Discuss America’s experience in becoming a world military power during World War I (WWI).

HIS 1302, American History II 1
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit III

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

5. Contrast varied perspectives concerning America’s presence in the world.

5.1 Discuss America’s experience in becoming a world military power during World War I (WWI).

5.2 Describe reactions to America’s impact on the world stage during the WWI era.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Activity


Unit Lesson

Chapter 22: Age of Empire: American Foreign Policy, 18901914 (5 sections)

Chapter 23: Americans and the Great War, 19141919 (5 sections)

Unit III Essay


Unit Lesson

Chapter 22: Age of Empire: American Foreign Policy, 18901914 (5 sections)

Chapter 23: Americans and the Great War, 19141919 (5 sections)

Unit III Essay

Required Unit Resources

In order to access the following resource, click the link below.

Throughout this course, you will be provided with sections of text from the online resource
U.S. History. You
may be tested on your knowledge and understanding of the material listed below as well as the information
presented in the unit lesson. This unit’s chapter titles and sections are provided below:

Chapter 22: Age of Empire: American Foreign Policy, 18901914, Sections 22.1, 22.2, 22.3, 22.4, and 22.5

Chapter 23: Americans and the Great War, 19141919, Sections 23.1, 23.2, 23.3, 23.4, and 23.5

Unit Lesson

We ended the previous unit with the ascent of Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency following the death of
William McKinley. The turn of the century would prove to be a period of great change for the United States,
and it began with a largerthanlife figure in the Oval Office.

Roosevelt was viewed as a warrior, sportsman, cowboy, activist, reformer, and politician. He led the American
people with a confidence and charisma that inspired feelings of American infallibility and arrogance.
Politically, his influence is perhaps best known for trustbusting, or enforcing regulations on the monopolies
that had overtaken the railroads, oil, and other economic entities, which used laissezfaire tactics to widen the
economic gap. Roosevelt also believed in holding these corruptive influences publicly liable, which would
become synonymous with his role in supporting muckrakersand arguably being one. He was first a man of
the citizens, hoping to build relationships rather than enemies, and he even served as a mediator of labor
disputes such as with the United Mine Workers (UMW). He did not seek to punish the successful but simply to
ensure that the system was fair for all.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the contiguous U.S. map, with the exception of a few southwestern
territories, closely resembled that of modern Americaat least politically. The treatment of Hawaii and
Alaska, as protected U.S. territories at the time, along with Roosevelt’s arrogance, led to questions about
America’s imperial potential. The same “big stick” that Roosevelt had used to bust corrupt corporations w ould


The Great War

HIS 1302, American History II 2

also sometimes reach beyond U.S. boundaries. He would be directly influential in U.S. actions in Cuba and
Panama. As a Navy man, he was an advocate of international ambition. The idea of the United States as a
“world police” agency would be made law with his Roosevelt Corollary, which was an amendment to the
Monroe Doctrine that spelled out the United States’ role as an international police power in the Western

The threat of a developing American empire
became very apparent under Roosevelt’s watch.
Though his terms would not include U.S. military
conflicts, it is arguably fair to consider his time as
executive similar to that of wartime presidents. His
impact in foreign affairs would change U.S.
positioning in the world and set the stage for leading
the Western Hemisphere in case of world conflict.

Fluctuations in Unity

Roosevelt would serve the remainder of McKinley’s
term and earn reelection the following term. He was
so popular as president that even his chosen
successor, William Howard Taft, would fail to keep
the nation, or the Republican Party, united. Taft was
not the charismatic presence Roosevelt had been,
and he also proved susceptible to swaying from
Congress and allowed the courts to return to social politics. In a few short years, almost all of Roosevelt’s
good will with the American people was undone by rivals from both within and outside of the party. Anti
American sentiment was even fostered abroad due to unsupported economic plans.

In 1912, one of the more fascinating political battles in American history occurred. A third political party, the
Bull Moose Party, came out of nowhere to attack the Taft Administration. Led by former President Teddy
Roosevelt, this political family feud would ultimately seal the victory for Democrat Woodrow Wilson to take
office in 1913. Wilson, however, needed more than a civil conflict to guarantee victory. With the failures of
Taft, progressivism once again gained steam, and Socialist Eugene Debs was again a legitimate national
contender for office. Though four names were on the ballot, Wilson was the clear victor. The nation was the
most politically divided it had been since Lincoln was in office, but Wilson had support throughout the nation
and helped to unite the nation after what had been a disaster for Republican supporters (Corbett et al., 2014).

Cartoon of Teddy Roosevelt and the big stick
, symbolic
of his statement

(Rogers, 1904)