Foreign policies are created by two branches of government the executive (president) and Legislative (Congress). Enacted foreign policies focus on diminishing tension between two or more nations while empowering each owns military. Foreign policies include diplomacy, military, and security policy, international human rights policies, economic policies, and environmental policy. Each president, Washington, Lincoln, Truman, and Eisenhower have passed foreign policies which have impacted the United States in different ways. Throughout history, it is each president’s role is to sign treaties with other countries, appoint ambassadors, and serves as commander and chief. America’s foreign policies seek to create prosperity while working toward an idealistic goal of making the world a better place.
As the earth’ population grows, more and more nations divide; making foreign policies progressively more complex. Consider how America’s first couple presidents wanted to take a more isolationist approach and the newer president have a more involved approach to its foreign policies. Through this paper, we will discuss each above presidents and how their foreign policies affected the actions of the United States military. Although certain foreign policies are not deemed correct at that time, we can see that through history it was most likely the best course of action. You can see that there are many differences between the Isolationist presidents and involvement/containment presidents’ foreign policies.
George Washington was the first president of the United States (1789-1797) and took a more isolationist approach to America’s young foreign policies. Before his presidency in June of 1775, Washington became the commander of colonial forces in America’s war of Independence. During this war, Washington persuaded the French to agree to an alliance with America against the British. One of his first foreign policies. The assistance of the French military and naval forces turned the tide of the war in America’s favor.
For that and other reasons many saw Washington as a good diplomatic negotiator and in 1789 Washington was elected president of the United States serving two terms. Then, in April of 1793 president Washington and his cabinet agreed that a proclamation of neutrality should be invoked prohibiting U.S. citizens to take any actions between two foreign powers. He maintained America’s neutrality when war broke out between Britain and France also in 1793. Showing how President George Washington wanted to stay out of other nation’s issues.
George Washington urged the U.S. to avoid foreign entanglements because our nation was still forming. Washington wanted to give our country time, to grow and focus on domestic issues before we start dealing with other nations. He knew that if he pushed too hard for foreign policies, such as the treaty of Paris and Jay’s treaty, that the British government would most likely retaliate against the United States. At this time, he knew that America could not engage in another war, therefore, he had to think about how the foreign policy would affect the people. The Jays Treaty negotiated by John Jay allowed Americans to expand westward through the foreign policy stating that the British would remove all their forts from U.S. soil if the U.S. paid all pre-revolution debts.
Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States (1861-1865) and took many of the same approaches to foreign policies that President Washington did. During his presidency, there were many issues, particularly the issue of slavery which in some ways could have caused the Civil War. Within two years of the Civil War, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The emancipation proclamation was passed by Congress then signed by Abraham Lincoln in the fall of 1862 taking effect on January 1st, 1863. The emancipation proclamation was a military necessity during the Civil War, not necessarily a specific foreign policy.
It allowed black men to join the Northern Army and ultimately resulted in the slaves of the south joining the fight for freedom. (Hubbell 1980). The southern states wanted to keep their slaves and the north did not. As so, the southern states fought hard to be seen as an independent sovereign nation and wanted to build foreign ties to other nations such as Great Britain or France. Which led President Lincoln to put a naval blockade in all southern ports to stop the southerners from trading with other countries.
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd president of America from 1945-1953. As a religious man, President Truman believed that the world was full of liars and hypocrites. In Proclaiming the Truman Doctrine by Dr. Denise M. Bostdorff, she addresses President Truman’s fear of the spread of communist governments to other nations. One issue President Truman faced was the issue of 1947, nations of Greece’s and Turkeys conflict with Russia. Fearing that if America did not support the two nations there would be a lack of resistance to the communist spread, therefore, there was only one course of action. These expanding issues in Greece and Turkey gave rise to the Truman Doctrine which resulted in a more involvement in America. The doctrine stated that the United States should give support to countries and people threatened by Soviet forces or communist insurrection. (Miscamble 1994).
President Harry S. Truman believed in internationalism approach to America’s foreign policy and thought the United States was superior to other nations. Truman used fear as an indicator of what type of foreign policies he supported. The more fear the more support of foreign policies he would get from Congress and the people. In one instance, during his talks with the Russians, he thought that the atomic bomb would make manageable negations. Another, example of President Truman’s fear mongering foreign policies are when he used the Cold War tensions to gain support for his policies. Lastly, President Truman wrote in his foreign policy (Pauley’s Policy), “…and the United State would never again pay reparations, feed the world, and get nothing for it… ” Therefore, each policy had to have an advantage to our country.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th president of the United States (1953- 1961,). In Jan 1961, President Eisenhower was another president that purposed and enacted a foreign policy that would stop the spread of communism. Therefore, the Eisenhower Doctrine of 1957 was born. This doctrine stated the United States would provide aid to other foreign countries not simply to build up economic benefits for various corporations but to improve their economy. Eisenhower believed in a nonviolent solution which leads to him not wanting to use Americans armed forces in foreign conflicts.
That is why when Britain, France, and Israel planned to attack Egypt to overthrow the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser he used other economic and political means to compel the other foreign countries to stop. In 1957, before the doctrine was approved President Eisenhower requested that Congress dispense $200 million for economic and military aid and to dispatch troops other foreign countries requiring assistance against communism. He thought that the appearance of American troops in those countries alone would act as a deterrent and reduce the chances of war.
Many of the foreign like Libya, Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran were endorsing the doctrine even before Congress approved the bill. The world view of President Eisenhower was a man of peace and economic growth. Due to the previous world wars and other inter-country wars and trying to end the Korean War, he was reluctant to take actions that would cause further conflicts either foreign or domestic. According to Richard Saunders, President Eisenhower had an internationalist world view in which cause him to place crises and confrontations on a global scale.
Although most of these concerns affected the way that the president enacted his foreign policies they provided him the resiliency to enact diplomacy over confrontation This can be seen in the way Eisenhower handles the Indochina crisis in 1954, he would only get involved by formal request of the French and local governments involved. Also, he would not send troops unless the other nations sent their own troops too.
In conclusion, Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Truman, and Eisenhower enacted foreign policies that either having a large effect on the military presence or none at all. Washington’s foreign alliance with the French successfully gave America’s Army the upper hand in winning or independence free Britain.
While his proclamation of neutrality insured that the Army could stay at how while our nation grew. In the case of Lincoln, his Emancipation Proclamation proved the Northern Armies more soldiers to defend against the southern states. President Truman, Truman Doctrine required a more involved approach to the United States troops, mainly as a show of force other nations.