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THE UNITED STATES, PRESSURE GROUPS AND AFRICA: 1885-1918

G. Macharia Munene
Transafrican Journal of History
Vol. 23 (1994), pp. 1-8
Published by: Gideon Were Publications
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24520266
Page Count: 8
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THE UNITED STATES, PRESSURE GROUPS AND AFRICA: 1885-1918
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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to show how pressure groups can affect government positions on given issues. The influence of pressure groups is particularly evident with regard to the United States' perception of its role in Africa towards the end of the 19th century and early in the 20th century. It was evident in the activities of the American temperance movement, in the response to Belgian atrocities in the Congo, and during World War I. From the time of the Berlin Conference on Africa to the end of World War I, American government officials tended to support and encourage European colonialism in Africa and to avoid interfering with European colonial administration. Despite the official desire to avoid interfering with European handling of African colonies, pressure groups in the United States and outside often demanded that the government intervene in events in Africa. Such pressure helped President Theodore Roosevelt's administration in changing its views with regard to the administration of the Congo Free State. The pressure also helped Woodrow Wilson, during World War I, to take a firm stand against the acquisition of other people's territories. In taking such a stand, Wilson projected himself as an anti-colonialist and a champion of the oppressed. The United States would no longer encourage formal colonialism.

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