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Lincoln, Seward, and US Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era$
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Joseph A. Fry

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813177120

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813177120.001.0001

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Seward and Empire, 1865–1869

Seward and Empire, 1865–1869

(p.154) 5 Seward and Empire, 1865–1869
Lincoln, Seward, and US Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era

Joseph A. Fry

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter examines Seward’s final four years as secretary of state during the Johnson administration, following Lincoln’s death. Sustaining the policy of diplomatic pressure, but disdaining military intervention, Seward defined domestic US calls for a more belligerent posture and defended the Monroe Doctrine by forcing Napoleon III to withdraw French forces from Mexico. More important, the secretary turned back to the imperial agenda he had proclaimed in the 1850s. His greatest imperial success came with the purchase of Alaska; but his emphasis on commercial expansion, attempts to acquire Hawaii and islands in the Caribbean, to build a canal through Panama, and to implement an “open door” policy in East Asia provided a prescient blueprint for US imperial actions and advancement to great power status at the turn of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   Andrew Johnson, Napoleon III, Maximilian, Monroe Doctrine, Alaska, Commercial expansion, US imperialism

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