Roosevelt’s, Taft’s, Wilson’s Foreign Policies and Freedom

President Wilson is identified as a promoter of human rights through the US policy decisions. He integrated language of freedom, democracy promotion and the rights of man into hegemonic rule one.1 The integration of the rules was used to explain the American foreign policy and its identity (hegemonic rule three and two respectively). Wilson further advanced the right of man in accounting for his reasons for the US involvement in the First World War. When the US was just about to enter into the War, President Wilson told the public of how inhumane the German troops were in sinking neutral merchants and passenger ships. According to him, this involvement of the US into the war was for the rights of humankind.2

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Wilson’s second rule stated that human rights are promoted in foreign policies, not of liking but in the realisation of the US identity.3 Wilson, thus, designated the US as a responsible spokesperson of human rights. In his third rule, he presented that his objective of advancing human rights was to compliment his foreign policy goals of promoting democracy and the extension of freedom in foreign countries. He stated in his speech while addressing the congress that the US involvement in the First World War4 was justifying the principles of justice, peace and human rights in order to safeguard the world with democracy.5

President Roosevelt also believed in freedom of all humankind. He defined four significant human freedoms in his 1941 State of the Union speech. These freedoms include freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom of speech and freedom of fear.6 In his speech, Roosevelt extended Wilson’s foreign policy by supporting countries that fight the right course in ensuring that the four essential human freedoms are never denied. Consequently, he would support the British Army at the initial days of World War II. Britain involvement in the war was seen as an act of defending democracy,7 an idea that had been integrated with freedom and foreign policy.

He tirelessly fought for the passage of Lend-Lease bill that would give him powers to finance the British course of action.8 When both the Houses passed the bill, Roosevelt sent a strong warning to foreign governments that the country that would interfere with any of the four essential human freedoms would be fought ruthlessly. Roosevelt further promised to repair the British vessels within the US shipyards.9 The British government on its part was to endorse freedom to its citizens to determine the form of government they wanted. Roosevelt was thus using his foreign policy to influence countries in the provision of a conducive environment for the advancing of the four essential human freedoms.10

In his view on the denial of freedom of religion by the Nazi and the Soviet governments, Roosevelt made concerted endeavours in assisting USSR in its fight against the Nazi government. He would influence the Moscow policy on religion in an exchange for military aid. This was in spite of the Soviet Union being the architecture of Communism, an ideology that no American would want to hear. Roosevelt insisted on Stalin to implement the Soviet Republics’ constitutional obligation on freedom of religion without fear or favour.11 He went ahead and persuaded the American Catholics on the similarity of the Soviet Union’s Constitution in addressing the freedom of religion. In this way, Roosevelt’s foreign policy was not to isolate the Soviet Union for being Communist but to aid it in its fight against the Nazi who was a greater threat to religion and humanity. The move also assisted in advancing freedom of religion within the Soviet Union territories.

Roosevelt critically portrayed the Soviet Union government’s policy on religion in a glowing term to defuse the opposition on the US assistance to Moscow.12 He creatively used his tactics to influence Moscow to allow its citizens to enjoy the freedom of religion. In this manner, Roosevelt’s action indicated that the US would support countries that were fighting nations seen as threats to the freedom of religion.

Just like Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt, Taft13 supported the US involvement in advancing freedom throughout the world. He also supported the US foreign policy on providing military or financial aid to any free nation to defend themselves from any communists. Taft believed that persons of all walks of lives should be allowed to think and carry their own ideas. He indicated the significance of self-governance in the realisation of both freedom of press and freedom of religion. According to Taft, the happiness of people is obtained through a free liberal system of their choosing.14 He stated that the effects of freedom on any nation are prosperity and happiness among its citizens.15

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He, therefore, supported the US to use whatever means, be it military or financial aid, to ensure that the whole world becomes free. He would support any motion against the Soviet Communism, which had captivated Eastern Europe. Taft16 convinced the government, the Congress and America as a whole to support oppressed nations, which believed in freedom of their people.17 In fact, this was the major reason for his support for the formation of the Israeli nation. Taft’s earnest belief in freedom and the American foreign policy is visible in his strong opposition against Jordan and Egypt, the two countries that attempted to deny Israelis from enjoying their freedom. He believed that the provision of a Jewish national home would relieve them from persecution.18

On the realisation that the US responsibility in advancing human rights was damaged by the previous administration, President Obama sought to restore the world’s trust in the application of its foreign policy, democracy and freedom. This does not mean that the current US government undermines the freedom agenda.19 It is only recognition by the government that the radical application of freedom agenda had damaged and illegalised the US reputation on its fight for freedom. Obama’s approach downplays the radical side by allowing the conservative side to advance.20 The president’s approach is not surprising, as he had indicated as a senator a clear dedication of the agenda of freedom. As a senator, Obama had co–sponsored an American Democracy Agenda (ADA), which had originally asserted, “it is the basic US foreign policy in promoting democracy and freedom in foreign countries.”21 The ratified version, however, asserts that the US would promote democracy “along with other key foreign policy goals.”22

Bibliography

Foner, Eric. Give me Liberty!: An American History. New York: W W Norton & Company Incorporated, 2011.

Foner, Eric. Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History. New York: W W Norton & Company Incorporated, 2010.

Hancock, Jan. Human Rights and US Foreign Policy. Oxon: Routledge, 2007.

Hassan, Oz. Constructing America’s Freedom Agenda for the Middle East: Democracy and Domination. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Taft, Robert. The Papers of Robert A. Taft: 1949-1953. Burton: Kent State University Press, 2006.

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Footnotes

  1. Eric Foner. Give me Liberty!: An American History (New York: W W Norton & Company Incorporated, 2011), 17.
  2. Ibid., 18.
  3. Jan Hancock. Human Rights and US Foreign Policy (Oxon: Routledge, 2007), 37.
  4. Eric Foner, Give me Liberty, 18.
  5. Ibid., 19.
  6. Eric Foner. Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History (New York: W W Norton & Company Incorporated, 2010), 22.
  7. Ibid., 22.
  8. Foner, Give me Liberty!: An American History (New York: W W Norton & Company Incorporated, 2011), 17.
  9. Ibid., 22.
  10. Eric Foner, Give me Liberty!: An American History (New York: W W Norton & Company Incorporated, 2011), 23.
  11. Eric Foner, Voices of Freedom, 27.
  12. Ibid., 36.
  13. Robert Taft. The Papers of Robert A. Taft: 1949-1953 (Burton: Kent State University Press, 2006), 483.
  14. Ibid., 386.
  15. Eric Foner, Give me Liberty!: An American History (New York: W W Norton & Company Incorporated, 2011), 39.
  16. Robert Taft, The Papers of Robert A. Taft: 1949-1953 (Burton: Kent State University Press, 2006), 385.
  17. Ibid., 386.
  18. Robert Taft, The Papers of Robert A. Taft: 1949-1953 (Burton: Kent State University Press, 2006), 481.
  19. Oz Hassan. Constructing America’s Freedom Agenda for the Middle East Democracy and Domination (New York: Routledge, 2012), 159.
  20. Ibid, 158.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Oz Hassan. Constructing America’s Freedom Agenda for the Middle East Democracy and Domination (New York: Routledge, 2012), 159.
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StudyCorgi. (2020, November 2). Roosevelt's, Taft's, Wilson's Foreign Policies and Freedom. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/roosevelts-tafts-wilsons-foreign-policies-and-freedom/

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StudyCorgi. "Roosevelt's, Taft's, Wilson's Foreign Policies and Freedom." November 2, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/roosevelts-tafts-wilsons-foreign-policies-and-freedom/.

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "Roosevelt's, Taft's, Wilson's Foreign Policies and Freedom." November 2, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/roosevelts-tafts-wilsons-foreign-policies-and-freedom/.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Roosevelt's, Taft's, Wilson's Foreign Policies and Freedom'. 2 November.

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