The US was not interested in
expanding nations, territories or
having international influence.
Our Foreign Policy—(how we deal with
other nations)-was called
Isolationism—the policy of avoiding
involvement in world affairs
European countries however did
the opposite-they started to
practice expansionism and
imperialism-the economic and
political domination -taking over
• Most industrial nations had placed tariffs on
their products-intended to protect their
products, however in effect what they did was
they reduced trade between the countries. So
now what?? What do companies do when the
countries around them stop trading?
They started to not only trade with these
countries but also invest in these countries. So
then they need to protect their investments.
In order to do that they started to exert control
over those territories where their investments
were and soon these areas became colonies.
The next thing we know Africa and
Asia have been carved up by countries
like Britain, France and Spain.
The US starts to feel like they better get a “piece
of the pie” or else…..
So we have economic pressures to
• In search of new markets
• Dwindling of natural resources
• “We are raising more than we can consume,
we are making more than we can use”
But also we have social and
philosophic reasons for expansion
• Social Protest of the time: populist movement,
free silver, etc.—look outward not inward
• Darwin theory again— “survival of the fitness”
• Subjugation of the Indians
• A feeling of superiority- John Fiske & Josiah
Strong, a popular minister in the late 1800’s
linked Anglo-Saxonism to Christian missionary
ideas. He said the Anglo- Saxon was “divinely
commissioned to be, in a peculiar sense, his
• “The White Man’s Burden”
White Man’s Burden
Take up the White
Man's burden-Send forth the best ye
breed-Go bind your sons to
To serve your captives'
To wait in heavy
On fluttered folk and
wild-Your new-caught, sullen
Half-devil and half-child.
Alfred T. Mahan wrote a book called The
Influence of Sea Power. In it he wrote about
the importance of a nation having a great
navy. It became a best seller and helped to
build public support for a big navy. Along with
a very powerful senator, Henry Cabot Lodge,
the US was well on its way to becoming one of
the top naval powers in the world.
Expansion in the Pacific-Hawaii
• As trade with China and Japan increased,
many Americans became interested in Hawaii.
Ships traveling between China and the US
regularly stopped in Hawaii. Americans soon
discovered that the climate and soil of the
islands were suitable for growing sugarcane.
Planters became very powerful and wealthy.
Soon tensions between the planters and the
In 1891 Queen Liliuokalani ascended
to the Hawaiian throne.
Faced with an economic crisis and the
queen’s action, the planters backed an
attempt to overthrow the queen.
Supported by the US marines, a group
of planters, with the help of Samuel
Dole, forced the queen to give up
power and set up a temporary
government. Five years later, the US
Summary: By the 1890’s, several ideas
had come together:
• Business leaders wanted new market overseas
• Anglo Saxonism had convinced many
Americans that they had a destiny to
dominate the world
• Growing European imperialism threatened
• Combined with Mahan’s influence, these ideas
convinced congress to authorize the
construction of a modern American navy.
The Spanish American War 1898
• Why did the US go to war
against Spain in 1898 and why
was the outcome significant?
By the late 1800’s, Spain was no longer
a world power. Its empire only now
consisted of the Philippines, Cuba and
In Cuba its sugarcane plantations
generated lots of money for Spain
and produced almost 1/3 of the
entire world’s sugar.
In 1868, Cuban declared its independence from
Spain and launched a guerrilla war against her.
The US business leaders were interested in
what was happening in Cuba because
American businesses had invested money in
the Cuban economy.
• Most Americans were supportive
of the Cuban rebels—they
compared their struggle with the
American patriots during the
Revolutionary war. Some even
smuggled guns into Cuba.
But it was the newspaper reports that led most
Americans to support the rebels. William
Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer owned
big newspapers in the US. They competed
against each other to sell papers. Each created
outrageous stories of the Spanish misrule. This
kind of sensational reporting, in which writers’
exaggerated or even made up stories to
attract readers became know as yellow
There is no doubt that the Cuban people indeed
suffered horribly. General Valeriano Weyler’s
harsh policies quickly earned him the
nickname El Carricero (the butcher). To
prevent the rebels from engaging in guerrilla
warfare, he herded hundreds of thousands of
rural men, women, and children into reconcentration camps, where ten of thousands
died of starvation and disease.
But 2 incidents
between the US
1.The De Lome Letter
A letter written by Enrique
De Lome, the Spanish
Washington, To a friend in
Cuba. In it he criticized
President McKinley calling
him “weak and catering to
the rabble and besides, a
low politician”. This
intensified anti –Spanish
feelings in the US.
2. The U.S.S.Maine Incident
After a major riot had broken out in the streets
of Havana, President McKinley sent the
battleship U.S.S.Maine to Cuba in case
Americans had to be evacuated. For two
weeks the Maine sat in Havana harbor. Then
after a tremendous explosion rocked the
battleship, the ship sank, killing more than
Under great public pressure
McKinley asked Congress
to declare war on Spain.
A “Splendid Little War”
• The war lasted only 4
months. It began in the
Philippines and ended in
Cuba and Puerto Rico.
• In the Philippines Emilio Aguinaldo led the
rebel forces to fight the Spanish on his own. At
first, Aguinaldo believed the Americans were
his allies, but when American troops arrived in
the islands he became suspicious. The
Americans quickly seized the Philippine capital
of Manila from the Spanish but refused to
allow Aguinaldo’s forces into the city. Soon
hostilities between the Filipinos and the
Americans began to grow.
Meanwhile fighting had begun in Cuba.
Theodore Roosevelt quit his assistant
secretary of the navy job so that he could join
the fighting. He helped form the Rough
Riders—a mixture of cowboys, miners, college
athletes and law officers. Their most famous
battle was the battle of San Juan Hill
• The Spanish surrender
soon after a few major
defeats. Leaders met to
discuss the terms of a
Treaty of Paris
• 1. Cuba would become a “free
nation”—under the Platt
amendment the US would have
assess to naval and military bases in
Cuba and the right to intervene to
protect Cuban independence and
keep order—a protectorate
• 2. US would annex Puerto Rico & Guam
• In 1917 the US made PR citizens of the
• In 1947 the right to elect a governor.
• The debate over whether to grant PR
statehood, allow it to become an
independent country or continue it as a
commonwealth of the US continues
• 3. What to do about the Philippines?? Remain
true to its republican ideals or become an
How to combine imperialistic
intentions with the deep-seated
American beliefs in liberty and selfgoverning?
• Do we remain true to its republican ideals or
become an imperial power?
The Debate Raged On
Financial reasons: cost of an
•Military benefits—naval base empire far outweighed eco.
Eco. reasons: a flood of cheap
market for American goods
labor would lower wages
•Ideological reasons-duty to
Geo. reasons: it was a world
teach the “less civilized”
•Religious reasons-opportunity Basic racism against Filipinos
to convert Filipinos to
Military reasons: army could
be used at home
•A way to reinvigorate the
Anti-Imperialist League was
formed with Wm. J. Bryan as a
charter member as well as
Imperialism was immoral
• When I next realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I
confess I did not know what to do with them. I sought counsel from all
also. I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight;
and I am not ashamed to tell you, gentlemen, that I went down on my
knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance more than one
night. And one night late it came to me this way—I don’t know how it was,
but it came: (1) That we could not give them back to Spain—that would be
cowardly and dishonorable; (2) that we could not turn them over to
France and Germany—our commercial rivals in the Orient—that would be
bad business and discreditable; (3) that we could not leave them to
themselves—they were unfit for self-government—and they would soon
have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and (4) that
there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the
Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace
do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ
also died. And then I went to bed, and went to sleep, and slept soundly,
and the next morning I sent for the chief engineer of the War Department
(our map-maker), and I told him to put the Philippines on the map of the
United States (pointing to a large map on the wall of his office), and there
they are, and there they will stay while I am President!
The Philippine War
• The US quickly learned that controlling its new
empire would not be easy. Aguinaldo called
the American decision to annex his homeland
a “violent and aggressive seizure”. He ordered
his troops to attack the American soldiers in
The Philippine War
• The least remembered of all wars as well as on of
the longest 1898-1902 and most vicious.
• To fight the Filipino guerrillas Gen. Arthur
MacArthur adopted many of the same policies
that America had condemned Spain for using in
Cuba—re-concentration camps—thousands died,
a spirit of savagery grew (p. 708) 15 Filipinos
were killed for every one wounded-compared to
the US in the Civil War 1 died for every 5
• American engaged 200,000 deaths: 4,300
• Filipinos: more than 50,000
• Finally Emilio Aguinaldo, the Rebel leader, was
captured and declared his own allegiance to the
• William Howard Taft became the first governor
and announced an American mission—to get the
Philippines read for independence. He tried to
win the hearts and minds of the people by
reforming education, transportation and health
care. He built roads, bridges, RR etc., and slowly
the reforms reduced hostilities.
• In July 4, 1946 the island gained their