Since the American Revolution, American Imperialism has been an important element of US history. Imperialism is the attempt of strong nations or persons to expand and maintain domination or influence over weaker ones. Throughout the years, many instances have occurred where Americans have taken control of foreign countries, almost every time we go into new territory.
Columbus’s arrival to the New World 500 years ago launched America’s first experience of imperialism. We battled the kind people and then took control of their territory, enslaving them. Americans have long been characterized as selfish, regardless of how much we have; we will never be satisfied until we dominate the free world.
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The Monroe Doctrine, which was adopted in 1823, served as the primary foreign policy of the United States in Latin America for much of the 19th century and beyond. It stated that the United States had an interest in the Western Hemisphere and that other colonial powers should not interfere with any emerging nations there.
The United States was a young country in 1823 and lacked the authority to support the Monroe Doctrine. However, the practice was utilized to defend the dispatch of American troops into Mexico in 1866 (to intimidate the French) and Alaska’s purchase in 1867. Another example of imperialism is that while America’s industrial economy was expanding at a breakneck pace, it was producing more goods than it could consume.
After the United States began to suffer from an overabundance of industrial goods, it looked for new markets. The Spanish-American War followed soon afterward, which began with the Americans disliking how the Spaniards treated the Cubans. A U.S. battleship (Maine) was docked outside of Havana (Cuba’s Capital) and suddenly exploded under the sea after that.
At the time, no one knew the actual cause of the ship’s destruction, but many people believed it was due to Spanish actions. Of the 266 crew members aboard, only 30 survived. McKinley went to Congress and requested permission to send troops to assist curb the fighting in Cuba. He was granted authority after a few days, which led quickly to war. On April 24th, Spain declared war on the United States, and on April 25th, America responded with its own declaration of war against Spain.
The Spanish were no match for the Americans in this war; they easily routed the Spanish soldiers. Gen. William Shafter (and including Theodore Roosevelt and his 1st Volunteer Cavalry, the “Rough Riders”), led the charge. They played a crucial part in ousting Spain’s army. The Spanish-American War, which took place from late April to mid-August 1898, was a short conflict. The Americans easily triumphed, with the war ending in only four months. Spain lost Cuba, Guam, and Puerto Rico to the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris (signed Dec. 10, 1898), and the United States gained control of the Philippines. This was a watershed moment for both nations’ histories.
Meanwhile, the Americans were becoming a very powerful country as they expanded their property. There was a lot of talk about “Manifest Destiny,” and several people suggested that America should take on its role as a world leader. Manifest Destiny, a jingoistic tenet that holds that the territorial expansion of the United States is not only inevitable but also divinely intended. The term was first used by American journalist and diplomat John August 1845 edition of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, a publication that featured nationalist views as well as literature.
“The doctrine was subsequently used by expansionists in all political parties to legitimize the seizure of California, Oregon Territory, and Alaska. By the end of the 19th century, the theory was being applied to a number of islands in both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean that were under discussion for annexation.” (Encarta 98)
The Boxer Uprising In 1900, Chinese nationalists revolted against Westerners, representatives of foreign powers, and Christians in China. The ultimate goal of the rebellion was the expulsion of all foreigners from China. In 1899, a secretive society of Chinese known as the Yihequan (”Righteous and Harmonious Fists”) began a campaign of intimidation against Christian missionaries in northeastern provinces.
Many of the Chinese Royal Court secretly aided them. “Thousands of Boxers roamed the countryside in the early months of 1900. They assaulted Christian missions and killed foreign missionaries and Christian converts. They then advanced to the cities, attracting more and more followers with each passing day. Foreign ministers were concerned that the Chinese government would not act quickly enough against the Boxers, so they urged it to act faster” (Hickey).
The government of the United States was prepared to rescue the officials and emphasize its presence in China. As a result, they sent 2,500 sailors and marines, who rescued many of the ministers before marching to Beijing and fighting boxers on the way. Internationally deployed troops sacked Beijing and even invaded the Forbidden City. The strength of China would never be seen again.
The Panama Canal The United States has long desired a Central American canal that would connect its east and west coasts and expand commerce. However, before 1900, it did not have the cash or motivation to do so. Congress authorized funding for capital construction in Nicaragua in the 1890s, but work was halted soon afterward.
In 1898, the Spanish-American War increased military interest in a canal. The United States acquired the Philippines and Puerto Rico as spoils of war with Spain and sought better access for its navy to both oceans. In 1901, the United States and Great Britain negotiated the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, which stated that America alone could construct and manage the canal.
“The Panamanians had authorized Philippe Bunau-Varilla, a French national and former employee of the French Canal Company, as their representative. Bureau-Varilla provided the United States with much more than it had requested for an indefinite lease on a 16 kilometers (10 miles) wide section of central Panama where the canal would be constructed. The authority to acquire additional Panamanian territory if required; and the power to deploy troops in Panama.
The United States pledged to guarantee Panama’s independence for $10 million and pay an annual stipend of $250,000. In exchange for their freedom, Panamanians were compelled to accept the agreement which no Panamanian ever signed that essentially handed over control of the Canal Zone to the United States.
Since the acquisition of Alaska, the United States has made a long journey. When was it decided in history that we had ever acquired any territory? We’ve taken it from the weaker ones, but is this really such a terrible thing? I don’t believe so; I believe that we assist many nations. That is why they are third-world countries since they are poor and lack access to things like as ours.
In my opinion, the United States is a big brother who protects his younger siblings until they are able to defend themselves against the bullies of the world. The United States is quite different from other nations; it has a worldwide reputation for being fear-inspiring. One contentious issue isn’t open to debate by everyone. Did we have to kill and maim so many individuals in order to get to where we are now? I believe so; we didn’t get here because to communicate well, I’m sure of it. Our ancestors ensured that we were the toughest of all time by making us the strongest in this world.
After the Spanish-American War in 1898, the United States moved into the field of capitalism as a global superpower. The United States secured uncontested control of the American Mediterranean – Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean – after having routed Spain. Puerto Rico was annexed. A protectorate was imposed on Cuba. There is more than $1 billion in American investment in sugar alone on the island of Cuba.
This is the proportion of total capitalization in the sugar sector. American investment makes up 85% of the money invested in Cuban railroads. One-third of Cuba’s imports are edible, and more than half comes from the United States. According to recent figures from the Department of Commerce, Cuba has surpassed Japan as our second-largest steel customer.
In the Pacific, the Yankee imperialists conquered the Philippines, Guam, and Hawaii in rapid succession. The American imperialists have a landmass roughly equivalent to that of Italy and a population larger than that of Canada or Hungary in the Philippines. There are 65 percent more Filipinos working abroad than there were in 2000.
Over $300 million of American money is invested in the islands, which are teeming with natural resources and are just three days away from China, the world’s richest and most cost-effective labor mine. They’re the doorway to Asia for American investment: 800 million people live in Far East countries that represent a rich prize market.
Then came the complete US dominance over Panama, which was achieved through the successful engineering of the revolution against Colombia’s Republic. The American entrepreneurs proceeded to build their power in Nicaragua and control of the alternate canal route after securing “general supervision” of the new administration and unlimited control of the Canal Zone.
The United States swiftly dissolved the Haitian parliament once Wilson’s democratic ideas had dried. The United States is now the supreme political authority over 150,000 square kilometers and almost 10,000,000 individuals in Central America and the Caribbean, making it an American lake. In the Pacific Ocean, the United States has a 136,874-square-mile empire with a population of at least 13 million people.
“Peaceful penetration” is another way of describing what we do. Our imperialists are also involved in the “peaceful penetration” of other countries. Our capitalists have recently focused their attention on Canada, Mexico, Central, and South America. American investors and merchants have been making greater efforts to develop these markets as a result of the European market’s collapse. In Latin American nations today, the United States has invested $610 million in government bonds and $3 billion in sectors.
At the end of the 19th century, the United States became an imperialist nation owing to its conviction in manifest destiny. Political and military rivalry, as well as the formation of a powerful navy, economic competition among industrial nations, and a belief in racial and cultural supremacy among people of Anglo-Saxon descent, were three reasons why America began imperialism.
The Spanish American War established the United States as a global force. From April 25 to August 12, 1898, this little conflict only lasted four months. The decision to go to war against Spain was influenced by a number of factors, including the Cuban struggle for independence, American imperialism, and the sinking of the United States warship “Maine”.
Spain lost Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines as a result of the war. For public property in the Philippine Islands, America paid Spain $20 million. The United States acquired colonies on both sides of the Pacific, including Hawaii. On August 12th, Congress took control and proclaimed Hawaii to be American territory, and issued President John Hay’s open-door policy messages to Germany, France, Russia, Britain, Italy, and Japan requesting that they not interfere with US trade rights in China.
The United States had wanted to build a Central American canal for many years. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt picked Panama over Nicaragua as the site of the canal and negotiated a treaty with Colombia giving the United States permission to construct it. Philippe Bunau-Varilla, an employee of the French Canal Company, was authorized by the Panamanians to negotiate and sign the agreement.
The United States’ shift to solidify as a global superpower after the civil war is seen as an end for one of its eras and the start of another. From the late 1800s, as the United States began to gather strength through Cuba, Hawaii, and the Philippines, historians were debating American imperialism and its actions. William A. Williams, Arthur Schlesinger, and Stephen Kinzer offer their own views on how America should be governed using ideas centered around economics, power, and racial dominance.
It is my belief that in the coming years, economics will become an even more important aspect of American imperialism. However, it’s more accurate to state that growth in foreign markets is an essential component of America’s development. As Charles Beard puts it, it is critical to the success of American business.
Furthermore, it was all quite essential after the economic downturn of the 1890s; people sought a path to recovery, and “…a strong majority agreed that foreign policy could and should play an important – if not vital – role in preventing future problems… Explained the depression and social unrest as the consequence of a lack of markets for their particular commodity… An outlet for surplus stocks becomes an absolute need as a result of this.”
The Open Door Policy was the result of the policy, which “was in fact a brilliant strategic maneuver that helped to extend American economic and political influence worldwide” (Williams 45). However, not all historians agreed with Williams about Schlesinger’s criticism of his Open Door Policy ideas. “This enthusiasm for foreign trade and territorial expansion preceded the widespread agricultural surplus…
“After the Civil War, however, this enthusiasm to promote trade and exports waned rather than increasing as it should have done according to the Open Door thesis” (Schlesinger 132). He sardonically scorns Williams’ economic reasoning by stating, “open new markets in space.” Furthermore, he clearly states: “The American empire was not built through the economy.”
Example #5 – interesting ideas
Please note that the “Knight” who authored this piece is completely and totally incorrect. He’s a sympathizer for a long-disavowed and defeated ideology, albeit some contemporary American political movements are attempting to resurrect portions of it. The North did not invade the South in order to begin the conflict – the initial shot was fired personally by Confederate firebrand General P.G.T. Beauregard at Ft. Sumpter in Charleston harbor, South Carolina.
The term “imperialism” was not widely used until the mid-nineteenth century when it was coined by American writer John Lothrop Motley in his book The Rise of the Dutch Republic. But it was regarded differently at the time. After overseas expansion, the United States turned inward, partly as a result of the Civil War and partly owing to the necessity of building a nation. This included an internal form of “imperialism” during Indian Wars.
Underlying this was a competitive posture facing expanding European nations like Britain who were actively seeking to conquer North American land if they could, particularly at the time. According to on the “Manifest Destiny” idea, Americans had an undefined right and obligation to dominate others, as well as a sense of moral superiority, racial superiority (although today we would more call it ethnic privilege), and “natural” entitlement – that is, that Americans had an unacknowledged right and duty to dominate others. This was coupled with a competitive attitude facing imperialist European countries like Britain at the time who were actively trying to take North American territory if possible.
The United States took a bristly “hands-off” approach, claiming hegemony over the Western Hemisphere and the right to take any territory acquired in the continent, such as Cuba. This did not go uncontested by European nations, nor by those people already living in regions that the United States wanted.
The Spanish-American War of 1898 was the “official” debut of American imperialism, which began with the Spanish-American War of 1898. On its face, both that conflict and the subsequent acquisition of US foreign colonies, as well as the following decades of “gunboat diplomacy” conducted by the United States, were examples of American imperialism. It was not undertaken without considerable debate.
The Spanish-American War, which was a naked colonial land grab at the expense of Spain, was justified with a thin veneer of high-minded explanation that the United States was “freeing” people in Cuba and elsewhere. The strains of republicanism (not to be confused with the political party) ran throughout pro-war arguments. This is a concept that has been expressed frequently in American popular literature and serious thinking for many years.
Mark Twain frequently used the term “republicanism” to characterize American attitudes toward monarchies and aristocracy in his travel journal “Innocents Abroad.” You’ll discover it as a unifying element of his book about that journey, “Innocents Abroad.” Richard Hume, an American historian who wrote “Modern Spain, 1788-1898” in 1900, also argued for republicanism openly in contrast to the “corrupt, priest-ridden” society of Spain. Hume was yet sympathetic with and admiring of the Spanish people and strongly supported the late war and its outcomes as a reaffirmation of a higher American role in the world.
The United States’ lack of eagerness to enter World War I was an odd contradiction of American imperialism. Apparently, the United States had enough trouble-plagued imperial possessions and was content with protecting commercial interests in Asia and South America while staying out of European bloodshed. The United States emerged from the conflict with a principled anti-imperialist attitude (although it still held on to the territories it had acquired). That appears to have been a case of pointing a stern moralizing finger at Old Europe while instructing the victors to be good, even though U.S. actions were “unique.”
“Different,” as in “old and new” remained the objective of American imperialism after World War I. The United States conducted its operations in pursuit of republicanism and the free ideal, whereas other countries undertook imperialist expansion for less noble motives. That was, of course, false, but it still persists to this day in American foreign policy. It is most apparent in the work practices of George W. Bush’s administration. One of the more interesting ironies of the last six decades is that, despite its Cold War-era economic imperialism, the United States largely abandoned territorial imperialism – and launched a long-term effort to resist Soviet territorial expansion.
With the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States reverted to territorial and economic imperialism. In dealing with Japan and other Asian countries, the Clinton Administration’s foreign economic policies were most evident. The Bush Administration has taken a more subtle approach to territorial expansion by launching military aggression. However, the Afghan conflict is not based on imperialistic motives. The most telling feature of that battle is America’s attempt to avoid taking part in it.
Since the American Revolution, imperialism has been an element of United States history. Imperialism is the practice of powerful nations or persons who seek to extend and maintain their power or dominance over smaller countries or peoples. Throughout the years, the United States has frequently militarily taken control of other nations, most notably when we venture into new territory. When Columbus arrived in America 500 years ago, the first taste of imperialism came to us. We fought nice people and then took their land away from them by enslaving them.
People from all around the world enjoy American films and television programs. Fast-food restaurants with a US-style (if not owned by Americans) can be found in virtually every major city in the world. Although they remain popular in some areas, American automobiles are no longer as popular as they once were. You can discover Disney parks in Paris, Tokyo, and maybe other places, just as you may find Disney parks in the United States. Mexico City has Six Flags; others could exist.
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