Why did the United States extend itsinfluence to other regions in the late1800s?
The U.S. spent the first half of the 1800’s fulfilling Manifest Destiny, the ideathat the U.S. should spread from the Atlantic to the Pacific.By the end of the Civil War,the U.S. had stretched out across North America. By the end of the 1800’s, the U.S. was looking to expand its territory and influence even further.The U.S. wanted to find new lands and trading partners to use for resources and selling American goods.
The U.S had tried its best to stay out of theaffairs of the world throughout the 1800’s. The U.S. had practiced isolationism, or avoiding the affairs of other countries. The U.S. had watched the Europeannations as they practiced imperialism, thebuilding of empires by imposing economic and political control over them. Americans began to realize thatimperialism was the next step in Manifest Destiny.The economy of America had outgrown itspeople. It made more things than could be sold in the U.S. New overseas markets were needed.
The U.S. needed new places to trade, but European nations were claimingareas all over the world to spread their influence.Africa and Asia were being carved up by European powers. New territories wouldn’t just give the U.S. new trading partners, but new areas to find natural resources.Other people thought that the values of the white Americans should be spreadto the “lesser” civilizations of Africa and Asia.Christianity was one of the major ideas these people wished to spread.
The Japanese had closed their ports for trade for over 250 years. Japan had closed its door to the outside world in the 1600’s to avoid being colonized by countries like Spain and Portugal. They remained more of a feudal country instead of modernizing. People could not come to or leave Japan from 1633 to 1853. Hoping to expand trade to an entirely new market, CommodoreMatthew Perry of the U.S. Navy was sent to Japan with 4 ships in 1853.He carried a message from President Millard Fillmore asking Japan to start trading. Perry used his powerful ships to scare the Japanese into trading, and seeing no alternative, the Japanese agreed to trade with the U.S. Not wanting to be taken advantage of again, the Japanese began to modernize their military and economy and would begin to develop into the world power they were in the World Wars.
In 1867, Alaska was a Russian colony.U.S. Secretary of State William Sewardthought that having Alaska would help to protect the U.S. and also expand in the Pacific. Seward arranged to buy Alaska fromRussia for $7.2 million, roughly 2 cents an acre.Alaska is roughly twice as big as Texas,but was not accepted by the American people as a good purchase. They called his purchase “Seward’s Folly” because they saw Alaska as a waste of money… until gold was discovered there in the late 1800’s.
Why did the United States expand its rolein the Pacific?
Hoping to expand further into in the Pacific, expansionists in the U.S. were interested in Hawaii. Aside from being a paradise, Americans wanted Hawaii to serve as a military and commercial base in the Pacific.American missionaries had lived in Hawaii forseveral decades, but sugar plantation owners moved to Hawaii to grow more and more sugar. The owners forced the Hawaiian king,Kalakaua, to give them more rights and power.His daughter, Liliuokalani, took over when the king died and didn’t want plantation owners telling her what to do. She wanted to keep Hawaii an independent country.
The plantation owners in Hawaii began to stage an uprising in 1893. The queen was overthrown and the American plantation owners wanted Hawaii to become part of the United States.President Grover Cleveland was not infavor of adding the Hawaii to the U.S. because it was its own country.President William McKinley came after Cleveland and supported Hawaii becoming part of the U.S.Congress voted to make Hawaii a U.S. territory in 1898.
The islands of Samoa are out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Americans, British, andGermans all traded in Samoa. The Americans and Germanseventually divided Samoa into two groups of islands, each taking control of one and building naval bases. American Samoa became aterritory of the United States.
China was very vulnerable in the late 1800’s. They had lost wars and were not in aposition to fight off European powers and Japan who wanted to trade and take advantage of their resources. These countries set up spheres of influence, areas where countries havespecial rights and economic and political control.Fearing exclusion from trading with China, Secretary of State John Hay suggested that there be an “open door policy” in China. He wanted to make sure allcountries would be able to trade in China, not just those who had secured spheres of influence.
Many Chinese disliked all of the foreignersthat came to China to trade and secure their resources.A secret group called the “Righteous Fists ofHarmony,” also known as the “Boxers” began a campaign to rid China of foreigners. Students of the martial arts, the Boxers believed that they were invincible to thebullets of the European nations as well as the U.S. and Japan.Eventually the Boxers were killed when their bullet theory was proven false.China would be opened up for trade but the U.S. would attempt to preserve China as a country that wouldn’t be cut up by other countries.
Japan and Russia ignored the Open-Door Policy, and did not respect China’s borders.The two countries fought in the Russo-Japanese War, beating each other into a stalemate. President Teddy Roosevelt helped end the conflict by encouragingthe countries to sign the Treaty of Portsmouth in the United States.Roosevelt was eager to slow down the Japanese, who looked to be much stronger, and a threat to the U.S. Many Japanese moved to the U.S. after the Russo-Japanese War, and were treated poorly. The relationship between the Japanese and the Americans was tough at times, but improved when Teddy Roosevelt sent themighty Great White Fleet around the world, showing off the naval power of the U.S. Japan and the U.S. were on better terms… until the 1930’s.
How did the Spanish-American War helpthe United States become a world power?
Cuba had been ruled by Spain since the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Cubans were unhappy with Spanish rule and attempted a rebellion that failed in 1868. They tried again in 1895 to overthrow the Spanish.To keep a better eye on the Cubans, the Spanish put Cubans into concentration camps.200,000 Cubans died because of little food and poor sanitation. Many Cubans lived in exile in America becausethey were not safe in Cuba. Jose Marti was one of the Cuban leaders who wanted the U.S. to help liberate (free) Cuba from the Spanish.
Many Americans wanted the U.S. to help the Cubans get rid of the Spanish. Many people had money invested into sugar and riceplantations in Cuba, and they were not safe if war was to break out.Presidents Cleveland and McKinley were not interested in helping Cuba.Newspaper editors William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer were both interested in a war with Spain toincrease newspaper sales. Both would try to make Cuba sound way more bloody than it was. They would publish shocking stories and headlines that exaggerated conditions in Cuba. This type of reporting was called “Yellow Journalism.” Their stories would lead to more and more Americans disliking the Spanish.
Fighting broke out between the Spanish and Cubans in Havana, the capital of Cuba in 1898.Worried about the American lives and property inCuba, President McKinley ordered the battleshipUSS Maine to go to Havana to protect American investments.Mysteriously, while docked in Havana Harbor, the USS Maine exploded on February 15, 1898. No one truly knows why the Maine exploded, though at the time Americans suspected the Spanish. “Remember the Maine” became the cry in America, and many demanded that war was the only way to get revenge.Congress declared war on Spain on April 20, 1898.
Though most people thought fighting would immediately take place in Cuba, the U.S. and Spain first did battle in the Philippines, half a world away. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt sent a message ordering the U.S. Pacific Fleet commanded by Commodore George Dewey to head to the Philippines to be ready if war broke out.When war broke out, Dewey sunk the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay, near the capital of the Philippines.Dewey then helped Emilio Aguinaldo, a Filipino rebel, in fighting the Spanish in the Philippines. They too wanted their independence from Spain.The Americans were not so much interested in Filipino independence as they were expanding themselves. They would have to fight Aguinaldo later on after he realized what they were doing.
American forces arrived in Cuba in June of 1898.They were unprepared to fight, missing supplies and wearing uniforms made of wool in the tropical climate.Prior to being President, Teddy Roosevelt quit his job as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to join a volunteer cavalry group known as the Rough Riders. Roosevelt helped to lead an attack against San Juan Hill to take a fort from the Spanish. The U.S. Army had both black and whiteregiments fighting together, but still in separate groups. The Spanish fleet was sunk by the U.S. Navy inSantiago. Soon after the Spanish troops on Cuba surrendered.
The U.S. movedon to the island of Puerto Ricoand quickly took control of it. After Puerto Rico fell the Spanish knew itwas time to quit fighting and asked for an armistice, or a cease-fire, untila treaty could be made..
The Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898. It gave the islands of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island to the U.S. In return the U.S. gave Spain $20 million. The Cubans were granted their independence from Spain, who agreed to uphold it. Many Americans thought that the treaty gave the U.S. colonies that they should not have. The Declaration of Independence said everyone had the right to govern themselves.Many Americans also pointed out that the U.S. was not happy as 13 colonies because of how they were treated. Expansionists saw these new lands as a victory. They would now have new areas to gain resources and to sell products to. Expansionists also hoped to spread American democracy all over the world.
Cuba’s hope for true independence was short-lived. Hoping to make sure Cuba didn’t fall under the power of another major country if left independent, they were forced to agree to the Platt Amendment when writing their new Constitution.The Platt Amendment forced Cuba to let the U.S. make major decisions for them. They could not borrow money or make treaties without the approval of the U.S. Congress.The U.S. military was able to remain in Cuba and a naval base was built at Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. made Cuba a protectorate, a country controlled by another country.Puerto Rico similarly had the Foraker Act passed. The U.S. appointed the governor of Puerto Rico.The economy and education system of Puerto Rico were molded by the U.S. They were made U.S. citizens in 1917.
The people of the Philippines were upset when the U.S. took control of their islands. They saw the U.S. as just another country who shouldn’t be in control of their islands.Emilio Aguinaldo, who had helped the U.S. before to get rid of Spain, now led a revolt against the U.S.20,000 Filipinos and 4,000 Americans were killed in the fighting. Aguinaldo was killed in 1901, and the fighting stopped after his death. The U.S. would not allow the Philippines to become independent until after World War II in 1946.
How did the beliefs of U.S. presidentsshape Latin American foreign policies?
The U.S. Navy as wellas any other ships had a long journey ahead of them to go from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. The journey would force a ship to goaround South America to move from one ocean to the other. A shorter route wasneeded, and President Teddy Roosevelt wanted to find it.
The isthmus of Panama was only 50 miles wide and perfect for a canal.Panama was a part of the South American country of Colombia. President Roosevelt offered $10 million plus$250,000 rent every year to gain control of a 6 mile strip of land. People in both the U.S. and Colombia opposed the deal. Many in the U.S. felt it was wrong to control more overseas territory. Colombians thought that the rights to control thecanal would be worth more than the money the U.S. would pay them for it.The Colombians chose to hold out for a better deal.
Roosevelt saw a chance to get what hewanted without bargaining with Colombia. Roosevelt knew the people of Panama didnot wish to live under the rule of Colombia,and quietly told the Panamanians that theU.S. would support them if they wanted to fight for their independence.American gunboats and marines made sure that the Colombians could not send reinforcements to Panama. Roosevelt’s “gunboat diplomacy” allowed Panama to declare independence. Panamaimmediately chose to give the U.S. a 10 mile zone to make a canal and took the original deal of $10 million plus $250,000 a year for rent.
Construction of the Panama Canal began in 1904.Engineers faced widespread malaria and yellow fever while working. The conditions made working impossible. Mosquitoes were the cause of both diseases anddoctors went about clearing swamps and other areas where mosquitoes hatched. Getting rid of the mosquitoes greatly reduced how many people got sick. The workers built a series of locks and dams thatwould allow ships to be raised or lowered to different levels throughout the canal.Rain, mudslides, and heat helped to cause dangerous conditions. 6,000 workers died building the canal. The canal opened in 1914.
Roosevelt was an impatient man and he made sure countries knew he was willing to use the military when diplomacy didn’t work. He wanted to make sure that the countries ofEurope did not try to become too strong by building new colonies in Latin America.He also didn’t want countries in Latin America to be under the control of European powers. Roosevelt’s message, called the Roosevelt Corollary, ensured that the U.S. would be the“policeman” of the western hemisphere and would prevent other European countries from trying to control Latin America.This message continued in the spirit of the MonroeDoctrine, which had said that the U.S. should be the only major power in the western hemisphere.
William H. Taft was President after Roosevelt.He believed in dollar diplomacy, or making economic ties with countries to expand American influence. Many Latin American nations were given money or had money invested by Americans. Whenthese countries became unstable, the U.S. marines were sent it to protect American investments, similar to what had been done in Cuba.Nicaragua, Honduras, and Haiti allhad American marines called in to keep the peace.
Mexico had a revolution lasting from 1911 to 1917.President Woodrow Wilson hoped the new government ofMexico would be similar to the government of the U.S. Heused “moral diplomacy,” and felt that the U.S. had to help Latin America build strong elected governments. Wilson did nothing for a long time but keep an eye on Mexico and hoped things would turn out well.American sailors in Veracruz were arrested mistakenly, andmany Americans were angered. President Wilson sent theNavy to occupy Veracruz, pushing Mexico and the U.S. close to war.Making matters worse, a rebel and criminal named Pancho Villa was raiding U.S. border towns in the southwest. General John J. Pershing led part of the U.S. Army intoMexico to chase and capture Villa, but failed. The Mexican did not like American troops marching through theirterritory, even though the president of Mexico allowed it.