America’s open-door policy emerged from the interplay between the private and public sectors. The reciprocal relationship between the American businessman and the American politician has roots traced back to a great debate between Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, and a coalition of American businessmen during 1899-1901. The debate developed the strategy for America’s economic strength to “dominate all underdeveloped areas of the world.” The partnership between the public and private sector endured throughout the decades due to the strong understanding that the American businessmen must have an overseas market for their product to ensure America’s domestic prosperity. The open door policy helped shape American foreign policy from 1900-1958.
The depression and social unrest that occurred during the 1890’s prompted American manufacturers, American farmers, American merchants and American entrepreneurial groups to blame a lack of available markets to sell their products as the reason for the poor economic climate of the country. As a result, American leaders concluded that overseas expansion would provide an outlet to end such tensions. The open door policy provided the proper tactics for the United States to embark on world expansion of its financial market, as well as the strategy required to open such markets for the sale of American products in underdeveloped countries.
The “Review of the World’s Commerce,” a report prepared by the State Department’s Bureau of Foreign Commerce on April 25, 1898, noted that American artisans and operatives must have access to sell their goods in foreign markets if such livelihoods are expected to keep their employment throughout the entire year. Government officials invested their time on behalf of the private companies, and on behalf of such company interests to expand the private sector overseas. The State Department’s Bureau of Foreign Commerce vowed to become a staunch competitor in “the world-wide struggle for trade.”
The Great American Orator
Wendell Phillips was an American orator who aimed to discredit the Constitution of the United States because he believed the document supported slavery and created a national divide. Despite his contempt for the United States Constitution, Phillips realized the importance of American politics and American institutions. He understood the power of public opinion and harnessed his oratory skill to preach “revolution to thoughtful men” in the North. During the years 1850-1875, Wendell Phillips dominated the American lecture platform.
Wendell Phillips was frustrated with the political inactivity to manumit the slaves in the United States. Phillips could not tolerate the constant backsliding of the Northern politician and their wavering stance on civil liberties for the bondsman. He called Abraham Lincoln “that slavehound from Illinois.” Due to political ambiguities that surrounded slavery and freedom, Phillips felt compelled to attack and agitate the public on topics related to the abolition of slavery for the bondsman. He felt politicians would not adamantly pursue the immorality of slavery. Wendell Phillips attempted to bring about social change via public speaking. He made his reputation by telling people what they did not want to hear, and he was relentless in his mission to bring freedom to the slaves.