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PHASES AND PROBLEMS OF AMERICAN
BEFORE the Spanish war most Americans regarded diplomacy as a foreign luxury. Some thought that we should import a little of it; others regarded it as a
Birth of Amdeleterious appendage of effete civilizations
erican diplowhich we, in our young strength, had forever macy, 1774 to
1789 cast aside. Not that this had always been our attitude. During the Revolution and the Confederation diplomacy was recognized by the intelligent to be as essential to the establishment of our national existence as arms, diplomats were as carefully chosen as generals; the news of the negotiations of Franklin, Adams, and Jay was as anxiously awaited as that from the army, and
their successes brought almost as great a reward of popular acclaim as did those of commanders in the field.
By 1789 the joint efforts of our soldiers, diplomats, and constitution-builders had assured our national existence, but the broader question as to whether we
Development could gain real freedom to pursue our national of the Mondevelopment in our own way remained. Euro
1789 to 1829 pean statesmen regarded us but as a weight to be used in fixing or unfixing the balance of power. The strong wind of the French Revolution swept across the Atlantic and divided our own citizens. Foreign affairs absorbed attention that was needed for domestic problems, the fate of administrations came to hang upon their foreign
policy. Dissertations on diplomatic problems created political reputations. Of the five presidents who succeeded Washington all had had diplomatic experience and four had served as secretaries of state. Practically devoid of a permanent army or navy, we relied for defence upon our diplomats and the ocean. The Treaty of Ghent in 1814, followed by the peace of Europe in 1815, gave us real freedom, and our struggle left as its by-products an intelligent public opinion, and a staff so well trained that the period from 1815 to 1829 may in many ways be regarded as the golden age of American diplomacy. As Marshall was during those years codifying the constitutional practices of the past in form to serve as a guide for a considerable future, so John Quincy Adams was codifying our diplomatic opinions. By 1829 we had not only shaken ourselves loose from the entanglements of European international politics, but we had formulated rules of conduct designed to make that separation permanent.
Our isolation achieved, diplomacy ceased to attract our ablest men or to interest the public. Of seventeen presidents
between 1829 and the Spanish war, two only, Subordination of diplomacy
Van Buren and Buchanan, had served in diploto politics,
matic posts. Between 1829 and 1844 a few
episodes gained a momentary attention; but not many persons took the trouble to connect them with one another and with the past, or to free their vision from the blurring mist of internal politics. Between 1844 and Expansion,
1860 a consciousness of our growing strength 1844 to 1860
and “manifest destiny” began to arouse a new interest in diplomacy not as a protective art but as a weapon of acquisition. Fearless, often shameless, and with little deference for the feelings or conventions of others, our diplomats helped to extend the boundaries of the republic; but they were unable to win for their labors much applause from a people absorbed in its home concerns and the coming storm of civil war,
1829 to 1844
1860 to 1872
By the war the work of diplomacy was once more rendered vital. If our diplomatic policy had failed then, the country would inevitably have been divided, and the
War and Resystem of equipoise which causes all Europe construction, to vibrate to the slightest international happening, that balance of power to which we had by such earnest effort avoided becoming a party, would have been established in America. Again we were successful; but the clang of battle for the most part deafened the public ear to the diplomatic struggle, while the political, social, and economic reconstruction of the next few years gave the public time for only an occasional glance at the diplomatic reconstruction, which was satisfactorily completed in 1872.
The period from Reconstruction to the Spanish war marked the lowest point in the quality of our diplomacy and in the amount of public attention devoted to it.
The nadir of With no fear of foreign powers and with no diplomacy,
1872 to 1898 definite international aspirations, most of our leading men ignored foreign affairs. Some to be sure, used them to add ginger to their public speeches, but only a handful devoted any gray matter to their management. The situation, however, was gradually changing, the world was growing closer together; nations were actually becoming more intimate than English counties were a century ago; isolation was no longer possible, at least to the degree in which it had existed when the Monroe Doctrine was announced. During the nineties there was a growing appreciation that our national life must become less secluded, and in 1898 the Spanish war brought us suddenly
The United and dramatically upon the world stage. Our States a world policies, no longer those of the anxious pigmy
power, 1898 of a hundred years before, but of a great power seeking inAuence and opportunity, became of moment to the world and to ourselves. In an atmosphere of growing intelligence, statesmen with a broader grasp of international relations than had been held for three-quarters of a century emerged to
undertake the readjustment, with the result that the United States has become a world power and an international influence, though without losing its tradition of living mainly to itself and letting others do the same. Never again in the future, however, can we ignore our international relations as we did from 1829 to 1898.
The popular interest aroused by the questions of policy of the last fifteen years has furnished incentive for a wideStudy of diplo- spread study of our diplomatic activity in the macy
past. Monographs, essays, and books on diplomatic history and international law have been rapidly multiplying, and it is upon these studies that this book is in large part based. It is hoped that its brief outline will be supplemented by the intensive works to which reference is made, and that it may thus serve to broaden the basis of public opinion upon which the usefulness and ultimate safety of the United States must depend.
It is, of course, apparent that popular interest alone has not been the measure of our diplomatic activity. Continuity of time have we lived wholly to ourselves. Whendiplomacy
ever an American citizen or an American product crosses a neighbor's border, or whenever foreigners and their goods cross ours, there is material for diplomacy. Problems, some perennial, some transient, have at all times confronted our administrations, however ill-manned, however feebly supported.
When in 1783 we won recognition of our independence, we possessed scarcely one undisputed boundary line, and, Boundaries even had every contention been decided in our and expansion favor, the territory enclosed would not have sufficed for a well-rounded and self-sufficient national growth. Our boundaries have only just been adjusted, and whether the limits of our national expansion have been reached must still be regarded as an open question. At no time in our history have these problems been absent, and at no time have they failed to influence other nations in their attitude toward
us; in some periods they have been the very pivots upon which our national policy has turned.
American citizens have never been content with the resources of their own land; to protect them, therefore, in the pursuit of the cod and mackerel of the north
Extra terrieast coast, of the seal of Behring sea, of the torial re
and oceanic whale, and of the guano deposits of the international
pathways islands of the sea, has been an unending task. Of greater difficulty, however, has been the effort to free the paths of intercourse. For many years the products of our lower Middle West were bottled up by Spain's hold on the Mississippi, till the nation itself was in peril of disruption on that account. Then, too, many of our northern water outlets east of the Rockies run through Canada, while west of the mountains the Canadian outlets run through our territories; and, further, the most tempting road between our Atlantic.and Pacific coast lies far south of our own boundaries. From problems such as these we have never been free, and with regard to no others have we changed our mind so often. Generally favoring liberality, we have done much to free the lanes of commerce in which our interest is only general, such as the international rivers of South America, the Danish straits, the Scheldt, and many other paths. .
More important and more varied have been the problems of our trafficking. The direct exchange of our own products for those of other countries has in itself occasioned
Commerce little controversy with other nations, and has been steady and increasing; but whether these exchanges should be carried in our own vessels or in those of other countries has always been a matter of concern and difficulty. Mainly a question of diplomacy in the beginning, it has become more and more one of economic conditions and internal policy. In the matter of opening up the colonies of other nations to our ships and exports, however, diplomacy has found no respite; the situation in the foreign spheres of influence in China to-day is as knotty as was that of West