Isolationism is a recurrent theme of American foreign policy, urging the non-participation of the U.S. Government in alliances with other countries or in the affairs of other continents.


'It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world', George Washington declared in his Farewell Address of September 1796.


This policy was confirmed in the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 and observed by most administrations until the beginning of the twentieth century, although Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt began to acquire world status for America.


The isolationist sentiment of Germanic, Irish and Scandinavian communities, especially in the Mid-West of America, played a major part in rejecting the international idealism of President Woodrow Wilson after World War I.


Isolationism, especially among the Republican Senators, checked President Franklin Roosevelt's attempts to befriend the enemies of Nazi Germany and showed itself in a series of Neutrality Acts between 1935 and 1939, gradually relaxed under the pressure of events in 1940 during World War II.


From 1945 onwards, isolationism continued to appeal to a small group of conservative Republicans who sought a 'fortress America', as free of foreign entanglements as in the nineteenth century.


Source: Penguin Modern History 1789-1945

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