Explain the arguments put forward by the supporters of isolationism.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Isolationism is the term that is generally applied to America’s foreign policy during the 1930s.  This was a time when most Americans wanted to remain isolated from the affairs of the rest of the world.  There were two main arguments that were advanced to support isolationism.

First, proponents of isolationism argued that America did not have any significant interest in foreign affairs.  They said, for example, that it did not matter to the US whether England or Germany dominated European affairs.  They argued that America had gotten into WWI even though it had no stake in the quarrel between those two countries.  Relatedly, they argued that America only got involved in WWI because of the economic interests of the banks and other big businesses.  Because they US was separated from the rest of the world by large oceans, they argued, the affairs of the rest of the world (outside of the Americas) could not really have an impact on the US.

Second, proponents of isolationism argued that the US had plenty of concerns at home that it should deal with before thinking about getting involved in the rest of the world.  The 1930s was, of course, the decade of the Great Depression.  During that time, America was mired in a terrible economic downturn.  Isolationists argued that America’s resources and energy should be directed at solving the problems of the Depression, not at interfering in the affairs of other countries.

Thus, proponents of isolationism supported their stand by claiming that America did not have any real interest in foreign affairs and that there more important issues that needed to be addressed at home.

rachellopez | Student

Isolationism is the concept of a country staying isolated from other country's affairs. People who support isolationism believe that if a country doesnt interfere with other countries, we will avoid unnecessary conflict. If we don't get involved in other issues, then we can avoid potential wars and keep our country stable. This idea came about around the Great Depression, when our economy was so bad that being involved internationally was a huge risk and we needed to focus on rebuilding our country. However, if we stay isolated, we will never create allies and be able to trade, which is also important for the economy to stay stable for a long period. 

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