Isolation to Imperialism

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Isolation to Imperialism


1890 - 1914

Essential Questions

  1. Should a nation’s self interest always drive its foreign policy?

  2. What are the long-term implications of early USFP?

  3. US actions led to significant immediate and long-term complications. Was the US arrogant or ignorant?

  4. By 1914, had the US become what it hated?

  5. In a word: Define the US by 1914

Focus questions

  1. Was US imperialism simply a continuation of Manifest Destiny?

  2. What is the difference between the 3 Ds + 1 of US imperialism to the 3 Gs of Spanish colonization?

  3. What was the Spanish dilemma over Cuba

  4. How is the Spanish American war similar to Mexican War?

  5. What are the possible problems for US in Caribbean?

  6. Is Dollar Diplomacy logical? Can a nation use economic incentive without using the “Big Stick” to enforce it?

US late 19th century:

  • Most US citizens little interest in European affairs, focus on Latin America

  • US begins to move from isolation to “large” foreign policy

  • US “muscles” France from Mexico 1866

  • US purchases Alaska from Russia – 1867 Seward’s Icebox

  • 1867 US acquires Midway Islands – coaling stations in Pacific

    • Makes overtures toward Hawaiian Islands

    • Interested in Cuba, Dominican, and PR.

  • As industrialization booms, US exports continue to grow

    • By 1892 exports outpace imports

    • Begin to look for new markets and new raw materials

      • Begin to compete with European nations for markets and materials

    • American attitude: export democracy, Christianity, and white superiority

      • Fiske and Strong: Our Country

      • Continuation of Winthrop and O’Sullivan

      • White Man’s Burden – Duty to “civilize” the rest of the world

    • US had to get in the game or be “crowded out” by European nations

    • US military in disrepair

      • Must rebuild to compete

      • Alfred Thayer Mahan

        • Influence of Sea power on History 1890

        • Powerful nations have strong navies and flex muscle

        • US must build a navy – steel ships painted white

          • The Great White Fleet

    • US forces Japan to open – Commodore Perry 1854

    • US citizens stage coup over Queen Liliuokalani in Hawaii – 1894

      • Economic (sugar) as much as geo political/military

      • US Government angry at American actions – refuse to annex

      • 1898 US officially annexes Hawaii

  • US in Cuba – 1896 civil rebellion

    • Spanish General Weyler arrives

      • Forces Cubans into relocation camps

      • American public reacts in favor of Cubans

        • Felt affinity – fighting for independence and liberty

      • American investments in Cuba in danger

      • Cuban propaganda: “Butcher” Weyler

      • Hearst and Pulitzer – Yellow Journalism

        • Sensationalize stories to increase circulation

      • 1898 USS Maine ordered to Havana Harbor to protect American citizens and economic interests

        • de Lome Letter angers Americans

      • USS Maine explodes in Havana Harbor February 1898

  • US absolutely unprepared for war

    • US attacks all Spanish possessions, Cuba, Philippines, and PR

    • Phillippino freedom fighter Emilio Aguinaldo helps US forces

    • US navy destroys the Spanish navy

    • October 1898 Spanish American War over

    • US recognized as a player in world politics

    • Teller Amendment – US NOT taking Cuba for US – Cuban independence

    • Philippines are held by US – replace Spain with US

    • Anti imperialists: Gompers, Carnegie, Addams, Twain

      • Philippines not going to be a state – Unconstitutional

      • Violates Declaration of Independence – US actions trampled on “Life, Liberty, Pursuit…”

      • Not all Anti imperialists agreed, some opposed for racial reasons

        • Others opposed for economic threat posed by new immigrants

    • US pays Spain $20 million for Philippines

      • Philippines turns ugly for US – years of guerrilla warfare

    • Cuba – US grants Cuba self government but retains right to help out if necessary Platt Amendment

      • US granted naval bases in perpetuity

  • US in Caribbean - TR Big Stick Policy

    • Roosevelt Corollary to Monroe Doctrine

      • US holds police power over Caribbean

  • US in China – The Open Door Notes

    • US late to the game in China

    • European countries carving up China for raw materials – Spheres of influence

    • US says all should be allowed to trade freely

    • US plays one country v. another

    • US caught in world politics: Japan v. Russia – Treaty of Portsmouth

      • Japan unhappy with treaty – want more

      • Large amounts of Japanese immigrants in US – segregation in schools

      • US and Japan – Gentleman’s Agreement

        • US agrees to end segregation Japan agrees to stop issuing passports for laborers coming to America

  • Panama – Canal

    • US interested in a connection between Atlantic and Pacific

    • French tried in 19th century

    • US obtains canal rights from French

    • Panama owned by Colombia

      • Colombia refuses to sign treaty want more $$$$

    • US “supports” a Panamanian Revolution

      • Panama declares independence with US military support

      • USS Nashville sent to Colombia with 8 other US warships

      • Fear and resentment v. US grows in Latin American countries

      • 1921 US pays Colombia $25 million for Panama

      • US hegemony grows: US now controls Panama Canal and must maintain power

      • Hay-Bunua Varilla Treaty

        • The United States was to receive rights to a canal zone which was to extend five miles on either side of the route

        • Panama was to receive a payment of $10 million

        • Panama was to receive annual rental payments of $250,000.

    • Taft Foreign Policy – Dollar diplomacy

      • Use economic incentives to influence or advance US policy initiatives in Latin America

      • US businesses spread into many Latin American countries: Sugar, bananas, RR investment, raw materials, etc.

  • US gains: 1898 -1913

    • Cuba, PR, Philippines, Guam, Panama Canal Zone, and Hawaii

    • With exception of Philippines, most of US imperialism is “Non Colonial”

    • Exploit nations NOT rule or occupy them

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