History of American Imperialism Essay

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Ever since American Revolution, United States has embraced American Imperialism. Imperialism is a practice whereby powerful nations or persons seek to maintain and expand his control or create influence over weaker parties. The dichotomy in the politics of America, which involves way in which the nation operate has greatly influenced other nations.

In addition, American’s occupation which involves both the trade sector as well as the culture has as well created an influential impact towards other nations. This gave a rise on an imperialistic policy which America has adopted by taking over other countries. A number of factors which were rationalized contributed to adoption of this policy in America.

First, economic advantage was the major factor that made the United States to adopt imperialism policy in 1890s. This was the greatest contributor of the policy expansion aimed at controlling economic, political and military institutions. Seeking for markets in other nations was seen as the easiest way of colonizing them since America had noticed and identified investment opportunities in other nations such as Hawaii and Philippine and was determined to have power over them.

Additionally the Americans considered the cheap labor that the oversea territory had which promised production at low cost. More importantly, these oversea lands were rich with raw material that American manufacturing could use easily (May, E. R 1968).

Secondly, according to Perlo (1951), Nationalism facilitated to the adoption of imperialism in America. The extreme nationalist or the jingoists amplified the Americans attitude of “we’re as good as European nations”.

This created awareness of the Anglo-Saxon benefit on the west shore of Atlantic, resulting into America expanding its growth, which was incorporated with protection of its existing territories as well as the oversea territories. To expand their territories, they acquired Guam, Hawaii, Samoa, Midway Island, Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. The third factor was the Religion.

The missionaries moved out to convince the inhabitant that they had what is “the best.” They sought to convert people from other nations and as a result religion planted an important role in imperialism adoption as discovery of potential lands in other nations was achieved through it, which American was after. For example, in their mission of Christianizing Hawaii in 1850, the perfect sugar-growing climate was discovered (Lovestone, 1924).

During this time, there was massive production of goods in American industries beyond its need for consumption and the State was focused on expansion of the market. In addition, America was against the way Spaniards were treating the Cubans which contributed to war between these two countries. The American intervention resulted in Spain declaring war on the United States which lasted for several months, with Spain being defeated. Additionally, the Philippines had achieved independence from Spain’s colonial rule.

However, American was not ready to recognize the Philippine’s declaration of independence and it formed Philippine Commission in order to show that Philippines was not ready for independence. This made Filipinos to declare war against the US, where the Philippines lost a million lives as well as getting defeated.

In addition, American was involved in operational factors which were seen as crucial on the ascension of the US to the position of world power. They included; construction of a canal in south America, expanding the US naval power and establishing trade and military posts in the pacific, aimed at stimulating trade with China (Perlo, 1951).

On the other hand, the American Anti-Imperialist league had different views concerning imperialism. The anti-imperialism emerged from an earlier era in America, opposing the American territory expansion as they viewed this as a violation of the republicanism credo, mostly where the “consent of the government” was needed.

However, they had no problem on expansion of other grounds such as commercial, religious, constitutional and humanitarian, rather, their views were based on argument that annexation and administration of backward tropical areas would lead to an America ideal of self-government being lost and isolated. In addition, they defended the overseas territories by claiming that a natural order allows total ownership of these lands by their inhabitants and colonizing them was an act against nature.

The anti-imperialist also argued that acquisition of more territories by northerners would lead to slavery. They constantly reminded the United States of its anti colonial heritage. Quoting Lincoln, they argued that there is no man perfect enough to control another man without permission from that man.

They also claimed that imperialism was too costly as it involved sending American troops to dangerous and resistant lands. On the other side, the anti-imperialist was racist as they opposed the idea of bringing non-whites under the American flag. They claimed that America should enjoy it freedom without interference of foreigners (Lovestone, 1924).

This policy has affected both the United States and other nations (ones involved in the imperialism and those that were not). American for instance have benefited from this policy in many way. Acquisition of cheap labor and vast production in foreign land has strengthened it economy significantly.

Moreover, the nation has acquired many raw materials’ grounds throughout the world due to its diverse location and exploration globally. For example, crude oil mines in the Middle East, agricultural produce in Africa and Asia and other mines from Europe and other continents have had the United States as their main customer.

The economic power has enabled the nation to strength it military and political bodies and it has retained its position of the most powerful nation; economically, politically and in security. On the other side, other nations involved in imperialism have gained much in technology advancement- as the United States locate its industries in these nations, ready market for their raw material as well as aid from America (May, 1968).

However, many nations have lived to fight against American control over their land, something that has aggravated the conflict between them and United States.

Attacks towards American bodies, both within America and in foreign countries, has been greatly contributed to resistance towards United States governance. The American action of interrogating the security departments of other nations has given rise to resistance reciprocation which has mostly portrayed terrorism approach towards the United States and its interests in other nations.

Reference List

Lovestone, J. (1924). American imperialism: the menace of the greatest capitalist world power. Winter Park: Workers party of America.

May, E. R (1968). American imperialism: a perspective essay. Detroit: Atheneum.

Perlo, V. (1951). American imperialism. New York: International publisher.

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