H CS 16

Foreign Affairs from Imperialism to Post-World War I (1898-1930)

The industrial and territorial growth of the United States fostered expansion overseas. Greater involvement in the world set the stage for American participation in World War I and attempts to preserve post-war peace.

Content Statement

16. After WWI, the United States pursued efforts to maintain peace in the world. However, as a result of the national debate over the Versailles Treaty ratification and the League of Nations, the United States moved away from the role of world peacekeeper and limited its involvement in international affairs.

Content Elaborations

After WWI, the United States emerged as a world leader and pursued efforts to maintain peace in the world. President Wilson’s efforts partially helped shape the Treaty of Versailles, but debate over its terms and efforts to avoid foreign entanglements led to its defeat in the Senate and the United States’ decision not to join the League of Nations.

Desires to avoid another major war led to treaties addressing arms limitation and territorial expansion (Four-, Five- and Nine-Power Treaties). In 1928, the United States signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact to prohibit war as “an instrument of national policy.” In taking a leading role in these later treaties, the United States sought to limit its involvement in international affairs.

Expectations for Learning

Explain why and how the United States moved to a policy of isolationism following World War I.