America in the 20th Century: America Becomes a World Power Discussion Questions



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America in the 20th Century: America Becomes a World Power

Discussion Questions:

1. Discuss how the United States tried to become a world power.


They tried by building military strength, annexing and purchasing territories, opening trade with other countries, fought for rule over countries, and limiting other countries from becoming world powers.
2. Compare and contrast the views of Imperialists and Anti-Imperialists
Imperialists wanted to build the economy by gaining new markets for raw materials, build military strength so it would not fall under colonial rule, and the need to civilize and Christianize the "inferior" peoples. A n t i -Imperialists thought expansion was a threat to the American value system, it would not keep other countries in servitude, the cost of maintaining the military was expensive and it could take away job opportunities from U.S. workers.
3. How could the acquisition of Alaska benefit the United States?
It was worth in trade, a supply base in case of war and useful resources, such as timber, coal, fish, and furs.
4. Discuss some of the causes of the Spanish-American War.
Some of the causes were the United States wanted to expand, end Spain rule over Cuba, control trade in the

Caribbean, yellow journalism and the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine.
5. Discuss the obstacles the United States had to face in order to gain control of the Caribbean and Pacific regions.
Some were the Spanish-American War, sugarcane plantations were destroyed in Cuba, U.S. troops fought unprepared and with poor conditions in Cuba, massacre in the Philippines and opposing views from the U.S. citizens on expansionism.
6. Discuss the United States’ motivation to become involved in China with the Open Door Policy and its

effects on China.


Once the other foreign powers were able to obtain equal trading rights without any discrimination the

Chinese market would then grow to a stronger economy and allow for further independence in China.
7. Discuss the significance of Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet.
It was a world tour for the new U.S. Naval equipment in an attempt to display its strength, technology and size over the other countries, as the U.S became a world power; a part of Roosevelt's "Big Stick" policy.

8. Discuss the benefits the Panama Canal brought to the United States.


It would provide a faster route from the Atlantic to Pacific Ocean for military and trade transportations.

9. How does the Monroe Doctrine, created in 1823, emerge again in 1905?


It was created in 1823 in order to limit European expansion into the Western Hemisphere. Roosevelt added on to it that the United States has the right to intervene militarily to keep European powers out of the Western Hemisphere. It was initiated for reasons such as when Italy and France became a threat to the Dominican Republic and the U.S. was able to assist until a financial debt was satisfied.

10. Compare and contrast the foreign policies of the Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson administrations.


Roosevelt wanted to take a strong role in Asia, adds the corollary to the Monroe Doctrine limiting European expansion militarily and used the "Big Stick" policy.
Taft used the "dollar diplomacy" to encourage U.S. investment in Latin America and China to discourage European investment.
Wilson tries the "moral diplomacy" by applying a moral standard and not recognizing any government

that is undemocratic or hostile to U.S. interests. He tried to stabilize Haiti, Dominican Republic and Cuba,

and caused great conflict between Mexico and the U.S.
None of the three administrations of military, investment or moral standards lasted.

Famous Phrases:

1. White Man's Burden E. Rudyard Kipling

2. Splendid Little War A. John Hay

3. Seward's Folly F. Alaska

4. Hawaii for Hawaiians D. Queen Liliuokalani

5. Remember the Maine B. Havana Harbor

6. Rough Riders H. Cuba

7. Boxers J. China

8. Big Stick Policy G. Theodore Roosevelt

9. Dollar Diplomacy C. William H. Taft



10. Moral Diplomacy I. Woodrow Wilson


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