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Seizing an American Empire
Chapter 22 Guiding Questions
• What motivated America’s “new imperialism”?
• What was the role of religion as a motive for
American territorial expansion?
• What were the causes of the War of 1898?
• What did the United States gain from the War of
• What were the main achievements of President
Roosevelt’s foreign policy?
Imperialist Theory
• Many proponents for expansion used the concept
of Social Darwinism to bolster their claims on
foreign lands, citing the superiority of the Englishspeaking races over the colonies’ inhabitants.
American Expansion
In a critical comment on William H. Seward’s 1867
purchase of Alaska, this cartoon represents the
territory as a block of ice labeled “Russian America.”
Queen Liliuokalani
• American planters
flooded Hawaii due
to a boom in the
production of sugar.
• These planters then
requested territory
• The Hawaiian queen
sought to preserve
her nation’s
The sinking of the Maine in Havana
• The uproar created by the incident and its
coverage in the “yellow press” helped to push
President William McKinley to declare war.
Yellow Journalism
• The actions of the Spanish would be luridly
portrayed by Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World
and William Randolph Hearst’s New York
Journal newspapers, then locked in a
competition for the most readers.
• The newspapers engaged in sensationalist
stories about Cuba that were dubbed “yellow
Manila and The Cuban Campaign
The Debate over Annexation
McKinley – Page 912 (Tindall)
American motivation for imperialism:
1. National Glory
“dishonorable” to give them back to Spain
2. Commerce
“bad business” to turn them over to France or Germany
3. Racial Superiority
“unfit for self-government”
4. Evangelism
”uplift and civilize and Christianize them”
“Well, I Hardly Know Which to Take First!”
At the end of the nineteenth century, it seemed
that Uncle Sam had developed a considerable
appetite for foreign territory.
“The Open Door”
• Germany, France, Russia,
and Great Britain began
dividing China up into
markets for their
• Unwilling to accept a
China that was divided so
many ways, the United
States issued the Open
Door Note, which
proposed leaving China
open to trade by all
U.S. troops marching in Beijing after quelling the Boxer Rebellion.
• A group of Chinese
nationalists known as the
Boxers would rebel
against the foreign
encroachments into their
• They were eventually put
down by intervention
from a joint assault of
British, German, Russian,
Japanese, and American
Digging the Canal
President Theodore Roosevelt operating a steam shovel during his
1906 visit to the Panama Canal.
• The Spanish American
War revealed the
need for a canal
between the two seas.
• The United States now
set out to build one
through Panama.
• The canal would
eventually open in