US expansionism and economic growth

  1. Reasons for American Imperialism
  • Industrialisation
    • Increased need to trade internationally
    • Product surplus
  • Militarisation
    • Construction of naval ships and ports
  • Increasing influences of Social Darwinism
    • The belief of having to bring civilisation (democracy, industry and Christianity) to ‘inferior’ societies

2. Contemporary Opposition to US Expansionism

  • The American Anti-Imperialist League (Established in 1898)
    • To battle the American annexation of the Philippines as an insular area
    • Argued that the Spanish-American War was a war of imperialism under the guise of a war of liberation
    • However, they did not oppose expansion on commercial, constitutional, religious, or humanitarian grounds
    • Represented an older generation who were soon overturned by public opinion during the 1900 election, and the actions of Congress and the president because most younger Progressives who were just coming to power supported imperialism.

3. William McKinley/Theodore Roosevelt

  • The Spanish-American War
    • This marked the USA’s first time getting involved in foreign political affairs
    • Treaty of Paris resulted in temporary American control over Cuba and indefinite colonial control over Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines
  • The Philippine-American War
    • Conflict arose when the First Philippine Republic objected to the terms of the Treaty of Paris, under which the United States took possession of the Philippines from Spain after the Spanish-American War
    • Under the 1902 “Philippine Organic Act,” passed by the U.S. Congress, Filipinos initially were given very limited self-government, including the right to vote for some elected officials such as a Philippine Assembly
  • The Panama Canal
    • The United States recognized the new “government” of Panama and dictated America’s rights to a canal in Panama when a small group of Panamanians declared independence from Columbia
      • Sent American warships to defend them from Colombian troops
    • The canal shortened the distance and time for ships to travel between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean
      • Allowed significant economic growth
      • Made the USA a world power as its maritime power was boosted
  • Roosevelt advocated expanding the military, naval power especially, to protect and promote American interests abroad
    • Construction of eleven battleships between 1904 and 1907
    • Multiple US interventions in Latin America
      • Reaffirmation of the Monroe Doctrine and its expansion by declaring that the U.S. had the right to preemptive action through intervention in any Latin American nation to correct administrative and fiscal deficiencies

4. The Social Gospel Movement

  • A Protestant movement in the USA and Canada
    • Applied Christian ethics to social problems, especially issues of social justice
  • Defining theologian Walter Rauschenbusch railed against what he regarded as the selfishness of capitalism and promoted a form of Christian Socialism that supported the creation of labour unions and cooperative economics
  • The American Missionary Association
    • A Protestant-based abolitionist group founded on September 3, 1846, in Albany, New York whose main purpose was to abolish slavery, educate African Americans, advocate for racial equality, and promote Christian values
    • The nineteenth-century missionary effort was strong in China and East Asia
  • This resulted in Lyndon B. Johnson’s longtime commitment to social justice, as exemplified by the Great Society, and his commitment to racial equality.
    • The Social Gospel explicitly inspired his foreign-policy approach of a sort of Christian internationalism and nation-building

5. The Open Door Policy

  • A U.S. doctrine established in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, as expressed in Secretary of State John Hay’s “Open Door Note,” dated September 6, 1899
    • Dispatched to major world powers (France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan, and Russia)
    • To keep China open to trade with all countries on an equal basis, keeping anyone power from total control of the country
    • Rooted in the desire of U.S. businesses to trade with Chinese markets
  • Formation of the policy
    • The USA’s attempt to safeguard American business opportunities and other interests in China after the Sino-Japanese Wars
  • The Monroe Doctrine
    • A U.S. foreign policy regarding domination of the Americas in 1823
    • Stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention. At the same time, the doctrine noted that the United States would neither interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries
      • Was to free the newly independent colonies of Latin America from European intervention and avoid situations that could make the New World a battleground for the Old World powers, so that the United States could exert its influence undisturbed.

6. The Banana Wars

  • A series of occupations, police actions, and interventions involving the United States in Central America and the Caribbean
  • Largely economic reasons – the U.S. interventions were connected to the preservation of American commercial interests in the region
  • Panama and the Canal
    • Theodore Roosevelt convinced Congress to take on the abandoned works in 1902, while Colombia was in the midst of the Thousand Days’ War
    • The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed between Frenchman Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla, who had promptly been appointed Panamanian ambassador to the United States (representing Panamanian interests), and the U.S. Secretary of State John Hay
      • Allowed for the construction of a canal and U.S. sovereignty over a strip of land 10-miles wide and 50-miles long on either side of the Panama Canal Zone
      • In that zone, the United States would build a canal, then administer, fortify, and defend it “in perpetuity.”
  • Honduras and the American Fruit Companies
    • Honduras, where the United Fruit Company and Standard Fruit Company dominated the country’s key banana export sector and associated land holdings and railways, saw the insertion of American troops in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924, and 1925.
    • Multiple fruit companies concluded agreements with the government of Honduras due to different avenues
      • The most popular avenue was to obtain a grab on a piece of land in exchange for the completion of railroads in Honduras
    • The ultimate goal in the acquisition of a contract was to control the bananas, from production to distribution
      • Therefore, American companies would finance guerrilla fighters, presidential campaigns, and governments
  • Mexico
    • Americans conducted the Border War with Mexico from 1910 to 1919 for additional reasons: to control the flow of immigrants and refugees from revolutionary Mexico (pacifico), and to counter rebel raids into U.S. territory
    • 1914 U.S. occupation of Veracruz was aimed at cutting off the supplies of German munitions to the government of Mexican leader Victoriano Huerta
    • The United States also was sensitive to the regional balance of power against Germany in the years before World War I

7. Dollar Diplomacy

  • Foreign policy created by U.S. Pres. William Howard Taft (served 1909–13) and his secretary of state, Philander C. Knox
    • To ensure the financial stability of a region while protecting and extending U.S. commercial and financial interests there
  • Washington worked with bankers to provide loans to Latin American nations in exchange for some level of control over their national fiscal affairs

8. The United States in the Pacific

  • Hawaii
    • Mainly economical reasons as Hawaii’s main economies were sugar and whaling
      • Important shipping location as it was halfway between America and Asia
    • The USA needed sugar from Hawaii after their Cuban sugar supply was halted after the Spanish-American war
  • Alaska
    • Russia sold Alaska to the USA for just over $7 million in 1867
    • William Seward, the Secretary of State, wanted to purchase Alaska
      • He thought this was a possible way to convince Canada to become part of the U.S.
      • He thought Alaska would provide closer ports to China.