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American Imperial and Colonial Interests

by: Carina Sauter

American Imperial and Colonial Interests HIST 2112

Marketplace > University of Georgia > History > HIST 2112 > American Imperial and Colonial Interests
Carina Sauter
GPA 3.79

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These notes discuss the lecture in which we discussed America's want for more land, thus greater power.
American History Since 1865
Dr. Rohrer
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carina Sauter on Monday February 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 2112 at University of Georgia taught by Dr. Rohrer in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see American History Since 1865 in History at University of Georgia.


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Date Created: 02/15/16
We Want a Piece of Real Estate, Too: American Imperial and Colonial Interests I. Imperialism vs Colonialism • Colonialism: policy or practice of acquiring full/partial control of a country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically o Mother country § Territory/exploited piece of land • Imperialism: (broader) policy of extending a countries power and influence through diplomacy or military force o Influence but not legal binding authority o Been a reality since the beginning of time § Ming China, Great Britain, Japan, Aztecs • US is imperialistic but not a colonizer o End of the 19 century – had both imperialistic and colonization dreams to be like Great Britain o By this time, we had become of the world’s biggest industrial powers o Not just a rural country but aimed to be like modern Europe o Many did not believe we could be as strong as other nations without other land II. Europe’s – especially Great Britain’s – imperial/colonial heyday • Unrivaled nation with incredible power • “the sun never set upon the British empire” o because they had colonies in every time zone • How did it become the ruler of the world? o Industrial revolution o India was their first and most important colony – cotton § Sparks their industrial revolution § > American South o Superior technological accomplishments § Military and navy helped their colonization § Even with les men, they conquered with weapons and ships § World naval power due to industrial revolution o 1815-1914: Great Britain’s Imperical Century § added about 10 million square miles of territory § 400 million people to empire § (only counting formal colonies, not those influenced through imperialism) § key raw materials: cotton, timber, oil, iron, rubber, coal, tea, copper, coffee, tobacco, diamonds • because they had such a wide variety of colonies • Great Britain’s world trade o Controlled economies of many colonies that are not their colonies (China, Argentina, modern day Thailand) – unofficial colonies o Head start on industrialization § First world industrial power § Dominated race for colonization § US did not become a legitimate industrial power until after civil war • US advantages: o Physical size § Great Britain is the size of Oregon o We have greater access to valuable raw materials within our own boundaries § More ready access that is crucial • Timber, coal, oil, iron > Great Britain o We don’t need colonies as much, but we are hungry for colonies and world influence III. Four reasons/categories why US Desired Colonies • Profit o Colonies = money o 2 purposes § valuable raw materials – industrial and economic dominance § offer mother country additional markets • exploit raw material, transport back home to finish products in factories, sell at a significant profit in colonies • make sure other products from other countries cannot enter these colonies • dictate prices – good for mother country, bad for colony • Power and Prestige o France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Great Britain § All powerful colony holders • Africa was controlled by leading European powers § Could not have similar power/influence without colonies • Masculinity o We are pretty tame o No Indian war o Wild west died o No more un-explored lands – no frontier o Pioneer is a fixture of the past o Urban/suburban living § Even rural are connected to cities through railroads o Office jobs o Many had never fought in a war § Men consider themselves at a gender/culture crossroads o Colonies were not modern/industrialized and were normally primitive § New opportunity to exert masculinity § New frontier • Cultural Ideas o American superiority – duty to spread American culture and influence o Social Darwinism § Progressives reject this but just as many Americans use this to justify their dreams § Survival of the fittest (competition) drives social evolution § We should be at the top while the masses (those controlled) should be at the bottom • Natural order o Race and Christianity § (racist to Asians, Africans, Latin Americas) § Scientific Racism § Techniques to justify racial/cultural superiority § Literally studied brain size • (Asia – small) § We should control inferior places • we have goods, ideas, cultures, religious views, etc. to share with inferior places o “uplift” them § Colonies and Christianity • Home missions and foreign missions o Teaching of Christ to daily lives of unchristian o Thought this was improving their lives o “Spreading Democracy” § politics § democracy does not agree with colonization IV. Spanish-American War, 1898 • Fought in 2 locations • Spain used to be great power in the Western hemisphere o 1400’s-1700’s • By 1820’s – lost a lot of geographic power o Cuba, Puerto Rico and Philippines are all they have left • Cuba tries to fight for independence o Treaty: Cuba got independence but it was never enforced • 1890’s – Cuba is still mad and agitate Spain for freedom o at the same time, Philippines are complaining too • US – considered buying Cuba from Spain o Major sugar producer § We already had money invested in Cuba sugar § McKinley wants to enter conflict • February 1898 – USS Maine explodes o Blamed Spanish – actually mechanical failure o Act of aggression from Spanish o Congress responds by allocating $50 million to build up military force for war • April 1898 – McKinley blockades the Spanish o Soon after declared war o We are on side of Cubans o Want Spanish influence out of Western hemisphere o Most fighting was around Cuba and some places in Philippines • Short war – 6 months • US won: 3000 Americans died but mostly from disease o Gain Cuba, Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii • Teddy Roosevelt o Resigned from secretary of Navy and volunteered as Soldiers o “Rough Riders” • Many supported war, but it contradicted US values o Non-democratic principles o Many oppose imperialism because they think their jobs are at risk o Anti-imperialists: non-Caucasian blood will taint our image • Anti-Imperialism League o Not very successful o Pamphlets which attack expansionist ideals on moral ground o Little financial/political support o Imperialist are much more financially backed • Spain and US Peace Treaty o Establish independence of Cuba o Puerto Rico and Guam are seeded to US § Close to colonies but no official o US purchase Spanish Islands for $20 million § US given informal permission to annex independent state of Hawaii • Basically took it without any permission V. Significance of War • End Spain’s colonial empire in western hemisphere • Make US major pacific power • Ignited US passion for colonial/imperialist interest • Enabled US to become predominant in Cuba and Asia • Set American on imperialistic path that stretches to the present • Convinces us that we have the right to interfere in international affairs • Greater imperial power o World police force (now)


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