The March of the Flag Part II

well hey gang what is a crack-a-lackin’ I want to get to going on the second part of our study of imperialism the march of flag part two America emerging as a world power let’s have a look at the map and see how we have changed from the beginning of the 19th century to the end now as you have a look at this map consider that most historians consider 1898 to be a major turning point in American diplomatic and military history and that is because for the first time we have become a major overseas empire planting the flag across the planet in places like Cuba Puerto Rico the Philippines Guam Wake Island etc the Pacific Empire was largely the work of the Republican administration under William McKinley whose policy of benevolent assimilation was to teach and to Train and to uplift other peoples supposedly inferior peoples and make them ready for self-government you recall that was his justification for annexing the Philippines was that well we need to train these people and make them ready to be even more like us he gave a speech in 1900 in which he laid out what he believed the the fruits of imperialism and brought he says there has been a reunion of the people around the holy altar consecrated to country newly sanctified by common sacrifices the followers of grant and Lee have fought under the same flag and fallen for the same fate party lines of loosened and ties of Union have been strengthened sectionalism has disappeared and fraternity has been rooted in the hearts of the American people and so he’s saying here that well this has been a good nation-building experience not only for people abroad but for the American people themselves sectionalism remember the civil war north and south had divided us for so long and William McKinley here is asserting that north and south have come together a new cause and for a new national purpose he goes on political passion has altogether expired and patriotism glows with an extinguisher bull fervor in the home in in every home of the land the flag the American flag has been sustained on distant seas and islands by the men of all parties and sections and creeds and races and nationalities and its stars are only those of radiant hope to the remote people over whom it floats now pay attention to that he is saying that the people like the Philippines the Filipinos are people in Cuba people in Guam or Wake Island etc for for them the presence of the American armies and the presence of the American commercial enterprises are symbols of radiant hope and he says the mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation that is we are here to make the rest of the world a little bit more like us we are here to prepare and equip the world for Republican self-government this is the purpose of the United States well by the turn of the century one of the theaters of commercial expansion was China now China had always considered herself the Middle Kingdom the center of the world the most important culture on the planet but by 1799 this self-image was really no longer sustainable the Middle Kingdom so to speak had been horribly weakened by internal disunion and then the Foreign Wars namely the opium wars conducted by Great Britain and so what began to happen is the great powers of Europe England France Germany Russia and the Asian nation Japan carved up China into informal economic spheres of influence meaning they decided amongst themselves that this would be the our commercial operations and this would be the center of your commercial operations and who was not consulted of course with China so here’s a political cartoon showing China in the center sort of the slain dragon and then all of the predatory countries gathering around her all wanting a piece of her there’s Russian the bed there’s Germany the hawk there’s England the lion at Japan the Jaguar and so on

well this political cartoon shows the Chinese pie being carved up by the great powers England Germany Russia France Japan and you may ask well who’s missing who’s not at the table who’s not getting their piece it’s the United States well the United States doesn’t like being cut out of the commercial operations in the east and so to correct the situation John Hay who’s the Secretary of State under William McKinley makes it a pretty audacious claim it’s called the open door policy of 1899 now it’s not official legislation it’s nothing that Congress has to vote on it’s simply something that he says he says we’re going to have an open door policy and this is how it reads the United States urges all nations claiming a sphere of influence in China to declare that all nations shall enjoy perfect equality of treatment for their commerce and navigation within such spheres so he’s asking for a an open freedom of the trade so to speak freedom of Commerce within China let’s not preference one nation over another or have these spheres of influence for one nation and not another let’s have everybody competing equally inside of China he goes on the policy of the government of the United States is to seek a solution which may bring about permanent safety and peace to China preserve Chinese territorial and administration administrative entity protect all rights guaranteed to friendly powers by treaty and international law and safeguard for the whole world simple of equal and impartial trade with all parts of the Chinese Empire so he seems to be speaking on behalf of China we’re here to preserve traditional Chinese territorial and administrative entity but in fact this is a statement saying China will be open to us and it will be just as open to us as any other European nation and so he sort of us maintaining the fiction of Chinese independence we’re what he’s saying is we’re going to have a piece of Chinese commercial influence in other words America has no interest in colonies in China but it will not tolerate being banned from Chinese markets the open door in China is essential to giving American businesses what they need to prosper so let’s underscore that point again one of the primary purposes of imperialism is to open up foreign markets to buy and to sell and to use the foreign resources of other countries and from the American perspective this is only a good thing his a political cartoon showing Uncle Sam stepping onto the world stage right on to China and of course he’s holding in his hand the trade treaty with China the open door policy and have a look at everybody who has suddenly dropped to their knees in deference to Uncle Sam the British are there the Italians are there the Russians are there and they all have their their scissors in their hand because they were going to chop up China and take a piece for themselves and here’s the u.s. stepping in and saying no no one shall cut up China it’s going to be equal for for everyone we’re not going to have so-called spheres of influence well as I said the open door policy maintains the fiction of a free and independent China but the reality is this is the United States telling China and telling the European powers how things are going to be well the Chinese really have no interest in the open door policy remember this is a closed-off society that never has really wanted a whole lot to do with the rest of the planet and so a nativist revolt within China outlet breaks out in 1900 called the Boxer Rebellion and the caption of this cartoon reads when all of the last foreign devils that is the Europeans and the Americans are expelled to the very last man the great Qing United together will be will bring peace to this our land well it’s a very hopeful sentiment but it does not turn out that way for the Chinese the Americans and the British and other European powers joined forces in order to put down the Boxer Rebellion and keep China quote open for European and American commerce much to the displeasure of the boxers who tried to expel all foreign influence you you will recall that William McKinley

ran for a second term as president in 1899 1900 and was re-elected to that second term with Theodore Roosevelt as his running mate well he is not going to serve out the majority of that term because he’s assassinated on September 14th 1901 by a disgruntled anarchist and that means that the Republicans worst nightmare is coming true that’s right Theodore Roosevelt is now going to assume the presidency of the United States and as McKinley’s campaign manager mark Hannah declares now that damn cowboy is president well nevertheless that damn cowboy is in the White House he is sitting in the Oval Office and he’s going to be making decisions regarding u.s. foreign policy TR is going to call his approach to foreign policy big stick diplomacy and it works very much the same way that he exercised the use of the big stick with domestic affairs he’s not gonna get loud he’s not gonna get boisterous he’s not gonna slam his fists on the table and tell you what to do he’s simply going to display American military might and the American military and naval power and use that as a platform from which to make demands so for TR the American military should be the instrument of our foreign policy goals we do not pursue things or make demands unless we have the military might to back it up now TR also believed that the US has a duty as Rudyard Kipling would believe and as his predecessor William McKinley believed to civilize other nations he believed in benevolent assimilation and that’s the United States job to impose democracy and his ideas of freedom on the rest of the world inferior nations and that would at this time include the Philippines and it would conclude Cuba do not have a right to self-government according to TR and so they’re going to have to fall under a period of tutelage to the United States or to a European nation before they gain that right so here’s a couple of cartoons that demonstrate this this is the world’s constable you can read it at the bottom and there’s TR standing sort of you know from his place in the United States stride the planet there and he’s welding the big stick it’s called the new diplomacy and then you’ve got another one here with tiaras wandering around the Caribbean and he’s got his big stick there so he’s gonna tell the rest of the world what to do and he’s dragging the what is going to be called the Great White Fleet with him now he is going to put his money where his mouth is so to speak is through the use of his Great White Fleet this is his pet project sixteen gleaming white battleships that he is going to send around the world on a supposedly a good world tour to various ports of call primarily through Asia and what he means to do is is wave hello to all of his neighbors in the global community but what he’s actually doing is demonstrating America’s new born naval power and strength and telling the road of the world essentially the United States is a force to be reckoned with now in order for TRS big stick diplomacy to work he recognizes the need for a canal so that he can quickly dispatch ships with troops on them to any point in the globe you see the Great White Fleet in order to make an impact has to be dispatched quickly the US has possessions in both the Atlantic and the Pacific and getting from one side to the other takes sixteen thousand miles and sixty eight days so if some crisis were to occur on the other side of where the show where the fleet was it would take a while to respond so this is obviously not going to be acceptable the US says TR needs a canal through Central America that will cut that trip to sixty five hundred miles in just 20 days but where are we going to build this such a canal does not exist such a waterway has been eluding explorers ever since the days of Christopher Columbus how are we going to make this happen so the Roosevelt administration decides that the it’s mists of Panama looks pretty good it’s a suitable spot to build a canal that would connect the two oceans Pacific and the Atlantic it’s a ten mile strip of land its low-lying and swampy so though it would be very ambitious it would not be out of the question this is the era

of epic canal building these efforts are going on across the globe but the problem is that it belongs to the sovereign nation of Colombia and when Colombia decides or or when Colombia figures out that the United States is bent on building this canal it immediately raises the price that it would at least any nation that’s deciding to undergo such a project well Teddy Roosevelt says I want the canal built anyway and so for him this is not going to be a problem and he’s going to come up with a very creative way to deal with the difficult Colombians so the way that TR is going to solve this problem is by making a deal with Panamanian rebels these are people who would like to be independent of the nation-state of Colombia but they don’t have the manpower or the resources or the army to do it and so he basically offers them a hundred thousand dollars if they will start a revolution against their supposed you know overlord Colombia so then he’s going to send the Great White Fleet to block Colombians entrance into the Isthmus while the Panamanians declare and carry on their revolution so step three is have that revolution write a constitution declare ourselves independent of Colombia let’s do it and step four is to recognize the independent Panama and then start negotiating a new canal treaty so this is a very heavy-handed way of dealing with a company or a country that does not want to negotiate on TRS terms again this is a big stick diplomacy look you’re going to deal with us on our terms or we’re gonna make things happen and we’re gonna do it through military power here’s a political cartoon there you’ve got TR himself building the canal which is you know not too far from the truth and he’s shoveling dirt on Bogota which of course is the capital city of Columbia and what is the caption say below Panama a new sister Republic now at this point I would like you to turn away from my YouTube video and watch another YouTube video it’s a ten minute documentary on this construction of the Panama Canal but is definitely worth looking at now wait I know what you’re thinking you’re thinking I’m not gonna do this I’m gonna turn away how many questions could he really give me on the the viewing check when I watched this how about a hundred I’ll give you a hundred questions on the video on the Panama Canal and just to sweeten the deal this hold this will do it for you I know you’re gonna turn him want to do it now this documentary is hosted by TV’s Leonard Nimoy that’s right get started well as you saw in the video and you did watch the video one of the biggest problems that the canal builders are gonna fight is disease Panama lies within the tropics if you look at the map that’s a spot that’s very favorable breeding ground for mosquitoes and then all of the little diseases the viruses that the mosquitoes carry disease have been the main killer in the spanish-american war had killed more soldiers than combat and with 5000 Canal workers dying of various diseases every year during construction this is a problem that’s going to need to be solved I love the political cartoon it says the first mountain to be moved and we’re looking at yellow fever in 1906 for example 85% of the workers had to be hospitalized at some point dr. Walter Reed he identifies the mosquito as the culprit as the carrier of the virus that spreads yellow fever but how do you stop a disease that spread by a bug that lives in water and again what are you doing you’re building a canal you can’t really get away from this problem can you well to solve the problem the Canal builders declare an all-out war on mosquitos you’re looking at a picture a picture of the unfortunately named dr William gorgeous who orders all swamps drained he orders the excess vegetation cut down and he orders all standing water to be sprayed with oil and this will keep the the mosquito larvae from finding a favorable place and from hatching and believe it or not all of these efforts work death rates fall by 90% by 1910 and canal building is able to continue at a pace that it had not previously been able to do

and so this is what the Panama Canal looks like today that 10 mile strip has been cut and it does link the Atlantic to the Pacific allowing plenty of Commerce plenty of ships to enter and exit every single day the originally the United States had a lease on the canal for 99 years but President Jimmy Carter signed another lease in 1977 which gave control ownership of the Panama Canal to the Panamanian government and we peacefully transferred power to the canal in 2000 but for TR he got what he wanted he was able to link the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean and allow the Great White Fleet to move easily from one spot to another so you can see the route before the canal would take a really long time and the route after the canal is going to shorten that route by quite a bit so let’s look at the expansion of foreign policy under TR remember back when James Monroe had issued his Monroe Doctrine in 1823 essentially stating that the Western Hemisphere is off-limits to any further European colonization and he had done this rather soon after the war of 1812 historically speaking realizing that he was going to need the British to back him up and it was a rather bold move on his part well TR gives it teeth in 1903 and without the approval of Congress and without the approval of anybody really he declares the Roosevelt Corollary says in the case of chronic wrongdoing by Atlantic by a Latin American nation the United States is going to assume the role of world police that is we will intervene and we will restore order and essentially what he what he’s not doing is he’s not shaking his fist at Latin America and saying you guys better behave he is shaking his fist Europe and he is saying you guys will not intervene if there is ever any reason to do so any D fault on loans any upstart Revolutions anything that threatens the balance of power at Latin America this is the prerogative of the United States not of Europe and he says this is a chronic wrongdoing or and impotence which results in general loosening of the ties of civilized society may in America as elsewhere ultimately require the intervention of by some civilized nation so there he’s talking in that language of social Darwinism again the assumption being that Latin American nations are not civilized and may require the intervention of someone who is and in the Western Hemisphere the adherents of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States however reluctantly in fragrant flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence to exercise to the exercise of an international police power oftentimes we hear that you know about it’s the United States acting as the world police again and we sometimes say that rather flippantly and you know we’re almost a little bit ashamed of that sometimes like it’s not our job to police the nation well in 1904 in the State of the Union when TR made this a reality he very much intended for the United States to act as an international police power now the interesting thing about this is this is not legislation this is not something that Congress met upon and said yes this is going to be our job this is TR acting unilaterally with the force of his own personality to make this Roosevelt Corollary a reality so this is the cartoon that explains exactly what he’s doing and if you see TR there he is dressed up as the world’s police he’s flinging around his big stick it’s titled the new diplomacy and down at the bottom I’ll just highlight or highlight that for you the world’s constable which means the world’s policeman this is the role that the United States is now taking on under the Roosevelt Corollary so let’s back up and take another look at our two progressive presidents of course there’s three main progressive presidents TR Taft and Wilson so in 1908 you have William William Howard Taft who is TRS successor and he is going to be the president until the election of 1912 and in 1912 you’re going to see the emergence of Woodrow Wilson a far more progressive president than Taft was now they’re also there both of them are of course going to be taking on the Trust’s and they’re going to be taking on the major progressive issues of the day but of course both of them also have to deal with foreign

policy and we’re gonna have a look now at how the progressive presidents deal with foreign policy we saw TR now let’s go to William Howard Taft taps approach to foreign policy is not big stick diplomacy he calls his dollar diplomacy so instead of throwing around our armies he says let’s throw around our economy the purpose of dollar diplomacy is to say that the US should invest in foreign countries in order to increase influence American dollars should should control foreign corporations and American dollar should be at work employing foreign workers and so when a political crisis arises the problem can be met with our economy with our dollar power and our purchasing power not our guns so William Howard Taft says the diplomacy of the present administration has sought to respond to modern ideas of commercial intercourse this policy has been characterized as misses my italics substituting dollars for bullets it is one that appeals alike to idealistic humanitarian sentiments to the dictates of sound policy and strategy and to legitimate commercial aims so the idea is if the United States wants to see a certain course of action taken by a Latin American country the best way to do that is not to throw our armies around nobody’s gonna make any friends that way the best way to do it is to control their economies so we say for example to Honduras or to Mexico or some other Latin American nation you’re not going to act a way that it’s favorable in the to the United States well that’s very interesting considering we have so much invested in your country what would happen if we were to leave what would happen if we were to find other customers that’s a lot of jobs your country would lose and the idea is they would acquiesce to our demands so let’s illustrate this point by looking at US interests in Latin America over time so this is not just dealing with the Taft presidency but also just looking at the entire Progressive Era over time so we’ll start with exports to Latin America in 1880 we had just 64 million dollars worth of exports to Latin America but one year after Taft left office we had moved up to three hundred and forty eight million dollars in exports to Latin America investment in Latin America we had point three zero eight billion in 1887 and look at this this moves up to one point six billion two years after Taft has left office and on the eve of the Great Depression five twelve point two billion dollars of investment in Latin America also take a look at u.s. goods as a percentage of a country’s total imports this will tell you how much a country’s economy is dependent on American manufacturing or American agriculture or other industries in the United States so we’ll start with Mexico Mexico in 1914 was dependent on on the United States for fifty percent of its total imports this means that the United States more or less owns certain industries in Mexico and take a look at Central and South America I know it’s very difficult to generalize but as a whole up to 65% of Central and South America is more or less owned by US corporations which are importing consumer goods and other goods into those countries take a look at Venezuela we’re looking at 40 percent so this is a really huge amount when you think about how many people are going to be pendant for their jobs in their livelihood on US imports this is one way that we can control their politics we can control elections this way we can control the outcome of major public policies because US corporations are so heavily invested in their economies Brazil 15 percent so not an overwhelming amount but nevertheless 15 % of the total imports are controlled by the United States go to US businesses expanding abroad in the 20th century let’s have a look at a few let’s look at mining oil and agriculture you’ve got some household names such as Kennecott Brayden and anaconda in oil you’ve got Sinclair Standard Oil of California in agriculture you’ve got the United Fruit Company all of these have expanded major operations into Central and South America during the Progressive Era so once again dollar diplomacy is a way to attempt to control and Nations public policy not their invasion not

through guns but with dollars so the idea is invest in the infrastructure and development of a developing nation and then you turn that nation into your customers you dominate an industry and you hire local people and when election time comes around they’re gonna look North to the United States they’re gonna say what does corporate America want this is how we’re voting because this is how we are going to keep our jobs and this is how we’re going to keep our economy moving that nation’s employment and hence its economy is dependent on its continued US investment dollar diplomacy when the progressive President Woodrow Wilson has an altogether different approach at least in theory from his predecessors William Howard Taft’s dollar diplomacy and from TRS big stick diplomacy Wilson calls his approach moral diplomacy you see Woodrow Wilson was a huge critic of the imperialism of the Republican Party and so as a Democrat he’s going to say we’re not gonna toss our armies around we’re not going to overrule the consent of the governed across the globe well I condemn these sorts of approaches I want to spread peace and democracy by example not through imposition of guns and armies or dollars he says the US should work with other nations as equals and promote human rights national integrity and Economic Opportunity he says we must prove ourselves that is Latin America’s friends and champions upon terms of equality and honor we must show ourselves friends by comprehending their interest whether it squares with our own interest or not comprehension must be in the soil in which shall grow all of the fruits of friendship I mean the development of constitutional Liberty in all in the world so whereas Wilson believes with his predecessors TR and Taft that the United States had an obligation to the rest of the so-called uncivilized world his approach is not to send in the guns or not to take over their economies but to provide a moral example and thereby direct to the development of the so called less developed people in that way now despite Woodrow Wilson’s high-minded idealism he is going to have some of the toughest diplomatic challenges of the three progressive presidents of course he’s going to have to deal with World War one but before that he’s got to deal with unrest in Mexico the Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz and run his country in a way that had enriched the few that is the businessman and the military but had left most in poverty and this is partly in consequence of tafs dollar diplomacy US imports made up half of Mexico’s total imports and some of it the Mexican economy was dependent on the good graces of US corporations who controlled more or less the economic outlook in Mexico and so in 1911 Francisco Madero leads a revolution the topples Diaz and establishes a reformist or much more left-leaning regime now in 1913 you get yet another phase of this revolution in which the militarist the right-wing victoriano huerta assassinates Madero and seizes control and he promises that he will protect American interests he’s not going to attack dollar diplomacy so to speak and of course he’s trying to appeal to the Wilson administration which was elected in 1912 and say no words our revolution is of absolutely no threat to US corporations so please leave us alone right everybody see through that rhetoric Wilson is not at all impressed by the new regimes promise to protect American interests declaring I will not accept a of butchers Wilson denounces the overthrow and instead supports a more reformist and left-leaning venustiano carranza well I will teach Mexico to electing good men he declares this is his moral diplomacy now Woodrow Wilson is facing some of the same problems that William McKinley faced with his supposin

inaction one Republican congressman declares Wilson’s foreign policy is characterized by weakness uncertainty mass elation and an uncontrollable desire to inter meddle in Mexican affairs he has not had the courage to go into Mexico nor the courage to stay out I would either go into Mexico and pacify the country or I would keep my hands entirely out of Mexico if we are too proud to fight we should be true too proud to quarrel I would not choose between murderers as is so often the case it is a international crisis that provokes presidents to action or gives them license to action as was the case with the explosion of the USS Maine in Havana in 1898 well when American sailors are arrested at the Seaport of Tampico on April 14 1914 Woodrow Wilson looks at the situation as an opportunity to intervene now president hue apologizes and realizing what what the the Mexicans have done and he releases everybody right away so sorry didn’t mean to upset you but Woodrow Wilson has the crisis that he needs and he uses the occasion to invade Mexico sending in the Marines and going after Horta staging a coup and overthrowing the Mexican government so there is president Huerta the Marines force him from office so he is out and Woodrow Wilson’s guy the more left-leaning the more reformist the more idealist Carranza is in at this point Pancho via a former Carranza supporter disapproves of Wilson’s heavy-handedness you cannot just march into our country overthrow one president and put in somebody that you prefer even if it’s somebody that I like so Pancho Villa uses the opportunity to invade the United States that’s right and he attacks at Columbus New Mexico 18 Americans are killed by vias men via continues to hold the distinction of being the only person to invade the United States until the September 11th attacks Wilson decides to take action in March of 1916 he dispatched General John J Pershing on a punitive mission to capture Pancho via and bring him to American justice he chases via for months before he gives up the chase via continues to be the only person to invade the US and tell the icater al Qaeda attacks of 2001 but who’s paying attention to these events anyway the United States tossing around its armies sending them into Mexico and really angering a lot of Mexicans at the process Germany’s paying attention see this is 1916 and for two years Germany has been engaged in a war that we’ll hear about in a minute we call it the Great War and today refer to it as world war one they’re fighting a rule to front war in Europe against France England and Russia and they can really use another ally