of libertarianism. For instance, most of these political parties are right-libertarians as left-libertarianism takes a different approach, generally opposing electoral politics and political parties themselves.

Norden bombsight

The Norden Mk. XV, known as the Norden M series in US Army service, was a bombsight used by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) and the United States Navy during World War II, and the United States Air Force in the Korean and the Vietnam Wars. It was the canonical tachometric design, a system that allowed it to directly measure the aircraft's ground speed and direction, which older bombsights could only estimate with lengthy in-flight procedures. The Norden further improved on older designs by using an analog computer that constantly calculated the bomb's impact point based on current flight conditions, and an autopilot that let it react quickly and accurately to changes in the wind or other effects.

Together, these features seemed to promise unprecedented accuracy in day bombing from high altitudes; in peacetime testing the Norden demonstrated a circular error probable (CEP) of 75 feet (23 m), an astonishing performance for the era. This accuracy would allow direct attacks on ships, factories, and other point targets. Both the Navy and the USAAF saw this as a means to achieve war aims through high-altitude bombing; for instance, destroying an invasion fleet by air long before it could reach US shores. To achieve these aims, the Norden was granted the utmost secrecy well into the war, and was part of a then-unprecedented production effort on the same scale as the Manhattan Project. Carl L. Norden, Inc. ranked 46th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.In practice it was not possible to achieve the expected accuracy in combat conditions, with the average CEP in 1943 of 370 metres (1,200 ft) being similar to Allied and German results. Both the Navy and Air Forces had to give up on the idea of pinpoint attacks during the war. The Navy turned to dive bombing and skip bombing to attack ships, while the Air Forces developed the lead bomber concept to improve accuracy, while adopting area bombing techniques by ever larger groups of aircraft. Nevertheless, the Norden's reputation as a pin-point device lived on, due in no small part to Norden's own advertising of the device after secrecy was reduced late in the war.

The Norden saw some use in the post-World War II era, especially during the Korean War. Post-war use was greatly reduced due to the introduction of radar-based systems, but the need for accurate daytime attacks kept it in service for some time. The last combat use of the Norden was in the US Navy's VO-67 squadron, which used them to drop sensors onto the Ho Chi Minh Trail as late as 1967. The Norden remains one of the best-known bombsights of all time.

Poland–United States relations

Polish–American relations were officially established in 1919. Since 1989, Polish–American relations have been strong and Poland is one of the most stable European allies of the United States, being part of both NATO and the European Union.

In addition to close historical and cultural ties, Poland is one of the most consistently pro-American nations in Europe and the world, with 79% of Poles viewing the U.S. favorably in 2002 and 67% in 2013. According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 36% of Poles approve of U.S. leadership, with 30% disapproving and 34% uncertain, and in a 2013 BBC World Service Poll, 55% of Poles view U.S. influence positively, the highest rating for any surveyed European country.

Stuart Chase

Stuart Chase (March 8, 1888 – November 16, 1985) was an American economist, social theorist, and writer. His writings covered topics as diverse as general semantics and physical economy. His thought was shaped by Henry George, by economic philosopher Thorstein Veblen, by Fabian socialism, and by the Communist social and educational experiments being in the Soviet Union around 1930.Chase spent his early political career supporting "a wide range of reform causes: the single tax, women's suffrage, birth control and socialism." Chase's early books, The Tragedy of Waste (1925) and Your Money's Worth (1928), were notable for their criticism of corporate advertising and their advocacy of consumer protection.

United States in World War II

The United States participated in World War II in different ways:

United States home front during World War II

Military history of the United States during World War II

War resistance in the United States

War resistance in the United States encompasses activities related to war resistance by American citizens and other who oppose military action on the part of the United States. This includes opposition to, and evasion of, military duty. Such resistance may originate from pacifism, antimilitarism or non-interventionism, generally, and may include registration as a conscientious objector to military service, draft dodging, or desertion. Alternativelty, it may be directed towards specific military actions, as with opposition to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, opposition to the Iraq War, and the post–September 11 anti-war movement.

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