Explanation Of American Imperialism

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In 1898, we claimed that the Spanish had blown up the USS Maine in Havana Harbor (which was actually an accidental combustion) in order to justify going to war with Spain. The Spanish-American War was fought all over the world; in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Manila, and a few other places. America defeated Spain in 113 days, and the Treaty of Paris was signed, giving the United States Cuba and the rest of the Spanish Empire, both in the Caribbean and the Pacific for $20 million; a bargain. As promised in the Teller Amendment, the US gave Cuba its independence but placed on them certain conditions in the Platt Amendment. One of the conditions was that the US could trade freely with Cuba. This opened up more ports for American corporations, particularly Havana and Santiago. The US also received Puerto Rico, another Caribbean island-nation with great trade opportunities in cities like San Juan. We also gained Guam, which would become important later in World War II, and the Philippines. The Philippines became a center of controversy in American politics at the time. Many congressmen did not want to have the Philippines, believing it to be too great of a burden. Reluctantly, McKinley accepted it. Now, the US had a foothold it could use to get access into Asia. During this entire conflict, the European powers (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia) had carved up China and Africa into “spheres of influence” for themselves to keep. Although the US had just received many ports to trade with, it didn’t completely satisfy the American economy. So, naturally, the US wanted to be able to access these Asian ports, especially Hong Kong. Secretary of State John Hay dispatched his famous Open Door note, which urged the European nations to keep fair competition open to all nations willing and wanting to participate. This became the “Open Door Policy.” All the powers
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