1038 Words5 Pages
Expansionism at the Turn of the Century Throughout its history, the United States has marked its progression through expansion; expansion of territory, expansion of ideas, and expansion of technology. At the turn of the century, the country had finished its westward expansion and was unsure of its future. How would the country continue to progress? Were all the “free” lands of the world finally claimed? The forever-expanding borders of the country had come to an abrupt halt, and the United States was not prepared for the feeling of stagnation. The American spirit still ran strong; move west, be free. At the same time, Americans did not want to invade other countries for the sake of expansion. The U.S. faced a collective battle between…show more content…
When Cuba rebelled again in 1895, the United States was primed and ready to involve itself in a new foreign land. Coupled with “yellow journalism,” which was embellishing stories for the sake of higher circulation, the plight of Cuban rebels captured the hearts of American citizens (Henretta & Brody, 2009, p. 616). The Spanish-American war served as a cure for American cabin fever, and helped materialize a foreign policy toward national expansion. As the U.S. Navy defeated Spain in the Philippines, it was determined that America needed to use this as an opportunity to get a foothold in the West Pacific. Beyond the physical expansion of occupying Manila, it enabled America to open a trade route with China, which was rapidly being gathered up by the other world powers. As soon as that decision was made, American expansionism once again made sense; its mission was clear. Its motives were no longer considered imperial; they were strategic. Hawaii was annexed in 1898 since it served as a waypoint on the trade route to China. Guam was to be used as a refueling station. The expansion was not limited to the Pacific; Puerto Rico became strategically important in the Caribbean, and plans to continue the French attempt at building a canal through Panama became a critical step in securing an efficient trade route to Asia (Herring, 2008, p. 316-320). The swiftness with which the U.S. acquired all these new territories proves that the American tradition of expansion was bottled up and ready to
Open Document