Americans have long been troubled by the prospect of overseas entanglements. Opposition to the acquisition of imperial commitments in 1898 stemmed not merely from radicals and socialists but also from a wide range of religious, liberal and traditional-minded groups. Moreover this was not a war that might have been expected to be expensive in American lives. Through the first half of the twentieth century, there was steady resistance to military endeavours in Europe, and American entry into both world wars was only accomplished after intolerable provocation. In peacetime also, the United States’s entry into international organisations was met with implacable resistance from quite broad political coalitions, overwhelmingly so in the case of the League of Nations. The prospect of the United States becoming a world power on the model of the despised imperial states of Europe appeared unacceptable from many points of view. However, these were exactly the years in which the United States was forced to assume the role of a global power, and that role transformed the nature of domestic politics.
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