CHAPTER XXIII. LATER INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

His fears soon proved to be well founded. In 1916 Villa crossed into New Mexico and raided the town of Columbus. With the consent of Carranza the United States sent troops under General Pershing across the line to run down the bandits, but the only result was to drive the Villistas from the region near the border. Renewed raids, this time into Texas, indicated the need of larger forces and the state militia were called upon, but after nearly a year of service they were withdrawn early in 1917. Not long afterward Carranza was elected president for a term of four years, but in 1920 another revolt ended in his assassination. The country is in a condition of wretchedness, and neither life nor property is safe from bands of marauders, President Wilson has patiently attempted to give Mexico a chance to work out her own salvation without hindrance from other countries and without exploitation by investors, - but the problem remains unsettled.[9]

In view of some aspects of the foreign relations of the United States since 1914, it is apparent that such diplomatic incidents as those concerned with boundaries, fisheries and Latin-American protectorates were not the most important forces in determining the outlook of America upon Europe. In spite of the huge immigration of Europeans into America since the Civil War, the United States has seldom drawn upon European experience and has never sought to model itself on European lines. American legislators have not commonly studied either English or continental practices; our institutions and our constitutional limitations have been so peculiarly our own that slight attention has been paid to the outside world. Even the ancient resentment against England had dwindled by 1914, leaving the United States without any traditional "enemy." Tradition, as well as geographical isolation, tended to keep us apart from the currents of European action.

Nevertheless America was being inter-related with the rest of the world through means with which the diplomats had little to do. In 1867 the Atlantic cable had finally been placed in successful operation, and forty years afterward the globe was enmeshed in 270,000 miles of submarine telegraph wires. In 1901 wireless telegraphic messages were sent across the ocean, and within a few years private and press notices were being sent across the Atlantic, vessels were commonly equipped with instruments, and international regulations concerning radio-telegraphy were adopted by the chief powers of the world. Most important of all was the constant passage of merchant vessels shuttling back and forth between America and Europe, and weaving the two into one commercial fabric. With Great Britain, with Germany, with France, Italy and the Netherlands, during 1913, the United States exchanged products valued at nearly two and a half billion dollars. This was an amount more than twice as great as the entire trade with Europe twenty years before. Over half a billion dollars' worth was with Germany, to which country we sent cotton, copper, food-stuffs, lard and furs in return for fertilizers, drugs, dyes, cotton manufactures and toys. American corporations had branches in Germany, while German manufacturers invested hundreds of millions of dollars in factories here. So huge a volume of commerce concerned the welfare not only of the ordinary commercial classes - ship owners, exporters and investors - but the much larger number of producers, manufacturers, miners, meat-packers, and farmers who directly and indirectly supplied the materials for export.

In the meantime a change was taking place in the attitude of America toward world affairs. Inaccurate as it was to describe the United States as a world power at the time of the Spanish War, nevertheless the war itself and the colonial responsibilities which it entailed helped to a small degree to break down the isolation of America; frequent communication with Europe, and the expansion of American commerce tended in the same direction.

The international relations of the United States for the twenty years immediately preceding 1914 may then be briefly summarized. The one international problem which interested the greatest numbers of people was the best method of arriving at international peace. Other problems, except the Mexican question, were simple and inconspicuous, and the majority of Americans knew little of European politics or international relations. Only in the fields of communication and commerce was the United States becoming increasingly and intimately related to the remainder of the world, and the extent to which this change supplemented the effect of the war with Spain in broadening the American international outlook was a matter of conjecture.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

The general texts mentioned at the close of Chapter XIII continue to be useful.

On the Hague Conferences reliance should be placed upon G.F.W. Holls, The Peace Conference at the Hague (1900), by the secretary of the American delegation; A.D. White, Autobiography of Andrew D. White (2 vols., 1905), by a member of the delegation; J.W. Foster, Arbitration and the Hague Court (1904); P.S. Beinsch, in American Political Science Review, II, 204 (Second Conference).