America as a Model Society Persistent expansion marked the first century of America’s history. After the Civil War, America purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million and acquired a naval coaling station on Midway Island near the Hawaiian chain which was eventually annexed in 1898. Attempts to annex Santo Domingo failed.
Profits: Searching for Overseas Markets Understanding the accepted model of national expansion, big business supported the building of a stronger navy and widespread coaling stations. The tremendous growth in American production saddled with the depression forced American business to seek markets overseas.
Patriotism: Asserting National Power Most Americans of the age saw expansion as an expression of national glory and greatness. Piety also came into play: there existed a missionary impulse to carry Western ideals to Christian lands around the globe. Politics also played a role: public opinion was emerging as a driving force in shaping political policy thanks to a highly competitive press.
The Road to War The Cuban struggle against Spain’s Gen. Weyler appealed to a country determined to avenge the weak. Sugar plantations also sparked national interest. When the U.S. Battleship Maine was sent to Havana and subsequently blown to bits, America had an excuse to wage war against Spain.
The most crucial battle of the Spanish- American war occurred in Manila Bay when the U.S. fleet destroyed the Spanish navy. A subsequent Treaty of Paris granted the 7,000 islands of the Philippines to America in return for a $20 million payment to Spain. The ratification of the treaty led to intense national debate over the nature of expansion on a global scale.
Foreign Policy as Darwinian Struggle Reading the theories of Charles Darwin as a young man, Theodore Roosevelt became convinced that life was a constant struggle for survival. To be militarily prepared and able to fight well were both tests of racial superiority and national greatness. In practical application, this meant maintaining large navies and the conviction to use them in the negotiations of diplomacy.
Taking the Panama Canal 1850 treaty designating the joint administration of the U.S. and England in building the canal nullified in 1901 by the British in exchange for assurances of global usage Where specifically to dig the canal and how to administrate the zone solved by U.S. sponsored revolution of Panama, then a province of Columbia Panamanian independence and the Hay and Bunau-Varilla treaty created Canal Zone to be controlled by America
Policing the Caribbean After Cuban independence, the U.S. forced the signing of the Platt Amendment which granted America many economic rights in Cuba and the naval base at Guantanamo Bay. This pattern was repeated throughout the Caribbean in a policy that became known as the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe doctrine.