The American president (Woodrow Wilson) believed that the USA should take a leading role in World affairs in order to try and keep the peace. However, the popular view in America seemed to be that the USA should stay out of the affairs of other countries and become ISOLATED (on its own).
BUT WHY WAS THIS?
USA wants to become Isolated from other Countries: BUT WHY? Americans did not want more dead soldiers from wars thousands of miles away Afraid of the massive cost of wars in the future “ It would be better for us if we stayed out of the problems of other countries.”
Fordney-McCumber Tariff Reduce Immigration (Reduce no. of people moving to USA) This tariff was a tax that was placed on foreign goods. This made them more expensive and made American products more attractive to the customer. This policy worked well and helped to create the ‘boom’ of the 1920s. However, foreign governments retaliated by putting taxes on American goods. The USA had now isolated itself economically. There was an increasing fear of foreign people after WW1. This was due to the war, but mainly the fear that they would take American jobs (because they accepted lower wages.) Also, many feared their new political ideas (especially communism) The US government passed laws that were specifically designed to reduce immigration numbers from poorer countries.
How did the USA try to reduce immigration? People had to take a literacy test where they had to read a passage of English. This helped English speakers, but other people could not afford English lessons. Those who failed were not allowed in. The Immigration Quota Act 1921 “Only 357,000 people are allowed in every year” “Only 3% of the existing number of people who live here in the USA will be allowed in!” “This means that because there is already much more Irish people than Asian, the 3% quota will allow much more Irish in than Asian!”
RESULT The USA became isolated from other countries both economically (trade) and politically (by staying out of the affairs of other countries.) Immigration levels were reduced as the USA began to fear ‘foreigners’ (threat to jobs and general distrust). Their policies were designed to keep out Africans, Asians and South Americans whilst continuing to allow in White Europeans. The aim of isolationism ultimately damaged World peace as the USA failed to join the League of Nations. Many now saw the League as a ‘Talking shop with no Teeth’.