The Impact of The Neutrality of The United States in The First World War on The Emergence of The Red Scare

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About this sample


Words: 1116 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: May 24, 2022

Words: 1116|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: May 24, 2022

Throughout the history of the United States, numerous foreign policies were established resulting in controversy among the American people. Following America’s development as an independent nation, policies were enforced to obtain opportunities that would influence the United States in a positive light. America’s neutrality in World War I caused conflict as Americans argued whether to maintain isolationism or to participate in the war because of several circumstances. The Louisiana Purchase stirred disputes among the opinions of the people as America was beginning their first step into becoming a prosperous nation. America’s neutrality in World War I (1914-1917) and the purchase of Louisiana (1803) created controversy throughout the American people and impacted the US and foreign regions.

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America’s neutrality in World War I resulted in differentiating opinions among the people of America. The highly debated issue within the nation was whether to remain out of foreign affairs or partake in the war for gains. The Triple Alliance, consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, as well as the Triple Entente including Britain, Russia, and France, were established, implying that these nations in alliances would promise to defend each other in times of war. In 1914, a Serbian nationalist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand since Serbia wanted independence. Consequently, Austria- Hungary declares war on Serbia, causing nations in alliances with each other to be involuntarily forced into the war through the alliance system.

America, however, remained neutral as there was no reason provided for Americans to join the war. The war had not endangered the lives of the people or their property. The public opinion regarding the war was strong but different. Many Americans wanted to stay out of the war and maintain peace. Socialists criticized the war as a dispute between Germany and England, Pacifists believed that the war was a source of vice, and numerous Americans did not want to bear the melancholy of losing or exposing their sons to war. They believed that war could not possibly lead to a positive gain for America. The United States would just be exposing themselves to unnecessary conflicts between the other nations. On the other hand, Americans who had ties with foreign countries strongly supported the nations from which they had emigrated from. 

Furthermore, the United States had a strong economic tie with the Allies, causing a deeper split between the public opinion. In 1917, German began with an unrestricted submarine warfare strategy, sinking any ships coming from or going into France and Britain. The sinking of the Lusitania caused the deaths of 128 Americans, and lastly, the Zimmerman Telegram violated the Monroe Doctrine and disrupted the deal made between Mexico and the US. These events infuriated the American people, and in April 1917, the US declared war on Germany. As Germany had harmed and endangered the people of the US several times, many believed that they shouldn’t remain neutral any longer. World War I neutrality impacted the United States by causing the Red Scare, enforcing the Sedition and Espionage Act, and leading to the Schenck v. United States court case. 

The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia called for workers around the world to revolt, leading to the Red Scare. The Red Scare developed Americans’ fear of communism, which led to the passage of the Sedition and Espionage Act. These acts deteriorated the spirits of the First Amendment as it eliminated one’s freedom of speech and press. In the Schenck v. United States court case, Schenck's conviction was deemed constitutional, setting a precedent that in times of war, the First Amendment would not protect anyone if they are endangering the lives of others. The war additionally developed a method of fighting, known as trench warfare, where opposing armies fought and defended their territories using a system of dugout trenches. Therefore, America’s neutrality in World War I caused different opinions among the American people about involving themselves in foreign matters. The events present influenced America immensely as the First Amendment was questioned and numerous laws were enforced.

The Louisiana Purchase was a foreign policy that aroused conflict within the United States. The constitutionality of the purchase was questioned by those who opposed the purchase, meanwhile, those who supported the purchase justified it with the belief of Manifest Destiny. Following Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, Americans were pursuing their belief of Manifest Destiny, which was the belief that America was destined to expand westwards. Jefferson struck a deal with Napoleon Bonaparte, signing the Louisiana Purchase which doubled the size of the country. The purchase additionally gave Americans full access to the New Orleans port and the Mississippi River. Although the purchase had expanded America greatly, there was controversy regarding the purchase. Americans argued that Jefferson had not followed his strict interpretation of the Constitution as it did not permit the federal government to purchase new land. Congress, however, did allow the President the ability to establish treaties. Furthermore, the purchase created an unspoken alliance with France, which would in fact, upset Britain. The unspoken alliance would result in conflicts with foreign nations, leading to wars. It went against the Democratic-Republican ideals of decreasing American debt. 

The purchase, ultimately, would not benefit America. Nevertheless, Manifest Destiny played a huge part in justifying the Louisiana Purchase. The deal had doubled the size of the US, providing natural resources, and expanding the US even further. Gaining access to the New Orleans port and the Mississippi River increases America’s trading opportunities allowing them to prosper even further. It enhances trade and allows America to gain more trading partners. Through the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Louisiana territory was abundant and would provide advantages to the US. These opportunities allowed America to become successful and flourish as it expanded the US. With better trading opportunities, America’s trading relationships would increase and develop even further. The Louisiana Purchase impacted the US positively as it proved to be a useful piece of territory, supplying the nation with an abundance of natural resources and enhanced trading opportunities with foreign countries. Thus, the Louisiana Purchase has caused controversy upon whether the piece of land was beneficial to the US. Indeed, the purchase contributed to America’s development as a newly independent nation.

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Overall, many foreign policies that were established caused controversy among the American individuals. World War I neutrality caused Americans to debate whether to maintain isolationism or to participate in the war. The war had led to the Red Scare, which caused the enforcement of the Sedition and Espionage Acts, establishing a precedent during times of war. The purchase of Louisiana questioned whether the purchase was beneficial and constitutional towards the US. The purchase impacted America positively as it expanded the nation and increased trading opportunities. Many foreign policies stirred disagreements between the American people and impacted the United States greatly.

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The Impact of the Neutrality of the United States in the First World War on the Emergence of the Red Scare. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 19, 2024, from
“The Impact of the Neutrality of the United States in the First World War on the Emergence of the Red Scare.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
The Impact of the Neutrality of the United States in the First World War on the Emergence of the Red Scare. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Jun. 2024].
The Impact of the Neutrality of the United States in the First World War on the Emergence of the Red Scare [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 24 [cited 2024 Jun 19]. Available from:
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