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Imperialism Case Usa

Essay by   •  March 20, 2012  •  Essay  •  489 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,576 Views

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The United States of America became an imperial power from the lure of economic interest and spheres of influence around the world. When industrialization generated so much income within the U.S. there was a natural inclination for the U.S. to expand. The United States became an imperial power at the end of the 19th century because of a desire for military strength, the thirst for new markets, and a belief in cultural superiority.

Firstly the U.S pursued imperialism in the 1890's through war, becoming a dominant empire in terms of military strength and is evident in Alfred Thayer Mahan's book Influence of sea Power upon History. This work argued that sea power was the key to strengthen military and foreign policy. Americans wanted an empire to allow them to project naval force around the globe. This would allow the US to be a major military power. An imperialist supporter of this was Theodore Roosevelt, who believed that they had a chance to show their muscle and act in a masculine way. "If we are to be a heavily great people, we must strive in good faith..." This is significant because it shows that many politicians believed that a military presence in the Pacific was important in order to compete with the other nations.

Imperialism became more necessary as countries sought new markets. Many felt that the United States economy could only grow if it gained new foreign markets and raw materials from foreign acquisitions. In example being, the passage of the McKinley Tariff of 1890, it helped to further fuel the economic growth and a huge upswing in national confidence which helped to power the idea that the US should be taking colonies abroad and expanding its power base. Building up trade also meant having a strong navy to control the world's sea lanes, which also meant having bases and fueling stations throughout the Pacific.

Americans' attitudes towards race during this time affected the country's involvement in overseas expansion in important ways. For instance, there was the idea that the US should "take up the white man's burden" and go out and civilize people in places like the Philippines. A much more racist argument held that bringing non-white people like those of the Philippines into our country would harm us. It would bring a lot of inferior people into the country, creating a burden on us. It allowed Americans to believe that they deserved to take control of various overseas areas. At the same time, it caused some Americans to oppose imperialism.

The United States rose as an imperial power in the late 19th century because Americans believed that the growth of United States 'economy was dependent on exports, that the United States had a right to intervene abroad to help keep foreign markets open, and that the closing of an area to American products, citizens, or ideas threatened the survival of the United States.

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