Sclesinger Paper

Submitted By AddisonCartwright9
Words: 606
Pages: 3

Foreign Policy & the American Character

1. In Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s Foreign Police and the American Character, Schlesinger writes, “American conceptions of foreign policy respond to the old argument between experiment and destiny.” Schlesinger is pointing out the conflict between what began with our Founding Fathers’ experimental views of foreign policy and their successors’ approach to foreign policy by the idea of destiny. The experimental belief was there should be a balance of world power, equilibrium among all nations, and that this balance needed to be preserved now and throughout time; although there would be disruptions in this balance there would be a continual effort to restore this equilibrium. If America were to redeem the world it would be by perfecting it’s own institutions and lead by example, not by moving into other countries and imposing its own will. Since such time, America’s foreign policy has evolved into believing it is our destiny to “police” the world. Woodrow Wilson says, “We have come to redeem the world by giving it liberty and justice,” making it seem as if it is our destiny to be involved in foreign affairs and keep the world on track. With this ideological view on foreign policy, we have the perspective that the United States is the happy empire of perfect wisdom and virtue, destined to save humanity. 2. This quote by Schlesinger is basically explaining where the idea of destiny was created in America. Religion reigned above all when America was first founded. America was brought up on the idea that it was their job to spread their Calvinist views throughout the world to save those who were not Calvinist, proclaiming America the redeemer nation. Calvin was a religious leader who believed that everything was predestined in life and that if you did not believe in God you simply did not belong in this world and often waged a holy war against godless communities. This type of mentality has been passed down throughout generations and is still around today. People who still have these Calvinist views often look down on the more laid back religious groups. Calvinist beliefs have influenced America to believe it is still the city on the hill country that needs to be involved throughout the world, pushing our values and beliefs