Aspects of expansionism in United States foreign policy during the Grant administration.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
U.S. Grant is usually ranked among the three or four worst Presidents of the United States. For most people this fact seems to be sufficient proof that nothing worthwhile emerged from the eight years of his administration. I must admit that I shared this general indifference when first allotted this topic; though I knew something of the settlement of the “Alabama” claims dispute in the Treaty of Washington, I was not aware that President Grant had a distinctive foreign policy. But the Grant era has proved to be a fascinating period in American diplomatic history and it surprises me that it has not received more attention.
I was frequently faced with a shortage of secondary materials that was particularly frustrating in view of the inadequacies of the primary materials available to me. Nevertheless, it was possible to gain some insight into this period.
General diplomatic histories usually pass over the years 1865 to 1898, as a kind of flat spot between the surge of expansionist feeling glorified as Manifest Destiny, and America's brief venture into imperialism. In fact, this was a transitional period in which a very different social and economic order spelled the end of one kind of expansionism and prepared the way for another. One can see elements of both types at work in the particular cases that the Grant Administration had to deal with.