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Becoming a World Power


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Title: Becoming a World Power

Becoming a World Power
  • (1890-1915)

I. The Pressure to Expand
  • The newly developed United States not only
    revolutionized the lives of all Americans, but it
    also forced them to strengthen ties with other
    nations more than ever before
  • Why?

A. Growth of Imperialism
  • European nations were claiming many different
  • Imperialism- where stronger nations attempt to
    create empires by dominating weaker nations
    economically, politically, culturally or
  • Was at its peak in the late 1800s

1. Why Imperialism Grew
  • Economic Factors- Increased need for natural
    resources and people to sell to
  • Nationalism- Devotion to ones nation (belief in
    a superior nation)
  • Militarism- Technology advances produced large,
    superior armies navies in industrialized
  • Humanitarian Factors- Religion and missionary

2. Europe Leads the Way
  • Improved transportation and communication helped
    Great Britain, France, and Russia to extend their
  • The sun never sets on the British Empire
  • By 1890, the U.S. was ready to join in the
    competition for new lands
  • Expansionist denied that the U.S. wanted to annex
    foreign lands ( join a new territory to the
    existing country)

B. Expanding U.S. Interests
  • The U.S. gradually increased in size during the
  • Sewards Folly 1867 (Alaska)
  • Seward annexed the Midway Islands in 1867
  • Hawaii in 1875
  • Ulysses S. Grant announced the Monroe Doctrine
    would be extended to protect all territories in
    the Caribbean and Latin America (It previously
    said the U.S. would remain neutral in European

C. Arguments for U.S. Expansion
  • There were many different opinions as to the
    appropriate foreign policy for the U.S. to use

1. Promoting Economic Growth
  • Overproduction was leading to financial panics
    and frequent economic depressions
  • New markets abroad needed to be secured
  • Business leaders argued economic problems would
    be solved by expanding
  • Some Americans invested directly in other
    nations economies (Banana Republics?)

2. Protecting American Security
  • The U.S. needed a powerful navy to protect the
    new markets abroad
  • The U.S. began expanding by building modern
    battleships and cruisers in the 1880s
  • By 1900, the U.S. had one of the most powerful
    navies in the world

3. Preserving American Spirit
  • Some (including Teddy Roosevelt) suggested that a
    quest for an empire might restore the countrys
    pioneer spirit
  • Drew on the doctrine of Social Darwinism to
    justify the takeover of new territories
  • Expansion was not only the nations destiny but
    also a noble pursuit, for it introduced
    Christianity and modern civilization to heathen
    peoples around the world
  • Survival of the fittest!

4. Americans Lean Toward Expansion
  • Public opinion gradually warmed to the idea of
  • What was soon discovered was that political and
    military entanglements would follow including a
    few difficult, bloody, and painful foreign

II. The Spanish-American War
  • President McKinley was very cautious in dealing
    with foreign affairs
  • Newspapers began pushing vivid headlines and
    controversial and exciting articles for readers
  • Newspapers did not cause the war, but they did
    help reinforce and magnify a new set of
    assumptions among the American people regarding
    their place in the world
  • The Journal staged the rescue of a young Cuban
    girl being held prisoner by the Spanish (1

A. Setting the Stage for War
  • Several incidents in the 1890s took place that
    allowed the U.S. to strengthen its role in Latin
    American affairs

1. Displays of United States Power
  • There were incidents in Chile and Brazil where
    the U.S. reacted to foreign rebellions
  • The first conflict between the U.S. and Britain
    came over disputed territory in Venezuela
  • The U.S. demanded Great Britain recognize the
    Monroe Doctrine and submit the boundary dispute
    arbitration (the settlement of a dispute by a
    person or panel chosen to listen to both sides
    and come to a decision)
  • Great Britain gave in

2. The Cuban Rebellion
  • Cubans were being taken prisoner and placed into
    guarded camps by the Spanish
  • Over 200,000 died of disease and starvation in
    less than 2 years
  • Cuban exiles urged the U.S. to intervene, but it
    was not until Cuban guerillas destroyed American
    sugar plantations located in Cuba that the U.S.
    would feel the pressure to act (businesses were
    losing )

3. Yellow Journalism
  • 2 different newspapers were reporting exaggerated
    and sometimes false stories about the events in
    Cuba in order to increase circulation
  • Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolf Hearst were
    the editors of the two different NYC newspapers
  • Sensational headlines and storiesyellow
  • Jingoism- burst of national pride and desire
    forms an aggressive foreign policy that followed

B. The Spanish-American War
  • Newspaper stories from the Journal and NY World
    strengthened American sympathy for the Cuban
  • Demand for intervention slowly developed

1. Steps to War
  • USS Maine (a U.S. battleship) was moved into
    Havana harbor to protect American citizens and
    property (1898)
  • Several events lead to the U.S. going to war
  • The de Lome letter- U.S. newspapers stole a
    letter from the Spanish Ambassador (de Lome)
  • The letter ridiculed President McKinley and
    caused a public outcry in the U.S.

  • The explosion of the U.S.S. Maine
  • More than 250 American sailors were killed
  • The blast was probably from a fire that set off
  • The American public put the blame on Spain
  • Newspapers jumped on the story to arouse bitter
    feelings towards Spain through yellow journalism

  • Preparing in the Philippines
  • Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Theodore
    Roosevelt) felt the Philippines were perfect to
    place a base to protect Asian trade
  • President McKinley allowed one General to keep
    men there in case war broke out with Spain
  • McKinleys war message
  • McKinley sent a list of demands to Spain
  • Spain denied Cuban independence so President
    McKinley and Congress authorized force against

2. A Splendid Little War
  • The first action of the Spanish-American war took
    place in the Philippines
  • Admiral Dewey (U.S.) launched a surprise attack
    against the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay and
    destroyed the entire Spanish Pacific fleet in 7
  • U.S. ships quickly bottled up Spains Atlantic
    fleet in Cuba

  • The U.S. prepared troops in Florida for an
    invasion of Cuba
  • The First Volunteer Cavalry aka the Rough Riders,
    led by Theodore Roosevelt, was the most public
    group in the war
  • Made up of cowboys, miners, policemen, and
    college athletes from the Ivy League schools
  • The most famous incident of the war was when the
    Rough Riders charged up San Juan Hill

  • The Spanish fleet made a last, desperate attempt
    to escape, but was completely destroyed
  • The U.S. lost 2,500 soldiers but only 400 from
  • Food poisoning, malaria, yellow fever, etc.
    claimed many
  • Future Secretary of State, John Hay, wrote Teddy
    saying the Spanish-American War had been, a
    splendid little war.

3. The Treaty of Paris
  • Treaty ended the war
  • Spain recognized Cuban independence
  • Spain gave up the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and
    Guam to the U.S. for 20 million
  • The treaty passed with great debate in U.S.
    Congress and the nations became unincorporated
    territories (not intended to become eventual

C. New Challenges After the War
  • Developing a policy for dealing with new
    territories proved to be difficult
  • How could the U.S. become a colonial power
    without violating the nations most basic
    principle (that all people have the right to

1. Dilemma in the Philippines
  • McKinley justified U.S. imperialism in the
    Philippines by
  • Saying they are unfit for self-government
  • Needed to be Christianized, civilized, and
  • Saying a European power would try to seize the
    islands if the U.S. didnt annex the Philippines
  • The Philippine rebels declared independence and
    the U.S. ignored them
  • There was a 3-year war/battle that followed and
    the Philippines never gained independence until

2. The Fate of Cuba
  • McKinley installed a military government in Cuba
    in order to protect American business interests
  • Organized a school system
  • Stabilized the economy
  • The U.S. removed troops only after Cuba agreed to
    the Platt Amendment
  • The Cuban government could not enter any foreign
  • Cuba must allow the U.S. to establish naval bases
  • Cuba must give the U.S. the right to intervene as

3. The United States and Puerto Rico
  • Puerto Rico did not become independent
  • The Jones Act of 1917 made Puerto Ricans American
  • The U.S. can appoint key officials (governor)
  • Based on Congressional Law, not the Constitution

D. Other Gains in the Pacific
  • Besides being involved in the Spanish-American
    War, the U.S. government was intervening in other
    parts of the Pacific Ocean

1. Annexation of Hawaii
  • Increasingly important to U.S. business interests
    in the late 1800s
  • Sugar was sold duty free to the U.S.
  • Pearl Harbor was leased to the U.S. as a fueling
    and repair station for naval vessels
  • The U.S. marines helped pineapple planter,
    Sanford Dole, to overthrow Queen Liliuokalai
  • Dole proclaimed Hawaii a republic and requested
    it be annexed by the U.S.
  • Congress agreed after persuasion from McKinley

2. Samoa
  • The Polynesian islands of Samoa presented another
    stepping stone to the growing trade with Asia
  • The U.S. divided Samoa with Germany and gained
    access to the harbor at Pago Pago

3. An Open Door to China
  • Many countries were seeking Spheres of influence
  • Areas of economic and political control
  • John Hay, the Secretary of State, spoke of
    keeping an Open Door Policy that would ensure the
    U.S. could have equal access to Chinas millions
    of consumers
  • Open trade (The U.S. is continually trying to
    protect economic interests!)

III. A New Foreign Policy
  • By 1900, the U.S. was a genuine world power
  • McKinley was assassinated in 1901 making his Vice
    President, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, President
    of the United States
  • Roosevelt continued to intervene in the affairs
    of countries that were of economic and strategic
    interest to the nation

A. The Panama Canal
  • The Spanish-American War showed the U.S. the need
    for a shorter route between the Atlantic and
    Pacific Oceans
  • A canal built across Central America would link
    the two oceans
  • Would make global shipping much faster and
  • Also, the U.S. Navy could move fast in times of

1. Building the Canal
  • The Isthmus of Panama was the ideal location
  • Panama was a province of Colombia
  • Colombia sold a 25-year concession to France to
    build the canal
  • Concession a grant for a piece of land in
    exchange for a promise to use the land for a
    specific purpose
  • France abandoned the project after disease and
    mismanagement made it fail
  • The U.S. purchased the rights from France but had
    to negotiate with Colombia to lease the land

  • The negotiations went nowhere
  • The U.S. supported Panamanian rebels to overthrow
    Colombian rulers
  • Once the overthrow was successful, the U.S. was
    given a permanent 10-mile wide strip of land for
    the Canal to be build
  • The U.S. would have complete sovereignty in
    return for a 10 million payment
  • It was finished in 1914

2. Reaction to the Canal
  • Roosevelts opponents felt that his methods of
    securing the Canal Zone were examples of foul
    play in American politics
  • Most, however, felt that the canal was necessary
    for national security and prosperity and approved
    of Roosevelts actions
  • Many Latin Americans felt ill will towards the
    U.S. for the methods used
  • The U.S. paid 25 million to Colombia to make up
    for the methods in 1921 (2 years after Roosevelt

B. Roosevelts Big Stick Diplomacy
  • Speak softly and carry a big stick you will go
    -Teddy Roosevelt (1901)
  • In his view, the big stick was the U.S. Navy
  • The threat of military force allowed Roosevelt to
    conduct an aggressive foreign policy.

1. Roosevelt Corollary
  • Messages issued to Congress in 1904-05
    collectively became known as the Roosevelt
    Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
  • Corollary extension of a previously accepted
  • Roosevelt denied that the U.S. wanted more
  • The U.S. would act as an international police
    power if
  • Other countries provoked intervention
  • Governments collapsed which would invite other
    stronger nations to try to intervene

  • In other words, the U.S. government would
    intervene to prevent intervention from other
  • Under Roosevelt, U.S. intervention in Latin
    America became common
  • This angered many Latin Americans
  • It also angered Congress because Roosevelt would
    make decisions without going through Congress
    first which increased the power of the President
    and decreased the power of Congress

2. Roosevelt as Peacemaker
  • In Asia, his chief concern was to preserve the
    open door to trade with China
  • Won a Nobel peace prize for negotiating a
    settlement to end the Russo-Japanese War
  • Succeeded in keeping trade in China open to all

C. Foreign Policy After Roosevelt
  • After Roosevelts forceful role in foreign
    policy, President William Taft and President
    Woodrow Wilson were forced to deal with a complex
    mix of political alliances

1. Taft and Dollar Diplomacy
  • From Ohio
  • Main foreign policy goals
  • Maintain an Open Door policy with China
  • Preserve stability in Latin America
  • Preferred substituting dollars for bullet
  • Maintained orderly societies by investing into
    foreign economies
  • Dollar Diplomacy was originally used to mock
    his methods, but Taft eventually used the phrase
    with pride

2. Wilson and the Mexican Revolution
  • Applied moral and legalistic standards to foreign
    policy decisions
  • Refused to support a butcher who was ruling
    without the consent of the people
  • Interfered in a Mexican Civil War by choosing to
    support one side
  • It did not go well at all and Mexican-American
    relations would be soured for years to follow

IV. Debating Americas New Role
  • There were a lot of Americans against
    imperialism, especially after the annexation of
    the Philippines in 1898.

A. The Anti-Imperialists
  • The Anti-Imperialist League was formed in 1898 by
    opponents of U.S. policy in the Philippines
  • Most members were wealthy professionals
  • William Jennings Bryan, Jane Addams, Mark Twain,

1. Moral and Political Arguments
  • Expansionist behavior was a rejection of the
    nations foundation of liberty for all
  • The Constitution must follow the flag
  • All the territories should have the same legal
    protections as the U.S. citizens
  • Imperialism threatened the nations democratic

2. Racial Arguments
  • Many anti-imperialists saw racism in imperialism
  • Racism is a belief that differences in character
    or intelligence are due to ones race
  • Most believed that Anglo-Saxon heritage was
  • African-Americans were especially torn by the
    racism involved in imperialism
  • Wanted to support their country
  • Recognized racism clearly was underlying

  • Southern Democrats feared imperialist policies
    would encourage people of different racial
    backgrounds to move to the U.S.
  • Hence, most opposed imperialism

3. Economic Arguments
  • Expansion involved too many costs
  • Having such a large military involved raising
    taxes and maybe even creating a compulsory
    (required) military service
  • Laborers from other countries coming to the U.S.
    would lower workers wages because of more

B. Imperialisms Appeal
  • Some looked to a new frontier as a way to keep
    Americans from losing their competitive edge
  • Was a celebration of American tradition and
    creative spirit
  • Many Americans shared this frontier mentality
  • Boy Scouts were created in 1910 and became
    immensely popular

  • Economically- many agreed that the emphasis
    needed to be on gaining access to foreign markets
    to sell American goods
  • Others embraced military reasons for expansion
  • The Great White Fleet- Roosevelt sent part of the
    U.S. Navy on a cruise around the world to
    demonstrate the benefits of having a powerful navy

C. Imperialism Viewed From Abroad
  • The U.S. often had to defend unpopular
  • Yankee, Go Home! began to be a slogan in Latin
  • Many complained of discrimination, yet many
    turned to the U.S. for help because of its
    growing power