American Imperialism: Economy, Racism and Religion

In the late 19th and early 20th century, following the civil struggle, the United States determined to change its isolationistic strategy to expansionism. Many people wanted The United States to turn into an imperial power and present its dominance to the world. A naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan suggested three methods to achieve such dominance. Mahan’s first strategy was to improve American naval energy. His second strategy was to build a community of naval bases to assist the American ships. Mahan’s third technique was to build a canal along the Isthmus of Central America.

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The United States government took Mahan’s recommendation and, in 1890, passed The Naval Act. This act began the development of the new set of ships to enhance America’s naval fleet. After increase a sizable naval drive, the United States began spreading its affect to the Pacific Islands like Hawaii and Samoa by starting commerce with them. Some of the reasons the Americans used to justify imperialism had been economic system, racism, and religion.

One of the explanations Americans used to justify imperialism was its economic benefits. Due to Industrialization in the United States, there was a rising demand for expanding world commerce. One instance of American Imperialism fueled by economic agenda was its annexation of Hawaii. Ever for the reason that United States started to commerce with Hawaii, there have been some complaints from the Hawaiian natives that American businesses were being unfair with their commerce situations. American businessman that feared that American resentment would affect their enterprise in Hawaii requested American minister John Stevens to cooperate in staging an armed revolt to make Hawaii an American protectorate.

In 1898, Hawaii officially obtained annexed. Another instance of American imperialism as a result of its economic positive aspects was the Spanish-American warfare. In the late 19th century, Spain had colonized Cuba. The Spanish handled Cubans harshly and put whoever revolted in reconcentration camps where they got inhumane therapy. The United States determined to free Cuba from Spain.

In March of 1898, President Mckinley requested Spain to end the reconcentration camps in Cuba and declare Cuba’s independence, which Spain refused. Left with no different selections, President Mckinley requested The United States Congress to permit him to declare Cuba’s independence and to make use of The United States navy to remove Spain from Cuba. On April 18, 1898, The United States Congress agreed to Mckinley’s demands but in addition handed The Teller Amendment, which prevented The United States from annexing Cuba after the war. Although The United States was not able to annex Cuba, they had been capable of management the Cuban authorities and set up their imperialism over Cuba with their international policies. On December 10, 1898, after the Span’s defeat in the Spanish-American struggle, Spanish and American diplomats finalized the Treaty of Paris. Treaty of Paris made Spain declare Cuba’s independence and acknowledge The United States’ control over Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. The final example of American imperialism is in China. During the late 19th century, Chinese markets had been dominated by different spheres of influence, which included; Russia, Japan, France, and Germany.

In 1899, the secretary of state Hay proposed Open Door Notes, which, upon settlement of the opposite 5 spheres of affect, would give everybody an equal alternative to commerce in China. “While on paper, the Open Door notes would provide equal access to all, the fact was that it greatly favored the United States,” (Corbett 22.3). In this quote, the writer talks about how The United States used the Open Door Notes to their advantage as a result of opening equal commerce to everyone would only benefit The United States. An example of American Imperialism previously listed, nevertheless, could be very completely different from the two examples listed above. In this case, The United States used financial imperialism by taking on the Chinese trade markets rather than taking over the land in the two other examples used earlier. These are a number of the ways The United States used the economic system as an excuse for imperialism.

One of the methods The United States justified imperialism was by way of racism. During the late 19th century, there was plenty of controversy with reference The American imperialism. During the time at which the Philippines became The United States protectorate, a poet Rudyard Kipling revealed a poem called “The White Man’s Burden.” In this poem, Kipling said “take up the white man’s burden” (Kipling). Kipling mentioned the Americans have been superior and will take up the burden of taking care of a few of the “less civilized” races by imperializing them. Another instance justifying imperialism via racism was Josiah Strong’s claims of “… “There is seemingly a lot fact within the perception that the fantastic progress of the United States, as well as the character of the folks, are the results of natural selection” (Strong), In this quote, Strong claims that the rationale why The United States is so successful was because of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and that the Americans are more superior out of all Anglo-Saxons.

Another one of Strong’s claims was that the United States was profitable, partly because of its civil liberties and that it was their moral duty to move on these civil liberties to the “less civilized” races. Although Strong’s opinion was shared by many, there have been some who opposed him, like William Jennings Bryan, who stated, “Everyone recognizes the obligation imposed upon people to look at each the human and the moral regulation, but as some deny the application of those laws to nations, it will not be out of place to cite the opinions of others.” (Bryan). In this quote, Bryan says that imperialism is immoral. Some of the examples listed above were used as a method to justify imperialism via racism. The last purpose that The United States used to justify imperialism was religion.

During the late nineteenth century, American missionaries needed to spread the word of god to different parts of the world. Josiah Strong believed “…that all men could also be lifted up into the light of the very best Christian civilization, are, first, a pure, religious Christianity…” (Strong). In this quote, Strong is saying that Christianity is likely one of the elements that made The United States so successful. Strong claimed that it was the Americans’ duty to unfold Christianity to the imperialized territories. William Jennings Bryan, nevertheless, opposed that concept by saying “The command “Go ye into all of the world and preach the gospel to each creature” has no Gatling gun attachment” (Bryan). In this quote, Bryan claimed that spreading Christianity via violence went towards the teachings in the bible. These are some of the reasons how religion was used to justify imperialism.

In conclusion, the Reasons for which The United States began its imperialism had been economic system, racism, and religion. The United States ended up building up its navy and became one of the main navy powers. The united states began a warfare with Spain over its financial interests with Cuba and ended up taking over Puerto Rice, Guam, and the Philippines. As a result, The United States proved itself to be a powerful imperial power.

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