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Early American Wars

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Running head: EARLY AMERICAN WARS

Early American Wars

Early American Wars

When the European continent erupted in conflict in 1914, President Wilson declared America's neutrality. "He proposed an even-handed approach towards all the belligerents that was to be maintained in both "thought and deed."

In August 1914 America was overwhelmingly neutral and determined to stay so. Participation in World War I would represent a fundamental break of foreign policy tradition by the United States of avoiding direct military involvement in European conflicts. In addition to an isolationist foreign policy tradition, another factor against an American intervention was the growth in the United States of a relatively vibrant peace movement in the years from 1900 to 1914. The peace movement contained many prominent and respected members of the business community and government, and was a political force to be reckoned with.

But one of the most important potential deterrents to war lay in the multi-cultural nature of America's many ethnic identities. Large-scale immigration, especially from the eastern and southern parts of Europe, had created "a society where approximately seventeen million Americans were foreign born. Many of these recent arrivals did not speak English nor were they well assimilated into the dominant Anglo-American culture. Significant numbers of immigrants actually intended to return home and thus had little desire to ever become Americanized" (Wells, R., 2001, para 10). Furthermore, large numbers of Irish-Americans and German-Americans in the United States could be expected to demonstrate a natural antipathy toward the Allied cause. Thus the initial American policy of neutrality toward the war in Europe was a realistic strategy to avoid deepening political conflict between diverse communities of Americans possessing conflicting foreign policy loyalties.

Probably the largest organized opposition to American intervention during the period of 1914 to 1917 was the American Socialist Party. Despite some internal party conflict, most American Socialists were steadfastly opposed to the war and any efforts to promote U.S. participation. Organized labor on the other hand, was more divided on the question of war. Thus socialist opposition and organized labor's ambivalence toward the war constituted serious political obstacles to overcome in the event of an American intervention in the European conflict.

The American economy boomed during the period of neutrality. The war created a tremendous demand for American industrial and agricultural products. Both sides placed orders with U.S. Companies but British blockades of German ports and their confiscation of cargoes limited the amount that reached Germany. Wilson protested what he considered to be British interference with the right of a neutral nation to trade with either side.

Nevertheless, by 1915, while still officially neutral, the United States began to provide "cash-strapped Britain and France with enormous loans to pay for the materials they ordered. This made American industrialists and financiers rich but it also further compromised "the true spirit of neutrality." (arcweb. sos.state.or.us).

"As European countries went to war in the autumn of 1914, America was not yet committed to the British cause, or to American entry into the war on either side. The country was divided between those who urged military preparedness and support of the Allies and those isolationists who urged peace at any cost--and the implicit political messages of many films reflected that divide."(American Film Institute, 2006, 2)

Speculators concurred that World War II stemmed from World War I. They assumed this though the latter would have taken place regardless of the United States position. Many speculated that if the United States had not intervened, a settlement would have been negotiated.

The French and the British were running out of manpower, as were the Germans. The Germans began enlisting old men and young boys to fill their void. The German economy was in bad shape and because the British navy secluded Germany's ships to their ports, they had no way to invade the United States and England.

Some projected that had Germany won the war, many civil wars would have resulted. These civil wars would have enabled them to retain occupancy in northern France and Belgium. The French guerillas would have been involved as well as nationalists in the Balkans and Russian rebels.

On April 2nd, 1917 President Woodrow Wilson presented the idea of going to war with Germany. He contended that America could no longer stay neutral. America allied with the British and the French against Germany and was known as 'Wilson's War'. America sided with the French and the British to aid in getting Germany to sign the Versailles Treaty. The Versailles Treaty signed by Germany, would have ended the war. By intervening in the war and siding with the French and the British, together a strong force was formed and needed to stop the Germans.

Another reason for the alliance of America, France and England was the temptation of significant rewards should the allies win. Woodrow Wilson's theory was to make the world a safer place for democracy. There were protestors who were in disbelief of the President's said intentions of involving America in the war. These protestors believed that financial gain for Americans was the ultimate reason. (Smoter.com, 2007, 1)

The efforts of the Americans intervening in the war and siding with the French and the British did not go un-rewarded. The French gave the Americans the Statue of Liberty which now rests on Ellis Island in New York City, New York as a gift.

Woodrow Wilson began his career of implementing change when he accepted the position as president of the "College of New Jersey, which became Princeton University in 1996" (Encarta, 2006). During his presidency at the University, he put more emphasis on academics than he did the universities involvement in sports, drawing many critics from alumni. Wilson was a progressive force at the university, and enacted much change while there, he encouraged faculty to dine with students, and the staff was expected to teach the students by example as well as by the book

Wilson ran for the office of the President of the United States in 1912, and although he only won 41.85 percent of the popular vote he "polled 435 electoral votes, compared with Roosevelt's 88 and Taft's 8. The Democrats controlled both house

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