U.S. Department of State: A Reference History

By Elmer Plischke | Go to book overview

5
The Road to Becoming a Great World Power -- Amplification, Innovation, and Renovation, 1861-1913

Many changes, both internal and external, in the development of the United States and its government affected the management of its foreign affairs, the evolvement of its foreign policy, and the functioning of the Department of State. Fourteen new States were added to the Federal Union, 1 bringing the total to forty-eight, which encompassed the entire contiguous continental territory of the Union. The population of the country nearly tripled, increasing from 31.4 million in 1860 to 92. 2 million in 1910 (including nearly 23 million immigrants admitted during these five decades), and by the time of World War I this population exceeded that of all of the European countries except Russia. New Federal Departments were created -- including Justice ( 1870), 2 Agriculture ( 1889), and Commerce and Labor ( 1903). 3

The United States fought two major wars -- the Civil War ( 1861-65) and the Spanish-American War ( 1898). Three Presidents -- Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, and William McKinley -- were assassinated, Andrew Johnson was impeached but not convicted, and an attempt was made to assassinate former President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. This country subscribed to the gold standard, was the leading manufacturing country in the world, experienced the Industrial Revolution, which affected American exports, suffered acute economic panics and depressions, 4 endured political controversy over high tariffs and enacted major tariff legislation, and launched Civil Service reform based on the merit system, beginning with the Pendleton Act in 1883.

Formal diplomatic relations, previously maintained with thirty-three governments, were extended to nineteen additional foreign countries. By the time of World War I, although temporarily discontinued with several of them, such as the Holy See and Korea, diplomatic representation applied to virtually all recognized, independent members of the family of nations.

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