American Imperialism has been a part of United States history ever since the American Revolution. Imperialism is the practice by which powerful nations or people seek to expand and maintain control or influence over weaker nations or peoples. Throughout the years there have been many instances where the Americans have taken over other people’s countries, almost every time we go into we have taken over a new piece of land. America’s first taste of imperialism came about five hundred years ago when Columbus came to America. We fought the pleasant inhabitants and then took over their land making them slaves. Americans over the years have been known to become almost selfish, no matter how much we have we will never be happy until we control the free world.
“The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 defined United States foreign policy in the Americas for the rest of the 19th century and beyond. It declared that the United States had an interest in the Western Hemisphere and the European powers must not meddle in the affairs of any developing nations there. The United States was a young nation in 1823 and did not really have to powers to back up the Monroe Doctrine. However, the policy was used to justify the sending of the U.S. troops into Mexico in 1866 (to intimidate the French) and the purchase of Alaska in 1867”. Another case of Imperialism was the United States industrial economy was growing so fast that they were producing more goods than they could consume.
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The overabundance of industrial goods led the United States to look for new markets. Next came the Spanish-American War, which started with the Americans not liked the way that the Spaniards were treated the Cubans. After this, a U.S. battleship (Maine) was docked outside of Havana (Cuba’s Capital) and all of a sudden exploded from under the sea. At the time no one actually knew the real reason why the ship exploded but many Americans thought that it was the Spaniards. 266 officers and men were lost in the explosion. William McKinley (U.S. President 1897-1901) went to congress and asked for permission to send troops to help stop the fighting in Cuba. After a couple of days, he was given permission which shortly led to war. Spain declared war on the United States on April 24th followed by a U.S. declaration of war on the 25th.
This war was no contest for the Americans; they easily defeated the Spanish troops. Led by Gen. William Shafter (and including Theodore Roosevelt and his 1st Volunteer Calvary, the “Rough Riders”). The Rough Riders were National Guard infantry regiments and a regiment of volunteer cavalry. They played a very important role in the defeat of the Spanish Army. The war only lasted about four months and the Americans easily won. In the Treaty of Paris (signed Dec. 10, 1898), Spain lost Cuba, Guam, and Puerto Rico to the U.S., and also the United States gained control of the Philippines.
This was a major turning point in the history of both countries. Spain was able to concentrate on their problems within the country and not overseas, while the Americans were becoming a very powerful country expanding its property. There was a lot of talk about “Manifest Destiny”, and many people suggested that America should assume its role as a world power.
“Manifest Destiny, jingoistic tenet holding that territorial expansion of the United States is not only inevitable but also divinely ordained. The phrase was first used by the American journalist and diplomat John-August 1845 edition of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, a magazine that featured literature and nationalist opinion. The phrase was later used by expansionists in all political parties to justify the acquisition of California, the Oregon Territory, and Alaska. By the end of the 19th century, the doctrine was being applied to the proposed annexation of various islands in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean”. (Encarta 98)
The Boxer Rebellion Chinese nationalists uprising against foreigners, the representatives of alien powers and Chinese Christians in 1900. The expulsion of all foreigners from China was the ultimate objective of the uprising. In 1899 a secret society of Chinese called the Yihequan (“Righteous and Harmonious Fists”), known by Westerners as the boxers, began a campaign of terror against Christian missionaries in the northeastern provinces. They were secretly supported by many of the Chinese Royal Court. “In the early months of 1900, thousands of Boxers roamed the countryside.
They attacked Christian missions, slaughtering foreign missionaries and Christian converts. Then they moved toward the cities, attracting more and more followers as they came. Nervous foreign ministers insisted that the Chinese government stop the Boxers”. The United States was willing to rescue the ministers and to emphasize its presence in China. So they sent 2,500 sailors and marines, after rescuing many of the ministers they marched to Beijing, fighting boxers along the way. The international troops looted the capital and even ransacked the Forbidden City. The power of China would never be the same.
The Panama Canal The United States had long been interested in a Central American canal, to link its east and west coasts and expand trade. However, it did not have the money or the will to build one before 1900. During the 1890’s Congress appropriated money to begin work on capital in Nicaragua, but the project was soon cancelled.
The Spanish-American War in 1898 heightened military interest in a canal. After defeated Spain, the United States acquired the Philippines and Puerto Rico and wanted better access for its navy to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. American officials negotiated the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty with Britain in 1901, in which the two countries agreed that the United States alone could build and regulate the canal. “The Panamanians had authorized Philippe Bunau-Varilla, a French citizen and long-time official of the French Canal Company. Bunau-Varilla gave the United States even more than it had asked for a perpetual lease on a section of central Panama 16 km (10 mi.) wide, where the canal would be built.
The right to take over more Panamanian land if needed; and the right to use troops to intervene in Panama. The United States agreed to guarantee Panama’s independence and pay $10 million, plus an annual fee of $250,000. In exchange for their independence, then, Panamanians were forced to accept the treaty, which no Panamanian ever signed, that virtually gave away the Canal Zone to the United States.
The United States of America has come along way since the purchase of Alaska. For one thing sense when does it say in history that we have purchased any land. We have taken it from the weaker, but is this bad? I don’t think so, I think that we help out a lot of the countries. That is why they are third-world countries because they are poor and do not have the availability that we do. I think of the United States as the big brother that looks after his younger ones until they are able to defend themselves from the bullies of the world.
The United States is a world among itself, just saying it strikes fear in the hearts of some people. To there is one argumentative question that not everyone will agree on. Did we have to kill and hurt so many people to get to where we are today? I think so, we sure didn’t get here because to tend to talk well. In this world, the strongest survive our ancestors have made sure that we are the strongest for all time.
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