Presidents during the Progressive Era

Essay by sk_infernoHigh School, 11th gradeA, September 2004

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During the Progressive Era, the presidents adopted a bombastic, aggressive, imperialistic policy when they had power, and didn't when they didn't have power. The presidents had power in the Western Hemisphere, so they were able to adopt an aggressive policy, but in the Far East and Europe, they did not have as much influence, so they were inclined to be more cautious. Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson adopted the aggressive policy when they could and adopted the defensive policy in areas where the United States had little or no power.

Theodore Roosevelt is said to have two foreign policies. One policy was in Latin America and the Caribbean, where he was aggressive, bombastic, and imperialistic because the United States dominated the Western Hemisphere. The other policy was in Asia and Europe, where he was cautious and defensive because he had no power there. Roosevelt's Far East policy mainly dealt with China.

In the 1890s, John Hay introduced a policy known as the Open Door policy, whose purpose was to protect the territorial integrity of China. After the annexation of the Philippines, American business prospered. Therefore they looked even further east, and found China, which with its population of 400 million would provide even more customers for American products. However, at this time China was extremely weak and could not resist, so other countries already had their own spheres of influence in China. The Americans were too late to acquire their own sphere of influence, because most of China had already been divided by foreign countries. So to get rid of these spheres of influence and to allow the Americans to trade in China, Hay wrote the first Open Door note. This note stated that no country had the right to restrict trading opportunities of another,