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The internet, an increasingly globalized economy, and the international reach of terrorism all make isolationism a much harder sell today, Meernik says."We can no longer just close up shop and forget the world." Lindbergh vs.AFC ranks swelled to 800,000, including future President Gerald Ford, Walt Disney, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and most prominently, hero aviator Charles Lindbergh (see below). The peacetime draft, instituted in 1940 to ensure preparedness, was especially polarizing, says Lynne Olson, author of Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh and America's Fight Over World War II.The AFC descended on Capitol Hill, joined by antiwar groups with "Mothers" in their titles."Dressed in black, many with veils covering their faces, the women made life miserable for members of Congress who were not avowedly isolationist," Olson says. In the Cold War that followed, isolationism receded, though its seeds were preserved by libertarians."They stalked their targets, screamed and spat at them." What happened to the AFC? World War II began decades of international engagement, with the U. After the failure of the prolonged Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the insecurity bred by the 2008 recession, isolationist sentiments once again swelled — in a 2013 Pew poll, 52 percent of Americans agreed the country "should mind its own business internationally." (Only 20 percent agreed with that statement in 1962.) "What we're seeing today is something like isolationism, but not to the extent of the 1920s and '30s," says political scientist James Meernik.
"Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course," George Washington said in his 1796 farewell address. After four months, Spain surrendered, ceding Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the U. The conflict made a national hero and vice president of Theodore Roosevelt, the charismatic leader of the volunteer Rough Riders regiment.When war finally broke out in 1939, it "did not destroy isolationism," Schlesinger said."Rather, it ushered in the most intense and angry debate of my lifetime," and gave rise to the America First Committee. Founded at Yale Law School in 1940, America First argued that the U. should not sacrifice the lives of young men to solve European problems. neutrality in Germany's war with Britain, advocated a negotiated peace with Hitler, and strenuously opposed FDR's Lend-Lease Act, which sent arms and aircraft to Britain.Thomas Jefferson, too, warned against "entangling alliances," though he waged war when North Africa's Barbary pirates started seizing American merchant ships. Historians now believe an internal explosion destroyed the ship, but at the time Americans — egged on by a jingoistic press — blamed Spain, and the U. When Roosevelt succeeded to the presidency after Mc Kinley's assassination in 1901, he pursued a muscular foreign policy — his credo was "Speak softly and carry a big stick." To promote U. interests abroad, he ordered the construction of the Panama Canal and negotiated the end of the Russo-Japanese war.With the notable exception of the successful 1846–48 Mexican War, which expanded U. borders to include California and much of the West, the young nation disdained military adventures in other parts of the world. During Cuba's revolt against Spain in 1898, President William Mc Kinley sent the battleship Maine on a goodwill visit to Havana — where it blew up in the harbor, killing more than 250 U. Though sometimes bellicose, says historian Richard Abrams, T. also prodded Americans to assume the responsibility "to use their power for good internationally." What revived isolationism? entered the "war to end all wars" in 1917, unleashing a burst of flag-waving fervor.