American-Australian Relations

American-Australian Relations

American-Australian Relations

American-Australian Relations

Excerpt

The vanguard of America's penetration into the Pacific was the Far Eastern merchant and fisherman of New England. They appeared in China, Australia, India, the Sandwich Islands, and the Pacific South American states immediately after independence was achieved. But much time passed before Pacific countries felt the full impact of American power. The expansive forces of the industrial age which drove Europeans to look overseas for raw materials, markets, and adventures turned the attention of Americans toward the vast emptiness of their own continent. The mentality of imperialism was present in America as much as it was in Europe; the difference was that in America it could express itself within national borders. Only the groups whose livelihood depended on the oceans sensed the importance of the Pacific. Thanks to their persistence, enterprise, and pressure upon the government, Congress and the Navy began to consider America's position in the Pacific.

An expedition in 1812 was frustrated only by the war with England, and was eventually sent in 1835. American consuls were appointed to nurse growing commerce; in 1822 to Hawaii, in 1834 to Tahiti, in 1845 to Samoa, in addition to those sent to China and Australia. President Tyler in December 1842 and President Taylor in December 1849 referred in general terms to American interests in the Pacific. American missionaries could be found in many Pacific islands, and they tried their best to arouse public interest in their work. But still the little interest the American public saved for external affairs was directed mostly toward the Atlantic and countries beyond. Then the gold rush and the growing population in California turned the attention and imagination of the American people in a different direction. A number of events occurred, in part a consequence of the gold rush, in part sim-

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