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Reasons why the US Became an Imperial Power Mr. Ferbert US II – Chapter 18(1)

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1 Reasons why the US Became an Imperial Power Mr. Ferbert US II – Chapter 18(1)

2 What is Imperialism? Imperialism is the policy in which stronger nations extend their economic, political, and/or military control over weaker nations Imperialism most often results in the stronger nation establishing a colony in the weaker nation to maintain its control European countries, by the late 19 th century, had established colonies on the following continents: Africa, Asia, South and Central America



5 US Tradition of Expansionism The US had a tradition of expansionism long before it become imperialistic In 1803 the US purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, doubling the size of the country In 1819 Spain ceded Florida to the US In 1823 president Monroe issued the Monroe Doctrine, warning European countries to stay out of the Western hemisphere (Latin America) because it was our sphere of influence In the 1840s most Americans believed in the Manifest Destiny of the US... that it was our destiny as a country to expand from sea to sea In 1845 the US annexed Texas which at that time considered itself independent

6 US Tradition of Expansionism In 1846 Great Britain ceded the Oregon Territory (WA, OR, ID and part of WY) to the US In the treaty that ended the US-Mexican War ( ) the US paid Mexico $15 million (about $350 million today) for the Mexican Cession – CA, NV, UT and parts of CO, NM, AZ & WY In 1853 the US purchased the southern parts of AZ and NM from Mexico for $10m In 1867 the US purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million... Most Americans thought it was a bad deal (boy were they wrong!!) In 1867 the US annexed the Midway Islands in the Pacific (two small atolls)


8 Key Factors that Fueled the New American Imperialism 1.Thirst for new markets to sell US goods 2.Desire for military strength to compete with, and gain the respect of, other world powers 3.Belief in our cultural superiority (Social Darwinism) and the benefits it could bring to less civilized people 4.Desire for a new frontier to settle in order to maintain Americas identity and prosperity

9 US Imperialism

10 Economic Reason Late 19 th century advances in technology enabled American farms and factories to produce far more than American citizens could consume – The US had suffered a depression in 1893 – unemployment was high and farmers were suffering greatly from overproduction, under consumption and low prices Overseas territories would provide the US with access to cheap raw materials it could use to fuel its factories to recapture its prosperity Overseas territories would provide US businesses and farmers access to new markets (places) to sell their surplus (extra) goods leading to higher prices, more profits and more jobs (A STRONG ECONOMY!)


12 Military/Political Reasons If the US was to become a respected and influential world power (like Great Britain and France) it too would need to establish a global military presence and acquire overseas territories American leaders, like TR and Alfred T. Mahan of the US Navy, urged government officials to build up the U.S. Navy in order to complete with other powerful nations and extend its influence globally – Overseas territories needed to support the new navy (coaling stations, repairs, military bases) – Navy needed to protect new territories and merchant ships trading near new territories



15 Cultural Reasons Some Americans combined the philosophy of Social Darwinism – a belief that the strongest economic nations would survive and thrive in a global free market – along with a belief in the racial superiority of Anglo-Saxons (white Americans of Northern & Western European descent) – to justify American Imperialism How Social Darwinism was used to justify overseas expansion: – Each race has a distinct mission and place in Gods plan. It is Gods plan that English speaking Anglo-Saxons rule the world and uplift inferior races (in Africa and Asia in particular) – The United States, a primarily Anglo-Saxon culture, had a responsibility to spread Christianity and civilization the worlds inferior peoples/races around the world. – US imperialism would provide the perfect opportunity to fulfill this responsibility while at the same time strengthen our economy


17 Cultural Reasons Overseas territories would provide the US with a new frontier to settle, explore and exploit - which was essential in order too... – Continue to be prosperous ( as they would provide new land to settle and natural resources to use) – Maintain our democratic values of equality, bravery, ingenuity, individualism and patriotism – Remain a great independent nation – Continue to have an outlet for the restless elements of American society


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