Study Guide key essential Unit Questions



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Unit 7: America as a World Power 1900-1919

Study Guide KEY



Essential Unit Questions:

  • How and why did America’s role in the world change in the period from 1900-1914 as it emerged as a world power? Is imperialism justified if a country is to become a world power?

  • What were the causes and outcomes of America’s involvement in WWI? Was it America’s war to fight?




Unit Topics and Binder Contents:

  1. American Imperialism – Reasons and Examples

    1. American Imperialism Warmup

    2. American Imperialism Notes (PPT)

    3. Ch 18 Packet – Imperialism and America

  2. Spanish-American War – Causes and Outcomes

    1. Spanish American War Document Analysis

    2. Video Notes (varies)

    3. American Imperialism and Span-Amer War Notes (Crash Course Notes, map on top)

  3. WWI: America’s War or Not?

    1. HW Ch 19.1 and 19.2 Questions #1-4 on p. 612

    2. WWI Video Notes

  4. WWI: Impact at Home

    1. Topic 3-4: America in WWI Notes (PPT)

    2. HW Ch 19.3 and 19.4 Worksheet

Key Concepts and Terms – Topic 1& 2

  • John Hay—Secretary of State John Hay proposed a policy that would give all nations equal trading rights in China.



  • Alaska - was purchased from Russia in 1867!



  • In 1890, Sanford Dole, a fruit plantation owner, helped to overthrow the Queen of this country (Hawaii) and wanted to become part of the US.



  • Dollar Diplomacy -- President Taft urged American banks and businesses to invest in Latin America. He promised that the United States would step in if unrest threatened their investments.



  • Growth in international trade occurred from the late 1800s to World War I—the first era of a true “global economy.”



  • Alfred T. Mahan - US Naval officer who wrote of the importance of sea power to successful empires – advocated a large navy for the US



  • Large naval fleets and international trading empires need friendly ports or colonies for what purposes? To refuel with coal or oil, to restock



  • Spanish American War – Reasons for the US to get involved:

  • Many in US wanted to help Cuba throw off brutal Spanish rule, such as General Valeriano “Butcher” Weyler who tortured and killed Cuban civilians.

  • Some in US wanted Cuba’s rich plantation resources for the US.

  • The explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor was an excuse for many yellow journalists and pro-war “jingo” politicians to demand war against Spain.

  • The US also wanted access to Spain’s other colonies in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico), and in the Pacific (the Philippines Islands)



  • Spanish American War – “A Splendid Little War”

  • More soldiers died of disease than of war wounds

  • African-American units called Buffalo Soldiers fought bravely but got little recognition

  • Teddy Roosevelt resigned as Asst Secy of the Navy to form “The Rough Riders”, an army group that successfully took San Juan Hill in Cuba

  • The US Navy destroyed the Spanish fleet both in Cuba and in the Philippines, in Manila harbor.

  • Emiliano Aguinaldo had been fighting against Spanish rule in the Philippines. After he helped the US, he expected independence for the Philippines. Instead, the US annexed the islands after paying Spain for the right to do so.

  • Aguinaldo led a 3-year rebellion against US rule in parts of the islands. The Philippines did not gain their independence until 1946!

  • After the war, Puerto Rico was annexed by the United States as an unincorporated territory.

  • The United States also asserted the right to intervene in Cuban affairs through the Platt Amendment (and keep Guantanamo Bay).

  • Finally, the US also annexed Hawaii and its lovely pineapple plantations, even though it wasn’t part of the war with Spain.



  • Panama Canal and the role of Theodore Roosevelt

  • United States “encouraged” Panama’s independence from Colombia by quietly supporting a revolt.

  • Upon gaining their independence, Panama immediately negotiated a treaty to allow the US to build and use the Panama Canal.

  • This is an example of Teddy Roosevelt’s Big Stick Diplomacy (speak softly, but be ready to use force to back up your words)

  • Teddy Roosevelt added his Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, which said that the US could intervene in Latin American countries if they “got into trouble” (e.g., into debt to a European nation, in turmoil, basically any reason)



  • Woodrow Wilson also had an active foreign policy in Latin America.

  • Wilson’s foreign policy was called moral diplomacy because he tried to teach the Latin American nations how to choose good leaders and have good governments. When his teachings failed, he used troops and dollars to protect US interests.




Question to prepare for: Of the examples we’ve discussed of US expansion and/or imperialism, which ones do YOU think were most justified for a world power, and which do you think were least justified? (Consider the reasons, and the examples of Alaska, Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, the Panama Canal, China)

Key Terms and Concepts – Topics 3 & 4 – World War One

You explored the emerging role of the United States in world affairs by evaluating United States involvement in World War I, including Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the Treaty of Versailles, and the national debate over treaty ratification and the League of Nations.

U.S. involvement in World War I

  • The war began in Europe in 1914 when the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) went to war with the Allies (Britain, France, and Russia)



  • For three years, America remained neutral and there was strong sentiment not to get involved in a European war.



  • The decision to enter the war was the result of continuing German submarine warfare (which violated freedom of the seas) and American economic and cultural ties to Great Britain.



  • President Woodrow Wilson said that Americans wanted to “make the world safe for democracy.”



  • America’s military resources of soldiers and war materials tipped the balance of the war and led to Germany’s defeat.



  • At home, the US mobilized for war by imposing a draft (the Selective Service Act), by conserving food and fuel, and by using movies and posters as propaganda to influence public opinion.



  • African-Americans moved to northern and mid-western industrial cities in the Great Migration to take factory jobs that were now available.



  • Women took on office and some factory jobs while the soldiers were away and conserved food and fuel at home for the war effort.



  • Americans experienced censorship at home, with the Espionage Act and the Sedition Act, which made it a crime to criticize the war effort, obstruct troop recruitment, help the enemy, or say bad things about the government.



  • Eugene V Debs was jailed under the Espionage Act, and ran for US President from jail. He received almost a million votes! (He lost.)

The End of the War

  • Wilson had a plan to eliminate the causes of war called The Fourteen Points.

  • Key ideas of the Fourteen Points

  • Self-determination: nations should be able to govern themselves, or choose if they will become part of a more powerful country

  • Freedom of the seas: no more submarine warfare or naval blockades

  • League of Nations: an international group of nations to resolve disputes and prevent future wars

  • Mandate system: a “temporary” system where nations who were not ready for self-governance would be under the protection (or control) of a larger nationbasically colonialism again, and more or less a way to put the Central Powers’s colonies under the control of the Allies.

The Treaty of Versailles

  • Although Wilson wanted the Fourteen Points to guide the treaty ending the war, the French and English insisted on punishment of Germany. Germany was forced to accept blame (the war-guilt clause) for the war and pay reparations (the costs of damages of the war to the Allies).



  • In the Treaty of Versailles, Wilson did get his way and a League of Nations was created. Also, national boundaries were redrawn, creating many new nations, although not with Wilson’s ideals of self-determination.

Wilson at Home



  • The Senate failed to approve Treaty of Versailles.

  • The main objections to the treaty were about the League of Nations. Senators were concerned that if the US joined the League, then U.S. foreign policy decisions would be made by an international organization, not by U.S. leaders.




Questions to consider: Why did many in the US want to stay neutral for the first three years of the war? What were the reasons for America’s change of policy, from isolationist to interventionist? (why did the US eventually join the war?)

Did Wilson achieve his goals?

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