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     The United States illustrates the concepts of national
interest and strategy and how they change over time. National
interest is seemingly simple, but it can be tricky and
controversial to define. Close to home, it means staying secure and
sovereign. When applied to distant areas, however, it gets
subjective. Is a far land "vital"? The national interest in a given
situation may be knowable only long after the fact.

     The interests of the American colonies diverged from those
of Britain, and this led to the Declaration of Independence. The
colonists wanted free security, westward expansion, no taxes, and
open trade. Britain wanted a captive market that paid for its own
security. U.S. diplomacy cleverly brought France to our aid, then
assured Britain there would be no U.S.-French alliance to fear.

     The new United States then adjusted its national interest
to secure itself as one small power on a continent where several
European powers also claimed holdings. Cash and/or force ousted
the Europeans and got us the Louisiana territories, Florida, the
Southwest, Oregon, and Alaska. "Manifest destiny" was one way of
stating the U.S. national interest in becoming a continent-wide
power secure from any European threats and uninvolved in Europe's
wars. The only real setbacks were the failure to seize Canada and
the burning of Washington in the War of 1812.

     By the 1890s, with the continent ours, U.S. national
interests started to shift and become more complicated.
Continental security was a clear and simple national interest,
but now the U.S. embarked on overseas expansion, imperialism. The
reasons are several: perceived economic need, Mahan's navalist
theory, and the temper of the times that was defined by the
European empires. The Cuban insurrection of the 1890s served to
trigger U.S. expansionism. The 1898 war with Spain was foisted on
McKinley by a public whipped up by the new mass press. Teddy
Roosevelt arranged to use the war to also take the Philippines
from Spain. A few anti-imperialists denounced the expansion.

     Wilson tried to keep America out of World War I but found he
could not. The 20th century simply did not offer the U.S. the
same cheap and perfect security that the 19th century had
provided. Wilson brought us into the war on an idealistic basis
but was unable to get his League of Nations accepted by a Senate
that raised several valid objections. The U.S. slumped into a
foolish isolationism that sought to recover our earlier security.

     World   War II and Hans Morgenthau taught the U.S. some
lessons on   realistic appraisals of the national interest. The
U.S. could   not opt out of world involvement; the oceans were no
barriers.    FDR, with the Atlantic Charter and Lend Lease, slowly

brought the U.S. to realize that it had to fight the Axis powers.
Like Wilson, FDR also posited an idealistic U.S. role after the

     Stalin refused to cooperate, though, and closed off East
Europe. This time the U.S. did not return to isolationism; the
Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, and "containment" policy kept the
U.S. in a major world role. The period of U.S.-Soviet tension was
called the Cold War. Both U.S. parties seized on Cold War themes
to accuse the other of not doing enough, and the Cold War brought
a globalist definition of U.S. national interest. Some argue that
the Cold War crested with the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and then
subsided. Kennedy, however, operating on Cold War premises, took
the U.S. into Vietnam.

Essay and Discussion Questions

1. How could the thirteen colonies have "national interests"
   before they were a nation?

2. What is the difficulty in defining your national interest in
   any given situation?

3. Why was the nineteenth century a poor guide for U.S. national
   security in the twentieth century?

4. Why did the United States turn to imperialism in the late
   nineteenth century?

5. How were the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, and Kennan's
   "X" article all part of the same policy?

Multiple Choice

6. The French and Indian War was known in Europe as the
    a. War of Spanish Succession    *c. Seven Years War
    b. War of Austrian Succession    d. War of Jenkins' Ear

7. Typically, national interests close to home are ________
   while those far away are __________.
    a. subjective; objective       c. operative; subjective
   *b. objective; subjective       d. subjective; operative

8. The War of Independence depended on assistance chiefly from
    a. Britain      b. Spain       c. Prussia      *d. France

9. "Ends, ways, means" is a short definition of
    *a. strategy    b. power    c. diplomacy    d. imperialism

10. The Battle of New Orleans
     a. marked Britain's defeat in the War of 1812.

   *b. came after the War of 1812 was over.
    c. marked the U.S. appearance as a major power.
    d. ousted the last European power from North America.

11. The U.S. got Florida from ________, Oregon from _______, and
    California from __________.
     a. France; Russia; Spain      c. Spain; Russia; Mexico
     b. Spain; Britain; Spain     *d. Spain; Britain; Mexico

12. The   thrust of Washington's farewell address was
     a.   Keep Europe out of our hemisphere.
     b.   Become the militarily dominant power in our hemisphere.
    *c.   Do not form alliances with European powers.
     d.   Play off one European power against another.

13. The   thrust of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 was
    *a.   Keep Europe out of our hemisphere.
     b.   Become the militarily dominant power in our hemisphere.
     c.   Do not form alliances with European powers.
     d.   Play off one European power against another.

14. The   only clear failure in 19th-century U.S. strategy was
     a.   Defeat by Britain in the War of 1812.
     b.   Neglecting to oust Spain from Cuba.
     c.   Not projecting Manifest Destiny across the Pacific.
    *d.   The inability to seize Canada.

15. Mahan advanced a theory of
     a. landpower supremacy            *c. expansion by seapower
     b. Fortress America                d. continental security

16. Hearst and Pulitzer fanned citizen interest in the
     a. Civil War                  c. War with Mexico
    *b. Spanish-American War       d. First World War

17. In 1898, the U.S. took all the following except
     a. Puerto Rico              c. the Philippines
     b. Guam                    *d. part of Samoa

18. A kind of U.S. imperialism began with
     a. the Civil War               *c. the war with Spain
     b. the annexation of Hawaii     d. World War I

19. The Open Door notes referred to
     a. Spain     b. Cuba      c. the Philippines       *d. China

20. Until 1903, the area of the Panama Canal was part of
     a. Panama    *b. Colombia    c. the U.S.    d. Nicaragua

21. Those who opposed overseas expansion in 1898 were called the
     a. Anti-Colonialists.          *b. Anti-Imperialists.
     c. America Firsters.            d. Continentalists.

22. The U.S. entered World War I in
      a. 1914           b. 1915           c. 1916            *d. 1917

23. Wilson won re-election in 1916 on the slogan,
      a. "A war to end all wars."
      b. "A war to make the world safe for democracy."
     *c. "He kept us out of war."
      d. "Freedom of the seas."

24. Wilson took his _______ Points to the peace conference.
      a. Thirteen     *b. Fourteen     c. Fifteen     d. Sixteen

25. The 1919 ________ peace treaty included the _______ Covenant.
      a. Paris; League of Nations       c. Geneva; United Nations
     *b. Versailles; League of Nations d. Paris; Perpetual Peace

26. The League treaty
      a. died with Wilson's death.
      b. was ratified by the Senate but not by the House.
      c. was withdrawn by an angry and bitter Wilson.
     *d. failed to win Senate approval.

27. During the interwar "isolationism," the United States
      a. had no important overseas interests.
     *b. had overseas interests but did not support them.
      c. was not isolationist because it had overseas interests.
      d. was never isolationist, merely cautious.

28. Designed to keep the U.S. out of World War II was/were
      a. Cash and Carry              *c. the Neutrality Acts
      b. Lend Lease                   d. the Atlantic Charter
29. Franklin D. Roosevelt died in office
     *a. shortly before the war ended.
      b. after Germany's defeat but before Japan's.
      c. shortly after the war ended.
      d. as the Cold War emerged.

30. Who wrote the "X" article?
      a. John Foster Dulles            c. George Marshall
      b. Allen Dulles                 *d. George F. Kennan

31. The thrust of the Truman doctrine was
     *a. stop the spread of Communism
      b. come to Europe's aid
      c. rebuild U.S. armed forces
      d. break the Iron Curtain

32. The Marshall Plan dealt chiefly with
      a. ideology     b. politics    *c. economics   d. defense

33. In U.S. electoral politics, the Cold War was used
      a. chiefly by the Republicans.
      b. chiefly by the Democrats.
      c. little, for both parties were in agreement.
     *d. by whichever party was out of the White House.

34. In 1957, ________ brought fears of a "missile gap."
      a. the U2 incident            c. the Berlin Wall
     *b. Sputnik                    d. the Cuban missile crisis


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