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AMERICAN FOREIGN RELATIONS
LOUIS MARTIN SEARS, PH.D.
PROFESSOR OF HISTORY IN PURDUE UNIVERSITY
THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY
ITH the Spanish War of 1898 the world awoke to a new consciousness of America's rôle in international affairs. Thereafter overseas expansion, the construction of the Panama Canal, participation in the European congresses at Algeciras and The Hague, the vast increase of commerce and its attendant navy, all pointed to the United States as a new and determining factor in world politics. Then came the World War. The sincere but futile efforts to maintain America's traditional policy of neutrality completed the demonstration that America no more than other nations can live unto herself alone. Her decisive action in 1917 and 1918, as well as the havoc wrought by her indecisive action in subsequent years, has convinced thoughtful Americans that foreign affairs and the fateful decisions to which they lead are the most vital considerations of the citizen. If his local, state, or even national domestic politics go askew, he is inconvenienced. His prosperity and comfort are endangered. But on his and his fellow citizens' decisions in world politics, his life and his honor are alike at stake, together with the ultimate existence of his country. Thus America in her pride as not improbably the most powerful nation in the world is confronted once more with the identical problem on the wise solution of which a century and a quarter ago in the time of her weakness depended her salvation from a hostile world.
The thread of American foreign relations is, indeed, a relatively simple one. The first generation under the Republic was concerned mainly with establishing its integrity and certainty. The second generation and its successor until the Civil War was occupied with territorial expansion on the American continent and the diplomatic problems attendant thereon. Expansion once achieved with the Mexican cession and the Oregon settlement, foreign problems be