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American Imperialism
Imperialism − The policy in which stronger nations extend their economic, political, or military control
over weaker territories
Spanish – American War
Anti-Spanish sentiments on the island of Cuba led to a rebellion. When the Spanish military forced
thousands into concentration camps, American newspapers used yellow journalism to lure
readers into the situation.
President McKinley sent the U.S.S. Maine to protect American lives and property. The ship was
exploded and sunk, and then “Remember the Maine” became the U.S. rallying cry for
intervention in Cuba.
Treaty of Paris 1898 − Ended the Spanish-American war and set forth the following:
• Cuba became independent
• Cuba became a U.S. protectorate, which is a country whose affairs are partially controlled by a
stronger power.
• U.S. gained the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam
• U.S. annexed the Philippine Islands for $20 million from Spain
• Gaining Puerto Rico was strategically important to the United States for maintaining a presence
in the Caribbean and for protecting the canal that would be built across the Isthmus of Panama.
U.S. Foreign Policy during the Age of Imperialism
Open Door Policy
U.S. Secretary of State John Hay called for the equal and open access to China’s coastal ports.
Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
Roosevelt believed in a West African proverb that said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go
far.” The U.S. claimed the right to protect its economic interests by means of military intervention in
the affairs of the western hemisphere nations.
Dollar Diplomacy
The policy of President Taft to use the U.S. government to guarantee loans made to foreign countries
by American business people.
Missionary Diplomacy
The policy of President Wilson states that the U.S. had a moral responsibility to deny recognition to
any Latin American government it viewed as oppressive, undemocratic or hostile to U.S. interests.
Three foreign policy goals achieved by the United States during the early 20th century
1. Expanded its access to foreign markets to ensure continued growth of domestic economy.
2. U.S. built a modern navy to protect its interests abroad.
3. U.S. exercised its international police power to ensure American dominance in Latin America.
After much effort to remain neutral, the United States was pulled into World War I due to its new
connections with these foreign countries. Following the involvement in WWI, the United States entered
a period of isolationism in which it withdrew from all involvement in world affairs.