U.S. Expansionism Through the course of history, many of the nations in the world expanded internationally through imperialism. These nations were creating empires throughout the world. The United States of America for example, during the late 19th century and into the early 20th century began to expand out into the world. Before this time, the United States only expanded onto land that was adjacent to that which was theirs.
As a result from the other world powers acquiring new lands and provinces, the U.S. felt pressured into this new imperialism. Early U.S. expansionism occurred when U.S. Secretary of State, William Seward purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867. Following this in 1875, the U.S.
made several treaties with Hawaii and eventually acquiring it. These early acts of expansionism by the U.S. were peaceful attempts to acquire new lands. The first act of U.S. imperialistic intervention occurred by Spanish mistreatment of the Cubans. Theodore Roosevelt stated, ” Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in general loosening of the ties of civilized society may ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation” After several incidents with the Spanish, President McKinley and Congress declared war on the Spanish.
The Treaty of Paris ended the Spanish-American War and granted Cuba its independence. Although Cuba gained its independence, the U.S. acquired many benefits in Cuba including a military base. The Treaty of Paris also granted the U.S. control over the Philippine islands.
As Americans were sympathetic toward the Cubans, many were outraged by the treatment the U.S. gave the Filipinos. These islands not only gave the U.S. strategic military bases but also key economic trading posts. Many American citizens including ones like Andrew Carnegie and Mark Twain believed that Filipino-American War was unnecessary and was full of hypocrisies.
At the platform of the American Anti-Imperialist League in 1899, someone said, ” Much as we abhor the war of ‘criminal aggression’ in the Philippines, greatly as we regret that the blood of the Filipinos is on American hands, we more deeply resent the betrayal of American institutions at home” While many argued imperialism in the Philippines, others stated that the Philippines should be a part of the U.S. to encourage trade with the Pacific. “Our largest trade henceforth must be with Asia. The Pacific is our ocean” (Senator Albert J. Beveridge).
In 1914, in the country of Panama, one of the most well known results from U.S. expansionism was finished. The result was to be known as the Panama Canal. This canal linked the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Theodore Roosevelt was the U.S. President that dreamed up this idea and made it happen. The Panama Canal brought great economic benefits to the U.S. Even though the canal was located in Panama, the U.S.
was the operator and creator of it. Roosevelt acquired the land for the canal through the Hay and Bunau-Varilla Treaty. Through the acquisition of the Philippine islands, U.S. trade to the Orient increased dramatically. China soon became a commercial interest to the United States. Before the U.S. became involved with China, other nations were already exploiting her because of the weak Manchu dynasty.
Since the U.S. had policies with many other nations, Secretary of State John Hay created the Open Door notes of 1899-1900. These documents declared that all nations have equal trading policies to China and to respect the “territorial and administrative integrity” of China. This open door policy is best illustrated in 1900 by a source called “American Diplomacy.” It had Uncle Sam leaning on a key to the open doors of China. Inscribed on the key was “American Diplomacy.” Outside the doors though were many diplomats from different countries wanting to go in to China and commence their business endeavors.
These events illustrate how the United States became involved in the imperialism throughout the world. Before this though, the United States’ expansionism was limited only to what was adjacent to the nation. They only expanded to the West. After all the land was annexed into the U.S., there was nowhere else to expand to. With an increasing population and pressure from other countries to expand internationally, the U.S. eventually expanded to other lands.
This was a departure from how the U.S. originally expanded. The United States continued to a nation that was constantly expanding. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries though, expansionism grew dramatically. Imperialism became a competition between nations to see which nation would be the strongest. As Josiah Strong put it in 1885, “the result of this competition of races will be the ‘survival of the fittest.'”.