US Foreign Politics Timeline

Foreign Policy decisions

War of 1812

1812 - 1815

with Great Britain

Monroe Doctrine

1823

President J. Monroe
- reasserts President G. Washington's isolationist principles
- defines Latin America as the U.S.'s "backyard"

War with Mexico

1846 - 1848
  • US victory under President J. K. Polk
  • important step in US continental expansion
  • influence of “Manifest Destiny” as founding doctrine for U.S. international actions

Economic Liberalism

Approx. 1878 - Approx. 1901
  • Presidents B. Harrison, G. Cleveland and W. McKinley
  • laissez-faire : minimal regulations ("invisible hand" balancing supply and demand)
  • Big Business (idea of the self-made man)

Progressive Presidencies

1901 - 1921
  • Presidents T. Roosevelt, W. H. Taft and W. Wilson
  • end to laissez-faire
  • reform of the system: increase in the powers of government, implementation of welfare legislation

US neutrality & isolationism in WWI

1914 - 1916

President W. Wilson

U.S. in WWI

6 April 1917 - 1918

Wilson’s 14 Points & the League of Nations

January 1918

isolationist congress refuses to ratify the League of Nations

Red Scare

1919 - 1920

New Deal

1933
  • President F. D. Roosevelt
  • Keynesian solution

Neutrality Acts

1935 - 1939

Refusal to get involved in the Ethiopian, Sino-Japanese, and European conflicts.

U.S. in WWII

8 December 1941 - 1945

December 7 Japanese attack on U.S. military base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii => Roosevelt administration declared war on the Axis Powers

Bretton Woods Conference

July 1944

Representatives from 44 nations met to create a new world order of global integration centered around the U.S.
- creation of the World Bank and the IMF

United Nations Charter

25 June 1945

Truman Doctrine

12 March 1947

“Containment” of international communism on all continents

GATT

October 1947
  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
  • regulate & extend capitalist free trade on a global scale
  • replaced by WTO in 1995

Marshall Plan

1948 - 1952

NATO

4 April 1949

Korean War

June 1950 - July 1953

Eisenhower's Domino Theory

1954

Communism needs to be confined to the Soviet Union & China in order to avoid its spreading to neighbouring countires (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia).

Vietnam War

7 August 1964 - 15 August 1973

Détente in the Cold War

1972 - 1981
  • Presidents R. M. Nixon, G. Ford and J. Carter
  • phase of negotiations between Washington, Moscow and Beijing

Gulf War (Iraq)

January 1991 - March 1991

invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in August 1990
=> Congress & UN support President G. H. Bush’s war on Iraq

NAFTA

1 January 1994
  • North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada & Mexico
  • President B. Clinton

War in Afghanistan

7 October 2001 - Approx. 2014

War in Iraq

19 March 2003 - December 2011

Underlying wars & crises

War of Independence

1775 - 1783

Civil War

1861 - 1865

Second Industrial Revolution

Approx. 1870 - Approx. 1914

new Era of Corporate Capitalism:
- new technologies
- synergy of science & business
- economies of scale
- rise of bureaucracy
- giant corporations
- investments abroad

Spanish-American War

Approx. 1898
  • “liberate” nearby colonies in the Caribbean and the Pacific (Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam)
  • departure from the isolationist tradition

Great Depression

October 1929 - Approx. 1939

Wall Street Crash

Cold War

Approx. 1946 - 1991

Cuban Crises

1961 - 1962
  • Bay of Pigs (April 1961)
  • Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)

Fall of the Berlin Wall

9 November 1989

Symbolic end of the Iron Curtain and reunion of Western & Eastern Europe.

Dissolution of the USSR

26 December 1991

9/11

11 September 2001

Terrorist attacks destroy the World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon.

Subprime Crisis & Great Recession

2007 - Present