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AMERICAN IDEALS OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Because of the many contributions made by America to the world's ideals of government, the nation has the feeling that it is quite adequate to work out its own principles on all other subjects without the aid of any other people. "What have we to do with abroad?" said a United States senator from Ohio, only thirty years ago; and the word "un-American" covers a multitude of virtues. In fact the roots of American institutions of all kinds, social, economic, and political, are in the traditions of the English race; and American ideals have been modified by the experience of other European nations. Nor has the western hemisphere been separated from the great current of world affairs. Its destinies have been closely interwoven with those of Europe; and since 1895 the United States has awakened to the fact that it not only is a part of the sisterhood of nations, but is destined to be one of the half dozen states which will powerfully influence the future of all the continents. The world is no longer round about America; America is part of the world.
The great disturbing element in modern history is the opening up of an unknown continent to European civilization. The conventional subdivisions of Europe were disturbed, the old-fashioned balance of powers was broken up, when Spain, chiefly through the wealth derived from America in the sixteenth century, rose to be the first military, naval, commercial, and territorial power in Europe; then the Protestant Reformation set England off as the enemy of France and Spain. That America was rich seemed to Drake a reason for plundering it; that his colonies were plundered led Philip II. to fit out the Invincible Armada of 1588; that the Armada was defeated. caused Spain in 1604 to yield a peace in which the English would make no pledge against colonization in America; the peace of 1604 opened the way for the English to plant Virginia in 1607; that Virginia was planted was a new reason for hostility between the two naval and colonizing powers. From that time Spain, Holland, France, and England were rivals, not only in European wars and in
contests for the carrying trade, but in seizing America. Their trading companies quarreled and fought each other for the possession of harbors like New York, and fur preserves like Hudson Bay. The little colonies sent embassies and naval expeditions upon each other; and more than once rivalries in the colonies led to wars in Europe.
During the seventeenth century the natural enemy of the English colonist was the Spaniard. Though from the treaty of peace of 1604 to the opening of the era of general wars in 1689 the two countries were for the most part nominally friends, the diplomacy of England and of the colonists alike was devoted to justifying by dispatches or by double-shotted guns the successive takings of territory claimed by Spain. First Virginia, in 1607; then various West India Islands, culminating with the conquest of Jamaica in 1655; then the Carolinas in 1664; then, by the treaty of Madrid in 1670, after a century of denial Spain was compelled to admit that there might be such a thing as a lawful English colony in America. With Holland the traditional friendship between two neighboring Protestant powers was broken in 1651, when England began to move against the Dutch commerce; and four naval wars followed within twenty years, in the course of which the Dutch lost New Netherland, which was their footing in the American continent. The French were strongly seated on the Saint Lawrence, and notwithstanding two wars, held their own both there and in Nova Scotia.
From 1689 to 1763, in four great wars crowned by the treaties of Ryswick in 1697, of Utrecht in 1713, of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, and of Paris in 1763, England became undisputed master of the whole of North America east of the Mississippi and the Isle d'Orleans, together with Hudson Bay. In these wars and negotiations the original issue was the determination of England, at first allied with Holland, to prevent a combination of French and Spanish power in Europe and also in the new world. England was fighting for liberty of trade in the Caribbean, and also for new territory within which to plant colonies which should not have liberty of trade with other countries. The English were looking forward to a future when eastern North America should be a populous part of a powerful empire; and in the process developed the principle that the power that has control of the seas can pick up the enemy's col
onies and destroy his commerce at pleasure, the principle to which a modern writer has given the name of Sea Power.
Although the colonists went obediently to war whenever they were officially informed that the Temple of Janus was open in Europe, and accepted such terms of peace as were agreed on by Europeon cabinets, they began to see that they had a share in their own international destiny. They took part in the wars by land operations usually under the command of an English general, by separate expeditions on their own responsibility, or in combination with British naval forces: they took Quebec in 1629, Port Royal in 1690, aided in the humiliating failure at Cartagena in 1740, captured Louisburg in 1745, and helped to take it again in 1758. Their privateers shared in the delightful risks of commerce destroyers in all the wars. They had a confused sense that, while from one point of view they were a part of the British empire, from another standpoint they were allies of the mother country.
Thus prepared by a century and a half of relations with other countries, the revolting colonies in 1775 easily took up the task of a nation; and no part of the triumph of the Revolution is more striking than the quick acceptance of the United States of America as one of the sisterhood of nations. France, Holland, and Spain all had old grudges, which were gratified by welcoming this separated scion of the English stock. Spain alone realized that the United States was the first independent power that had ever been established in America, and that its success spelled the eventual breaking down of the ideal of European colonies. Not even Spain understood that independent America meant eventually a disturbance of the world's balance of power.
In foreign relations the process of nation-making went on smoothly. At first a secret committee of congress was corresponding through unofficial agents with continental powers; in a few weeks the Continental Congress was commissioning ministers and giving them instructions; in a few months, through the skill of Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay, the three most successful diplomats of that period, the United States of America were proposing treaties to His Most Christian Majesty of France, and to their High Mightinesses the States General of Holland. For the first time,
America came into friendly relations with other than Englishspeaking people, and the French treaty of 1778 was not simply the means of obtaining aid, without which the revolution would have failed; it included the untaxed admission of French goods, French officers, and French political ideas into America. In 1780 the United States even entered into the Armed Neutrality, in which the other members were Holland, Russia, and the northern powers. Within the next five years commercial treaties were negotiated with Holland, Prussia, and Sweden.
Still greater was the triumph of the treaty of peace, in 1782, which was in essence a partition of sovereignty in America between Great Britain, Spain, and the United States. For the moment, the British saw the necessity for conciliating the daughter country, acquiesced in ample boundaries, and seemed likely to make such concessions of trade as would keep the United States a special British market. Then came the first of several critical errors by Great Britain. Observing that the French trade had already dropped off, and believing that the states would not and could not form a close union, the desired treaty was denied; and on both sides exasperating questions, of small moment in themselves, were allowed to accumulate.
The practical lessons of the Revolution, as to external affairs, were first of all that the new republic, however little experienced in international relations, had diplomats who could make the most of every advantage. John Adams, emerging from his law office, was as vigorous and almost as successful as Franklin, the cosmopolite statesman.
The second ideal was that the United States was to be a sort of makeweight between France and England, thus helping to break up the European balance of powers, which then consisted of England, France, Prussia, and Austria. The commercial ideal of the time was that of a country without manufactures and exporting raw products, which desired free trade outward, and was willing to admit foreign commerce on equal terms with its own. It was therefore a keen disappointment when England treated the United States not only as politically but as commercially independent, by withdrawing the favorable status which the colonies had enjoyed in their trade with each other. For forty years to come the West India trade was not
open to American bottoms. The consequence was an American theory, not at first shared by any other nation, that colonial systems and monopolies of colonial commerce were in their nature unjust and unfriendly to other powers.
All these crude and not altogether harmonious ideals were tested, or rather deflected, by the quarter century of European wars following the French Revolution of 1789. Though recognized as a sister nation, the United States was only a little sister, destined to ask for many things not thought by her elders to be good for her. Lacking a navy, American diplomacy could be backed up by force only when directed against Canada or the Spanish possessions; and in the Napoleonic wars the great contestants both looked upon the United States as an international factor only because of her vexatious neutral trade. Under these circumstances it was partly luck, but still more the farsight of her statesmen, which for the ten years from 1793 to 1803 made American diplomacy undeniably successful. The effort of the French minister, Genet, to stampede the Americans away from their President was a failure. A threat of war brought England to concede the Jay treaty of 1794, of which the negotiator might have said "a poor thing, but mine own." It had the unquestionable merit of preventing war and securing a part of the desires of the Americans. The Spanish treaty of 1795 cleared the southwestern boundary. After committing the blunder, so much worse than a crime, of trying to bribe the American negotiators in the X. Y. Z. affair, the French government in 1800 ended a naval war by a favorable peace. In 1803, after a brief renewal of Louis Fourteenth's dream of a combined French and Spanish colonial empire, Napoleon turned over the lower Mississippi and the immense Louisiana territory to what thus became the leading power in America.
Then came twelve years of humiliation, in which the Jay treaty was allowed to expire and could not be renewed. In the renewal of the death grapple between " the elephant and the whale," the French army and the English navy, the rights of American neutral commerce were ignored. Established principles of international law were set aside, and fifteen hundred American merchantmen were made prize to one or the other of the belligerents by a series of iniquitous orders in council and decrees. American sailors were seized