Scholars have debated whether U.S. foreign policy has been primarily designed to serve the economic and strategic interests of the United States alone, or to reform the international system for the benefit of all nations willing to play by a certain set of rules. During the period 1898–1920, to what extent did the United States follow purely selfserving foreign policies, and to what extent did it pursue a reformist agenda abroad? Did U.S. foreign policy change with respect to this question? Was there a connection betweenself-interest and reform?
Considering the period 1898–1920, discuss the role of tangible and intangible
elements of U.S. foreign relations. To what extent, and how, did tangible objectives(gaining territory, commercial opportunity, physical security, etc.) drive U.S. foreign relations? To what extent, and how, was U.S. foreign policy aimed at intangible goals(achieving national glory, affirming racial or cultural superiority, promoting particular values abroad, etc.)? In the interplay of those two realms, what overall patterns emerge?