American Expansion Overseas
the policy of establishing colonies and building empires for economic gain,
national prestige, and religious or missionary purposes.
powers of the 1400's and 1500's (Great Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands,
and Portugal) long ago started building their colonies.
the mid-1800s much of the world was colonized or had experienced colonization
(Africa, Asia, South America).
the age of New Imperialism powerful nations with few colonies began to compete
for un-colonized land to become more powerful (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan,
technology, especially military technology, enabled European nations and Japan
to colonize less developed countries.
colonies served as sources of raw materials and as markets for manufactured
products produced in the colonizing country.
many Americans did not want the U.S. to become a colonial power due to memories
of America's own colonial past and the democratic spirit of the American
Revolution and War for Independence.
West already functioned much like a colony because Americans could always move
people and business to the West when conditions were bad in the East. Manifest
Destiny was America’s version of expansionism. Cheap land to the West provided
opportunity to many.
"Seward's Folly" and "Seward's Icebox" of 1867 for $7 million were terms applied as critiques of Secretary of State William Seward's plan to purchase Alaska from Russia.
Gold was discovered in Alaska in 1897; people realized that Alaska was a bargain and
began to favor acquisition of additional territory.
the late 1800's America was a leading exporter of both agricultural goods and
manufactured products. At the same time the U.S. faced serious competition in
overseas markets and needed raw materials from overseas.
business leaders and farm groups started to lobby the government to work to keep
markets open overseas. However prior to 1898 it was mainly preachers, scholars,
politicians, and military leaders who advocated expansionism, not business
Strong, a minister who wrote the book "Our Country", argued that the
American branch of the "Anglo Saxon race" had to civilize the peoples
of Latin America, Asia, and Africa through colonization.
responded to the new attitude and expanded the capabilities of the Navy,
established the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and by 1895, the "Great
White Fleet" with tough steel sheets to protect the hulls and
superstructures, was under construction.
sympathies were with the plight of the Cubans in their struggle with Spain.
were poor, working for starvation wages, while wealthy landowners controlled the
land and economy. Spanish misrule and economic crisis angered both the landless
working poor and landowners. Also in 1894 the Wilson-Gorman Tariff placed a 40%
duty on raw sugar...the main crop in Cuba piled up in warehouses.
was a Cuban
Revolution in 1895 (and previously in 1868). Spanish General Valeriano Weyler
"The Butcher" was responsible for the suffering of thousands: concentration camps, death, destruction, economic
chaos, starvation and disease resulted.
first the American government adopted policy of neutrality since legally the
issue did not concern the U.S.
Americans had invested more than $50 million in Cuban plantations,
transportation projects, and businesses.
Marti, Hispanic American prose writer, aroused sympathy for the plight of the
newspapers inflamed public opinion. William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal
and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World,
used sensationalism to
increase sales. They supported revolutionists.
newspapers across the country imitated the successful strategies of Hearst and
Pulitzer, even conservative papers argued that the US had a responsibility to
restore order in Cuba.
McKinley attempted to avoid war for fear of disrupting the American economy and
returning it to a depression.
9, 1898, newspapers printed a letter stolen from the Spanish minister (in the
mail) and critical of McKinley.
16, The Battleship Maine was sunk with 250 lives lost after an explosion (had
been sent to protect American lives and property). Americans jumped to
conclusion that Spain was responsible.
declared war on April 19, 1898 despite Spanish concessions.
Resolution: US claimed no "sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control" over
Cuba, respected right of Cubans to select their own government.
George Dewey in Hong Kong with a fleet was sent to the Philippines, the center
of Spanish power in the Pacific. Americans defeated the Spanish navy in a day
due to the superior range of American guns. On May 1, the Spanish lost 170 men,
Americans lost just one of heatstroke. Manila surrendered on August 14, 1898
after American transports arrived with a strong landing party. U.S. had the
support of the army of Emilio Aguinaldo, Filipino patriot.
the Caribbean the American navy destroyed the Spanish fleet as they left
Santiago and attempted to make it to the open sea.
the war started, U.S. had only 28,000 in the military. After war was declared,
200,000 volunteered .
resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to lead the Rough Riders in Cuba. He
led the famous charge up San Juan Hill above Santiago.
first American troops in Cuba were poorly trained and equipped, had inadequate
and low quality food, equipment, medicine, and supplies. Hundreds died
needlessly of dysentery, typhoid, malaria, and yellow fever
Barton directed the American Red Cross and provided aid.
fought on June 24, 1898, and Spanish surrendered by July 17, 1898. The War
lasted only about one month.
October 1898 Peace Treaty. The Spanish surrendered Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, &
Philippines, America paid Spain $20 million. Congress annexed Wake Island in the
In 1898 Expansionists were pleased that America now had overseas possessions in
addition to the Midway Islands. Was it wise and proper for the U.S. to behave as
the European nations and join the race for empire? What about the national
aspirations of the conquered peoples? How were these aspirations dealt with by