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United States And Uk Relations In The 20th Century

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United States and UK Relations in the 20th Century:

A Powerful Alliance and the Changing of the Guard

The United States and UK have a shared, multifaceted history. Between them, they have colonialism, wars, partnerships and friendship. Recent events have highlighted their relationship and applauded or criticized it. The thesis of this paper is to evaluate the trends in the relationship of the US and the UK in the 20th century that indicates American ascent from a young nation to a leader of the international community.

This paper will evaluate the key elements of the relationship of the US and the UK as they evolved in the 20th century. A historical review of the developments in this association will be done to provide a perspective to compare current relations. Major developments in the relations of the respective countries that have shaped economic, political, military, and personal policies will also be explored. Consequently, the implications and effects in international relations with each other and other countries because of these historical influences will also be considered. Finally, this paper aims to discern an accurate analysis of the relationship of the US and the UK and its significance to future relations.

The History of Relations: The British Colonization of the Americas and World Leadership

The first permanent English settlement in the Americas was established at Jamestown. The success of the settlers, who were sponsored by the Virginia Company (formerly the London Company), came from profitable tobacco and other agricultural operations, as well as trading with the local Indians. The first form of local administration was formed through the House of Burgesses, which comprised of local representatives, and membership into the house was limited to male white landowners. The House of Burgesses was also one of the first venues of voicing self-governance ("English Colonization of America").

At this point in time, Britain was not the only country who had colonies in what are today the territories of the US. French, Spanish and Dutch colonies were also being established primarily for commercial purposes (Rodee, Anderson & Christol 232-234). However, Britain controlled the most substantial of these territories and was rising as internationally as a global power. By the 1770's however, British taxation on the colonies was gaining criticism and the passing of the Tea Act of 1773 became the flash point of American revolt and the War of Independence against Britain's colonial rule. The Tea Act of 1773 was seen as giving preference to the bankrupt English East India Company and resulted in the boycotting of tea and to the dumping of the tea cargo of three East India ships dubbed as the Boston Tea Party. The American War for Independence lasted from 1775-1781, and ended with the British defeat at Yorktown ("US and UK: A Transatlantic Love Story?").

In the following years, US and UK relations were poor, and included a war in 1812. But relations eventually improved and thrived because of the lucrative trade between the two countries (Latourre 521-527). During the American Civil War years of 1861-1865, Britain was officially neutral, although British ships provided logistical support to the Confederacy. An incident at Trent broke Britain's treaty with the Union but a declaration of hostility was avoided with the intervention of the imperial government ("US and UK: A Transatlantic Love Story?"). With the conclusion of the Civil War, the US focused on building its federal government and constitution and Britain continued its imperial expansion, securing territories in Asia and Africa (Taylor 201-217; Rodee, Anderson & Christol 334). These territories would later play a large part in 20th Century U.S.-U.K. relations.

On to the 20th Century: A Word on Economic Expansion

At the beginning of the 20th century, the US had already established its territories into a federal state and itself as an independent and growing power in the world. By capitalizing on new technologies, the U.S. was able to revolutionize trade, commerce and industries. The US was also following the lead of the Untied Kingdom in expanding its borders and influence in other regions of the world for the primary purpose of economic expansion.

At this time, the UK was continuing its economic expansion and was organizing its territories into the British Commonwealth of Nations, which included territories in Asia, the South Pacific, North America and Africa. It bestowed British Citizenship on many of these territories, increasing trade and building prominence in European commerce and politics. By the early 20th Century, the UK was considered one of the models of imperial governance.

The Dawn of the 20th Century: Diplomacy to the World Wars

By the Dawn of the 20th Century, the UK played the role of world statesman, watchdog and conscience. The long reign of Queen Victoria, often referred to as another golden age for Britain, allowed for stability and advancement in British society unlike many other parts of Europe (Rodee, Anderson & Christol 334-339). The US on the other hand was developing as a rising power technologically with innovations in industry, manufacturing and communication; economically through is trading and commercial activities; and politically by its expanding its own territories such as Alaska, the Philippines, Hawaii and Guam. (Latourre 476-482).

When World War I broke out, the UK represented the core of the allied involvement. Since the war did not affect the US or any of its territories directly, the U.S. remained hesitant of involvement and clung to isolationism. But the unrestricted U-boat campaign by Germany resulted in the sinking of a number of vessels in the Atlantic, killing many innocent Americans. This would lead to U.S. participation in World War I, with the first official American troops arriving in Europe in 1918. Following the War's end, despite the initial efforts of President Woodrow Wilson, the US generally went back to isolationism, concentrating on building its economy, along with the UK (Latourre 489-491).

The crash of the Stock Market in 1929 would bring the realization that even in its isolation from European dealings, the US was such a formidable element in the world economy that the markets were entwined. The effects of the crash resonated throughout Europe triggering recessions and aggravating to depression many European markets ("US and UK: A Transatlantic Love Story?"). These economic developments in Europe were especially in Germany, where the



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