American History Part 2

Northern America


The American participation in the intervention of the powers against the revolt of the Boxers (1900) was in fact accompanied by the reaffirmation of the doctrine of the “open door”. To oppose this policy was first of all Japan, which had been at the time (1853-54) forced to “open” by the “black ships” of Commodore M. Perry; even if, with agreements of 1905 and 1907, the respective spheres of influence were delimited, the germ of a conflict arose that would have resulted in the Second World War. The intervention in the Far East made the opening of a channel from the Atlantic to the Pacific through Central America more urgent; and the United States, with an opportune revolution in Panama, which broke away from Colombia and proclaimed itself independent, in 1903 obtained the territory and the title to build the canal, which was inaugurated in 1915. It was then President T. Roosevelt (1901-09), who prided himself on being the architect of the Panamá enterprise; he pursued an intervention policy in Latin America (the big stick policy), continued by his successors also by sending troops to some republics, minor and major (Mexico). On the internal level too, Roosevelt, a republican and therefore an advocate of federal power, carried out a policy of intervention, to better support and at the same time control the overwhelming development process of the United States. United States is a country located in North America according to INTERNETSAILORS.COM.

These, in 1900, already had over 75 million inhabitants, a growth due, in addition to the natural demographic increase, to the incessant influx, by the millions, of immigrants from Europe, above all, since 1880, from the poorest areas and backward, Eastern and Southern Europe. America based on Anglo-Saxon and Protestant now mixed with Latins, Slavs and Jews, Catholics and Orthodox, who nevertheless managed to assimilate. Also due to the influx of these emigrants into large cities, the problems deriving from the economic-social transformation that had by now made the United States a country with an urban and industrial dominance worsened: from the inhuman exploitation of labor to the concentration of economic power to political corruption to unfair taxation, just to indicate some of the main aspects. To combat all these evils arose, in the last decade of the century. XIX, the “progressive movement”, urban-based like the “populist movement” was rural-based: with vigorous campaigns it obtained many and important reformist laws, especially during Roosevelt’s presidency. The latter, upon leaving office, had indicated as successor his minister of war, W. Taft, who in fact was elected (1909-13), revealing himself however of a conservative orientation. Between the two rivals, Roosevelt and Taft (who was seeking re-election), the Democrat TW Wilson (1913-21), also a reformist, a man of inflexible principles, of great moral rigor, an idealist in short, but not for this reason won. less capable of political action.


Kennedy’s successor, LB Johnson (1963-69), while continuing to walk the path of detente, engaged the United States in an enterprise inherited, yes, from his predecessor, but developed by him to, to say the least, abnormal proportions: the attempt to forcibly suppress the Vietnamese struggle for their liberation. Johnson, who had also achieved more than good results internally, with social and civil rights legislation, was overwhelmed by the failure in Vietnam and ended up giving up running again as a candidate in the 1968 elections. Republican Richard Nixon won. (1969-74), conservative, ambitious, aimed at strengthening his personal power even by illicit means. He ended up overwhelmed by an incident in itself secondary (the so-called Watergate scandal), but risen to a moral question due to the way in which Nixon tried to evade his responsibilities. Nixon, the first US president forced to resign, was succeeded by GR Ford (1974-77), who healed the internal laceration, being able to exploit the excellent inheritance received from Nixon in foreign policy. The latter had by now initiated a solution to the Vietnamese problem (Paris agreements of January 1973) and carried out the “opening” to China, by going in person to Beijing (February 1972), thus inaugurating the “tripolarism” between Washington, Moscow and Beijing while maintaining the Soviet-American “bipolar”; and that line was followed by Ford. Under his presidency, in April 1975, the war in Vietnam ended with the victory of the liberation forces and the abandonment of the whole of Indochina by the Americans.

With the coming to power of the Democrat JE Carter (1977-81) an attempt was made to change US politics according to the idealistic and moral orientation of the new president. Economically, however, circumstances did not favor Carter. In 1977-78 the negative trend in the balance of payments had heavy repercussions on the American currency which weakened everywhere, but this did not have such negative consequences on the American economy as inflation was largely exported by reducing the reserves of creditor countries.. In foreign policy Carter fought for the defense of “human rights” both in communist countries and in right-wing dictatorships: the result was the abandonment of the Somoza regime in Nicaragua and the victory of the Sandinistas. Carter achieved great successes in foreign policy, at least in the first two years: the 1977 treaty with Panama by which the United States undertook to leave the Canal by 1999; the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with China in 1979; the Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt, which would lead to peace between these two countries in March 1979, and the signing, also in 1979, of the SALT II agreements with the USSR. Carter himself, however, suspended these agreements after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (December 1979), also imposing economic sanctions against the USSR. In November 1979, the staff of the American Embassy in Tehran were taken hostage by the followers of the Ayatollāh Khomeini and this episode (together with the failure of the rescue mission) weighed heavily on the presidential elections of November 1980.