Classic History Books


The Path of Empire. A Chronicle of the United States as a World Power
by Carl Russell Fish

Many of the publicists of these three powers, however, doubted their capacity to walk entirely alone. On
the one hand they noted the growing influence of the Germans in Brazil and the indications of Japanese

interest in many places, and on the other they divined the fundamental sincerity of the professions of the

United States and were anxious to cooperate with this nation. Not strong enough to control the policy of

the various countries, these men at least countered those chauvinists who urged that hostility to the

United States was a first duty compared with which the danger of non-American interference might be

neglected.

Confronted by this divided attitude, the United States sought to win over but not to compel. Nothing
more completely met American views than that each power should maintain for itself the principles of

the Monroe Doctrine by excluding foreign influences. Beyond that the United States sought only

friendship, and, if it were agreeable, such unity as should be mutually advantageous. In 1906 Elihu Root,

the Secretary of State, made a tour of South America with a view of expressing these sentiments; and in

1913-1914 ex-President Roosevelt took occasion, on the way to his Brazilian hunting trip, to assure the

people of the great South American powers that the "Big Stick" was not intended to intimidate them.

Pan-American unity was still, when President Taft went out of office in 1913, an aspiration rather than a

realized fact, though the tangible evidences of unity had vastly multiplied since 1898, and the recurring

congresses provided a basis of organization upon which some substantial structure might be built.

The United States had sincerely hoped that Mexico, like the "A.B.C." powers, was another Latin
American power which had found itself. Of all it was certainly the most friendly and the most intimate.

The closeness of its relations with the United States is indicated by the fact that in the forty years

between 1868 and 1908, forty agreements, treaties, and conventions had been concluded between the two

countries. Nor was intimacy confined to the Governments. The peace arranged by President Diaz had

brought foreign capital by the billion to aid the internal development of the country, and of this money

more had come from the United States than from any other nation. Nor was it financial aid alone which

had gone across the border. There was but little American colonization, it is true, but business managers,

engineers, mine foremen, and ranch superintendents formed thousands of links binding the nations

together. The climax of intimacy seemed reached when, in 1910, a general treaty of arbitration was made

after President Taft and President Diaz had met at El Paso on the Mexican border in a personal

conference. A personal interview between the President of the United States and the chief of a foreign

state was almost unique in American history, owing to the convention that the President should not

depart from the national territory.

It was, therefore, with a bitter sense of disappointment that Americans heard of the revolution
inaugurated in 1910 by Francisco Madero. In common with France, Spain, Great Britain, and Germany,

the United States was disturbed for the safety of the investments and persons of its citizens. The

Government was also concerned because the points of first and most persistent fighting were where the

various railroads crossed the American boundary. This circumstance brought the whole border within the

range of disturbance. The Government was apprehensive, too, as to the effect of long-continued war

upon territories within the circle of its chief interest, the Caribbean area. Yet, when the first surprise

caused by the revolution had passed and the reason for the outbreak was perceived, - the fact that the

order and apparent prosperity of the Diaz regime had been founded upon the oppression and exploitation

of the masses, - public sympathy in the United States went out to Madero and his supporters.

The Diaz Government collapsed with surprising suddenness. The resignation of President Diaz in May,
1911, was accepted as a proof of the popular character and the success of the revolution, and Madero,

 

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