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Creation of the U.S. Empire
Essential Questions
• Why did the United States abandon her
traditional isolationist foreign policy?
• Washington’s warning to stay out of foreign
• How did the United States expand her
influence in the world?
Essential Understandings
• Many twentieth-century American foreign policy
issues have their origins in America’s emergence
as a world power at the end of the nineteenth
• America’s intervention in World War I ensured
her role as a world power for the remainder of
the century.
• The growing role of the United States in
international trade displayed the American urge
to build, innovate, and explore new markets.
• During America’s Age of Imperialism, the
practice of extending power and dominion by
gaining political and economic control over
other areas established the United States as a
world power
• After the Civil War, pioneers settled the last
western frontiers and expansionists began to
look even further west.
• Imperialism – the economic and political
domination of a strong nation over other
weaker nations.
• Beginning in the 1880’s more people wanted
to make the US a world power
• Economic and military competition from other
nations, as well as a growing feeling of
superiority led to this shift in opinion
Economic Need: American
Farmers & industry needed new
markets for its goods & new
sources of raw materials
American duty
to spread its
culture to
Manifest Destiny:
God made it our
destiny to expand
Imperialist Needs
Alfred Mahan
U.S. needs strong
Free nearby
islands from
1. Economic: American Farmers and industry needed new
markets for its goods & new sources of raw materials
American Foreign Trade:
2. Military/Strategic Interests
U.S. needs
strong navy
Alfred T. Mahan  The Influence of Sea
Power on History: 1660-1783
3. Social Darwinist Thinking
American duty to spread its
superior culture to others
The White Man’s
4. Religious/Missionary Interests
Manifest Destiny: God made it
our destiny to expand
• Europe had been expanding for many years
• The use of tariffs had reduced trade between
industrial countries forcing them to look
overseas for places to sell their products
• Europeans looked overseas for places to invest
• To protect their investments, they began
exerting control over those territories where
they invested their capital and sold their
products making some protectorates.
• Protectorate: imperial power allowed local rulers
to remain in control while protecting them
against rebellion and invasion
• The expansion of Europe overseas moved
Americans to want to do the same
• Many supporters of Social Darwinism argued that
nations competed politically, economically, and
militarily, and only the strongest would survive
• Some believed in Anglo-Saxonism
• Anglo-Saxonism – the idea that the Englishspeaking nations had superior character, ideas,
and systems of government and were destined to
dominate the planet
• American leaders thought the United States
needed a powerful navy
• A navy could protect the merchant ships and
defend its right to trade with other countries
• By the 1890’s the US was on its way to becoming
a great naval power
Expansion in the Pacific
• Japan in the 1800’s only traded with China and
the Dutch
• In 1852 President Pierce ordered Commodore
Matthew C. Perry to negotiate a peace treaty
with Japan
• The Japanese, impressed by American technology
and power, signed a treaty opening two ports to
American trade
• By the 1890’s, Japan had a powerful navy and set
out to build its own empire in Asia
U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry
Opens Up Japan: 1853
Japan no longer
Expansion in the Pacific
• Americans were interested in Hawaii also
• Sugarcane grew well there and by the mid1800s there were many sugarcane plantations
• In 1875, the US removed tariffs on Hawaiian
sugar and the planters grew wealthy
• An 1890 tariff gave subsidies to US sugar
growers and the Hawaiian sugar became more
Expansion in the Pacific
• In 1891, Queen Liliuokalani became ruler
• She disliked American influence and tried to
reestablish her authority
• The planters overthrew her government and
forced her to give up power
• They set up their own government
• The United States annexed Hawaii five years
Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani
Hawaii for the
U.S. in the Pacific & Asia
Hawaii: U.S.
business leaders
fund a
U.S. military
prevents help
from reaching
U. S. Business Interests In Hawaii
1893 – American
businessmen backed an
uprising against Queen
 Sanford Ballard Dole
proclaims the Republic
of Hawaii in 1894.
Trade and Diplomacy in Latin America
• The United States wanted more influence in
Latin America.
• The US wanted to sell more products there
• The US wanted Europeans to see the US as the
main power in the region
• The Latin Americans did not want to restrict
their trade so they rejected the idea of a
customs union with the United States
Building a Modern Navy
• Americans were willing to risk war to defend
their interests overseas
• Captain Alfred T. Mahan published his book
called “The Influence of Sea Power Upon
• It suggested a nation needed a large navy to
protect its merchant ships and to defend its
right to trade with other countries.
• Needed territory overseas for naval bases
The Coming of War
• Cuba, a Spanish colony, provided wealth for
• Jose’ Marti, a Cuban revolutionary left Cuba to
New York in 1868 to raise money
• In 1895 Marti returned and declared Cuban
• They set up the Republic of Cuba in
The Coming of War
• At the start of the Cuban revolution,
Americans were neutral
• William Randolph Hearst, and Joseph Pulitzer
two journalists used yellow journalism to get
the Americans to side with the rebels
• Yellow Journalism: Exaggerated stories used
to get people to believe a certain way
• Hearst and Pulitzer exaggerated stories of
Spanish attacks on Cubans
“Yellow Journalism”
Tabloid Newspapers reported the brutality of the Spanish in
graphic terms.
Joseph Pulitzer
Hearst to Frederick Remington:
You furnish the pictures,
and I’ll furnish the war!
William Randolph Hearst
The Coming of War
• Cuban rebels attacked American property,
hoping to get America to intervene in the war
• The Spanish governor of Cuba caused the
deaths of thousands of Cuban villagers by
sending them to reconcentration camps.
• Spanish ambassador, Enrique Dupuy de Lome
wrote a letter describing McKinley as weak.
• The New York Journal printed the letter,
causing Americans to become angry
Spanish-American War
1st attempt at imperialism off
American soil
- Spanish treatment
of Cuba
- De Lome letter
Spanish Mistreatment in Cuba
The Coming of War
• The U.S.S. Maine, anchored in Havana, Cuba,
• Although no one knows why, many Americans
blamed Spain
• President McKinley was pressured into
declaring war on Spain in 1898 by members of
his own political party.
• jingoism – an attitude of strong nationalism,
was very strong within his party
Remember the Maine
and to Hell with Spain!
USS Maine explodes
in Cuba
Dewey Captures Manila!
Spanish American War (SPAM)
• America’s navy destroyed Spanish warships in
the Philippines
• The American army attacked Cuba and the
“Rough Riders” attacked San Juan Hill
• Theodore Roosevelt was 2nd in command and
became a hero because of this battle
• Within 4 months the war was over
• Spain and the US agreed to a cease-fire
Teddy Roosevelt becomes a
national hero @ Battle of San
Juan Hill
An American Empire is Born
• The United States and Spain signed the Treaty
of Paris on 12/10/1898
• Cuba became an independent country.
• The US acquired Puerto Rico and Guam and
paid Spain $20 million for the Philippines.
• The US becomes an imperial power.
Results of the War
A. U.S. territorial gains:
1) Guam, Puerto Rico,
B. U.S. emerging as a
“world power”
1) Europe takes notice
(esp. Germany)
U.S. in Pacific & Asia
Philippines: U.S.
after SpAm
Guerilla war
killed more U.S.
soldiers in
Philippines than
entire SpAm
An American Empire is Born
• William Howard Taft, the first US civilian
governor of the Philippines, introduced
reforms to try to win the Filipino’s over
• Hostilities lessened and by 1902 all Filipino
resistance had stopped.
• The United States granted independence to
the Philippines in 1946
An American Empire is Born
• Puerto Rico became an unincorporated
territory in 1900.
• In 1917 Puerto Ricans were made citizens of
the United States(so they could be drafted
into WWI)
• In 1947 they elected their own governor
• Today the debate on whether to grant Puerto
Rico statehood, to become an independent
country, or to continue as a Commonwealth
and part of the United States still exists
Platt Amendment
• After the war, the US set up a military
government in Cuba.
• Steps were taken to ensure Cuba would
remain tied to the United States
• The Platt Amendment specified (1) Cuba could
not make a treaty with another nation that
would weaken its power or allow another
foreign power to gain territory in Cuba
Platt Amendment
• (2) Cuba had to buy or lease naval stations to
the United States
• (3) Cuba’s debts had to be kept low to prevent
foreign countries from landing troops to
enforce payment
• (4) The United States would have the right to
protect Cuban independence and keep order.
• It was repealed in 1934
Latin America
• Monroe
Doctrine (1823)
• Spanish American
War (1895)
– Platt
Amendment: U.S.
can intervene
in Cuba to
American Diplomacy in Asia
• Japan and China fought over Korea
• Japan won and China gave Korea
independence and Japan territory in
• Japan had successfully adopted Western
• Russia made Japan give part of Manchuria
back to China and later made China lease it to
American Diplomacy in Asia
• This leasehold became the center of a sphere
of influence, an area where a foreign nation
controlled economic development such as
railroad and mining.
• Secretary of State John Hay supported an
Open Door Policy in China – he believed all
countries should be allowed to trade with
U.S in Pacific & Asia
China: Open
Door Policy
Sec of State John Hay
U.S wants free trade
in China
European countries
already controlled
Chinese trade
The Open Door Policy (1899)
Secretary John Hay.
 Give all nations equal
access to trade in China.
 Guaranteed that China
would NOT be taken over by
any one foreign power.
American Diplomacy in Asia
• Theodore Roosevelt won the Noble Peace
prize in 1906 for his efforts in stopping the
Russo-Japanese war.
• Russia recognized Japan’s territorial gains and
Japan was persuaded to stop seeking further
• After the peace treaty, relations between U.S.
and Japan worsened
American Diplomacy in Asia
• The Great White Fleet – 16 battleships of the
U.S. were sent around the world to show the
country’s military strength.
• Visiting Japan did not help the tension that
already existed.
The Great White Fleet: 1907
A Growing Presence in the Caribbean
• In 1903 Panama was still part of Columbia
• Columbia refused John Hay’s offer to purchase
the land and gain rights to build the canal
• Panamanians decided to declare their
independence and make their own deal with the
• United States recognized their independence and
work on the canal began in 1904.
• It shortened the distance by about 8,000 nautical
Panama Canal
United States needs quicker transportation from
east coast to west coast
TR creates a revolution in
Columbian control of Panama
(Construction of canal begins in 1904)
America Becomes an Imperial Power
Roosevelt Corollary
• Roosevelt Corollary added to Monroe Doctrine
which basically made the U.S. the Policemen of
the Western Hemisphere.
• It stated that the U.S. would intervene in Latin
American affairs when necessary to maintain
economic and political stability.
• President Taft believed that if American business
leaders supported Latin America and Asian
development, everyone would benefit.
• His policy came to be called dollar diplomacy.
Why Become an Imperial Power?
5. The Idealism Explanation
The World’s Constable
U.S. in Latin America
Addition to
the Monroe
of the
Big Stick
Speak Softly,
But Carry a Big Stick!
Gunboat Diplomacy
Taft’s “Dollar
Investments in Latin America
required U.S. protection
Use $ to help control foreign