In foreign affairs, the "white man's burden" helped to justify Roosevelt's "New Imperialism" in foreign policy. Uncivilized nations would gain eventual independence once they had conformed to the American model of government and democracy. Roosevelt's corollary to the Monroe Doctrine set up the U.S. as policeman in the western hemisphere. Under TR, the U.S. empire extended to include the Philippines, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. He also oversaw the building of the Panama Canal, a tremendous feat that enhanced U.S. commerce immeasurably.
On the other side, Wilson was determined to revise the imperialist practices of earlier administrations, promising independence to the Philippines and making Puerto Ricans American citizens. But Wilson's own policies could sometimes be high-handed. His administration intervened militarily more often in Latin America than any of his predecessors. In the European war, American neutrality ended when the Germans refused to suspend submarine warfare after 120 Americans were killed aboard the British liner Lusitania and a secret German offer of a military alliance with Mexico against the United States was uncovered. In 1917, Congress voted overwhelmingly to declare war on Germany.
With the nation at war, Wilson set aside his domestic agenda to concentrate on a full-scale mobilization of the economy and industry. During the war, industrial production increased by 20 percent, daylight saving time was instituted to save fuel, the government took over the railroad system, and massive airplane and shipbuilding programs were launched. Ame...
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...n and defeated, Wilson believed firmly that his vision of America leading a world community of nations would eventually be embraced by the American people. Twenty-five years later, the United Nations built its headquarters in New York, a tangible symbol of the bipartisan support that Wilsonian ideals had gained after a second world war. But Wilson's legacy was not confined to foreign policy. His progressive domestic programs helped stabilize and humanize a huge industrial system, and his success in making the presidency the intellectual and political leader of the American government enabled the United States to deal effectively with the challenges and threats of the modern world. But don't forget the credit of Roosevelt's "New Imperialism", it became the hallmark of American foreign policy in the new century, positioning America as the leader of the western alliance.
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