The AP instructional strategies discussed below for Chapter 20 of American
History: A Survey focus especially, but not exclusively, on the following themes developed by the AP U.S. History Development Committee: American Identity, Economic Transformations, Globalization, and War and Diplomacy. This chapter, as well as the primary documents selected below, follows the content guidelines suggested for the eighteenth topic in the AP Topic Outline The Emergence of America as a World Power.
Top-Ten Analytical Journal.
Defining the chapter terms in their journals will help students better understand the following about the era of imperialism at the end of the 19th and the turn of the 20th centuries.
The new Manifest Destiny, and how it differed from the old Manifest Destiny.
The objectives of American foreign policy at the turn of the century with respect to Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
The variety of factors that motivated the United States to become imperialistic.
The relationship between American economic interests (especially tariff policy) and developments in Hawaii, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
The causes of the Spanish-American War.
The military and political problems encountered in fighting the Spanish and, subsequently, the Filipinos.
The problems involved in developing a colonial administration for America's new empire.
The motives behind the Open Door notes and the Boxer intervention.
The nature of the military reforms carried out following the Spanish-American War.
Each of the terms below contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the age of imperialism. As your students define these terms, encourage them to demonstrate why each person, event, concept, or issue is important to a thorough understanding of this chapter.
Getting students started on their journals. Remind students that they must analyze and synthesize their understanding of these terms in two ways:
by creating “Top-Ten” lists of their own within their journals at the end of each chapter; and
by justifying in their journal why their terms are essential to an understanding of “The Imperial Republic.”
Journal entry example. Following is an example of how students might describe the “Platt Amendment” and its importance to an overall understanding of “The Imperial Republic.”
Platt Amendment. The U.S. pressured Cuba to add this amendment into its constitution once it won independence from Spain. It prohibited Cuba from making treaties with other nations, gave the U.S. the right to intervene in Cuba in order to preserve any threat to its independence and property; and required Cuba to allow the U.S. to build naval stations on its property. The amendment was the basis for U.S. political and economic domination over Cuba and, thus, was one of the earliest imperialist foreign policies adopted during this era.
1. How did the conquest of Cuba change the world and self image of the United States? How were the new territories conquered in the war treated by America? How did America's conquest of these areas raise future problems?
Some things to look for in the student response.
Possible thesis statement: While the conquest of Cuba and the acquisition of new territories from Spain changed both the world and self image of the United States, it also led to future problems within the newly-acquired territories.
World image of U.S. After the Spanish-American War, the U.S. emerged as a major political, diplomatic, and economic power within the international arena. America also emerged as a strong colonial power when it stripped Spain of its colonies and then acquired each of them.
Self image. Americans were split between those who favored the imperialistic foreign policies of annexation and acquisition, and those who did not. The imperialists argued that the new territories were essential to America’s ability to sell its products and employ its laborers, that America had an obligation a “white man’s burden to help people who could not help themselves; and that America needed many of the territories for military and economic reasons. The anti-imperialists believed that imperialism was an immoral repudiation of America’s commitment to freedom and that the U.S. was especially hypocritical in this regard with its actions in the Philippines. Regardless of these differing views, once the U.S. possessed its new empire, it was clear that most Americans did not see themselves as imperial rulers modeled after the European colonial empires.
Future problems. The U.S. conquest of the former Spanish colonies as well as several islands in the Pacific led to future problems with the people in the new territories. The Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Hawaiians, and Samoans had been occupied and then either controlled or acquired by the U.S. without consent of the people. The Filipinos fought a four-year war for independence, only to lose to the United States. Puerto Rico and Hawaii became little more than “sugar-producing appendages of the United States economy.” By the end of the 20th century, Cuba was free of U.S. intervention, but had become one of America’s major enemies; the Filipinos who had received their independence from the U.S. in 1946 were waging a major internal war with one faction being extremely anti-American; the Puerto Ricans continued their fight for either independence or statehood; and a small segment of Hawaii’s indigenous population sought to secede from the U.S.
Possible conclusion: While the short-term consequences of U.S. foreign policies enacted before, during, and after the Spanish-American War launched America into a powerful global position, the U.S. government’s failure to listen to the political and economic goals of the people in the newly-acquired territories had many negative long-term repercussions.
2. Compare and contrast the goals of the era of Manifest Destiny to the goals of the new imperial republic. In your opinion, were the goals and consequences of imperialism of the late-19th and early-20th century dramatically different from the goals and consequences of Manifest Destiny?
Some things to look for in the student response.
Possible thesis statement: The goals of the policy makers during the era of Manifest Destiny were different from/similar to those of imperialist policy makers at the turn of the 20th century. (Students can take either position.)
Different goals. During the era of Manifest Destiny, Americans acted upon what they believed was the divine right to expand into all parts of North America that were adjacent to its existing boundaries, to subdue and if necessary subjugate the people living in those territories, to create states out of the newly-acquired territories, and to unite all people under the banner of democracy. Toward the end of the century, America began to acquire possessions beyond the continental United States for the purpose of acquiring new economic markets, as well as fueling stations and military bases in the Pacific, and to bring much of the undeveloped world under its control. Unlike during the era of Manifest Destiny, these new possessions would not serve as colonial settlements and would not become states, and their populations would not be absorbed into the American citizenry.
Similar goals. Both eras were expansionist and imperialistic in design and consequence. It doesn’t really matter if the territories were or were not adjacent, could or could not be annexed, or received or did not receive statehood; what matters is that they fell under economic, political, and ideological control of the U.S. government.
Similar consequences. Regardless of the goals of the two eras, the consequences were similar. In the era of Manifest Destiny, the U.S. conquered hundreds of Indian nations and exerted their economic, political, religious, and social control over the Indian people; and defeated Mexico in a war that brought over a million new acres into American territory as well as thousands of Mexicans under control of the U.S. government. During the period of imperialism, the U.S. won a war with Spain that gave it new territories Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines over which it extended a colonial regime, and acquired territories in the Pacific. Although these new lands were not destined for statehood, they came under total control of the U.S. government.
Possible conclusion: While the goals of Manifest Destiny and imperialistic foreign policy differed, the consequences of these policies shared many similarities.
Historians, Historical Detection, and DBQs. The following DBQ and its supportive primary documents will help students gain a better understanding of those who supported imperialist foreign policy at the turn of the 20th century as well as those who disapproved of such policies. Remind your students that when scoring the AP exams, the readers will expect to see a coherent essay that includes two required components: key pieces of evidence from all or most of the documents and a well-organized narrative drawing on knowledge from textbook readings and classroom discussion.
DBQ: How do the documents below support American imperialistic impulses at the turn of the 20th Century? According to these Americans, what role did nationalism, economic interest, racism, and strategic interest play in support for and opposition to American imperialism?
Josiah Strong, 1895. (Gilder Lehrman Institute Website, “United States Becomes a World Power” module. In “Interpreting Primary Sources: Imperialism and the Spanish American War. http://www.gilderlehrman.org/teachers/module13/tool_is_pop1.html)
“The two great needs of mankind, that all men may be lifted into the light of the highest Christian civilization, are, first, a pure, spiritual Christianity, and, second, civil liberty....It follows then, that the Anglo-Saxon, as the great representative of these two ideas, the depository of these two great blessings, sustains peculiar relations to the world's future, is divinely commissioned to be, in a peculiar sense, his brother's keeper.”
Excerpt from Henry Cabot Lodge speech, 1895. (OLC, Chapter 20, Primary Sources.)
“In the interests of our commerce and of our fullest development, we should build the Nicaragua Canal, and for the protection of that canal and for the sake of our commercial supremacy in the Pacific we should control the Hawaiian Islands and maintain our influence in Samoa. England has studded the West Indies with strong places which are a standing menace to our Atlantic seaboard. We should have among those islands at least one strong naval station, and when the Nicaragua Canal is built, the island of Cuba, still sparsely settled and of almost unbounded fertility, will become to us a necessity. Commerce follows the flag, and we should build up a navy strong enough to give protection to Americans in every quarter of the globe and sufficiently powerful to put our coasts beyond the possibility of successful attack.
The tendency of modern times is toward consolidation. It is apparent in capital and labor alike, and it is also true of nations. Small states are of the past and have no future. The modern movement is all toward the concentration of people and territory into great nations and large dominions. The great nations are rapidly absorbing for their future expansion and their present defense all the waste places of the earth. It is a movement which makes for civilization and the advancement of the race. As one of the great nations of the world, the United States must not fall out of the line of march.
For more than thirty years we have been so much absorbed with grave domestic questions that we have lost sight of these vast interests which lie just outside our borders. They ought to be neglected no longer. They are not only of material importance but they are matters which concern our greatness as a nation and our future as a great example. They appeal to our national honor and dignity and to the pride of country and of race.”
3. Excerpt from President William McKinley’s Call for War against Spain, 1898. (Gilder Lehrman Institute Website, “United States Becomes a World Power” module. In “Interpreting Primary Sources: Imperialism and the Spanish American War” at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/teachers/module13/tool_is_pop1.html)
“First. In the cause of humanity and to put an end to the barbarities, bloodshed, starvation, and horrible miseries now existing there [in Cuba], and which the parties to the conflict are either unable or unwilling to stop or mitigate....
Second. We owe it to our citizens in Cuba to afford them that protection and indemnity for life and property....
Third. The right to intervene may be justified by the very serious injury to the commerce, trade, and business of our people and by the wanton destruction of property and devastation of the island.
4. Excerpt from Senator Albert J. Beveridge, "March of the Flag," September 1898. (Gilder Lehrman Institute Website, “United States Becomes a World Power” module. In “Interpreting Primary Sources: Imperialism and the Spanish American War” at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/teachers/module13/tool_is_pop1.html)
“The opposition tells us that we ought not to govern a people without their consent. I answer, the rule of liberty that all just government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, applies only to those who are capable of self-government. We govern the Indians without their consent; we govern the territories without their consent; we govern our children without their consent. I answer, would not the natives of the Philippines prefer the just, humane, civilizing government of the Republic to the savage, bloody rule of pillage and extortion from which we have rescued them?”
5. Excerpt from Senator Albert J. Beveridge, 1900 (Gilder Lehrman Institute Website, “United States Becomes a World Power” module. In “Interpreting Primary Sources: Imperialism and the Spanish American War” at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/teachers/module13/tool_is_pop1.html)
“God has not been preparing the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing but vain and idle self-admiration. No....He has made us adept in government that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples....He has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the redemption of the world.”
6. Excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt speech, 1900 (Gilder Lehrman Institute Website, “United States Becomes a World Power” module. In “Interpreting Primary Sources: Imperialism and the Spanish American War” at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/teachers/module13/tool_is_pop1.html)
“If we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at the hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world.”
7. Excerpt from President William McKinley on the Phillipines. (Gilder Lehrman Institute Website, “United States Becomes a World Power” module. In “Interpreting Primary Sources: Imperialism and the Spanish American War” at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/teachers/module13/tool_is_pop1.html)
“When next I realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I confess I did not know what to do with them....I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight; and I am not ashamed to tell you, gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance....And one night late it came to me this way....
(1) that we could not give them back to Spain--that would be cowardly and dishonorable;
(2) That we could not turn them over to France or Germany--our commercial rivals in the Orient--that would be bad business and discreditable;
(3) That we could not leave them to themselves--they were unfit for self-government--and they would soon have anarchy and misrule worse than Spain's war;
(4) That there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them as our fellow men for whom Christ also died.”
8. Excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt, 1901. (Gilder Lehrman Institute Website, “United States Becomes a World Power” module. In “Interpreting Primary Sources: Imperialism and the Spanish American War” at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/teachers/module13/tool_is_pop1.html)
“There is a homely adage which runs, "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." If the American nation will speak softly and yet build and keep at a pitch of the highest training a thoroughly efficient navy, the Monroe Doctrine will go far.”
9. Excerpt from Brooks Adams, 1902 (Gilder Lehrman Institute Website, “United States Becomes a World Power” module. In “Interpreting Primary Sources: Imperialism and the Spanish American War” at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/teachers/module13/tool_is_pop1.html)
“The West Indies drift toward us, the Republic of Mexico hardly longer has an independent life....With the completion of the Panama Canal all Central American will become part of our system. We have expanded into Asia, we have attracted the fragments of the Spanish dominions, and reaching out into China we have checked the advance of Russia and Germany....The United States will outweigh any single empire....The whole world will pay her tribute.”
10. Excerpt from Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (Gilder Lehrman Institute Website, “United States Becomes a World Power” module. In “Interpreting Primary Sources: Imperialism and the Spanish American War” at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/teachers/module13/tool_is_pop1.html)
“Thus...duty and interest alike, duty of the highest kind and interest of the highest and best kind, impose upon us the retention of the Philippines, the development of the islands, and the expansion of our Eastern commerce.”
11. Excerpt from Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, 1904 (Gilder Lehrman Institute Website, “United States Becomes a World Power” module. In “Interpreting Primary Sources: Imperialism and the Spanish American War” at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/teachers/module13/tool_is_pop1.html)
“It is not true that the United States feels any land hunger or entertains any projects as regards the other nations of the Western Hemisphere save such as are for their welfare. All that this country desires is to see the neighboring countries stable, orderly and prosperous....Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention...[and] force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an internal police power.”
Support of imperialism. Most of these documents ideologically support imperialistic foreign policy in one or more of the following ways. Claiming the divine right, the God-given duty of the United States to bring democracy, civilization, and Christianity to the people who lived in the former Spanish colonies. Adopting imperialistic foreign policies are essential not only to maintain the newly acquired empire, but especially to expand and protect American economic interests. Arguing that such empire building and subsequent interventions to protect our empire are essential to maintain civilized society in nations that are not civilized. In general, their arguments fall within four categories of interests: nationalistic, economic, racist, and strategic.
Nationalism. Henry Cabot Lodge argues that we must pursue naval, commercial, and colonial strength because such efforts will contribute to “our greatness as a nation and our future as a great example.” Senator Beveridge notes that God has made the U.S. “His chosen nation to finally lead in the redemption of the world.” Brooks Adams declares that the “whole world will pay her [the U.S.] tribute” for becoming the largest single empire.
Economic interests. Henry Cabot Lodge states that “commerce follows the flag,” and thus we must attend to the “vast interests which lie just outside our borders.” In his later statement, he believes that the U.S. has both “duty and interest” in regard to retaining the Philippines, largely for “the expansion of our Eastern commerce.” President McKinley justifies our intervention in Cuba because it will protect the “commerce, trade, and business of our people.”
Racism. Racist language is apparent throughout most of these documents. In the earliest document, Josiah Strong suggests that Anglo-Saxon Christians are the enlightened people who should spread their ideas about “civil liberties” and in so doing, become “his brother’s keeper” for those who are not so fortunately endowed. Cabot Lodge suggests that imperialistic foreign policies are essential to our “national honor and dignity” as well as “to the pride of country and of race.” In 1898, Senator Beveridge makes it clear that the Filipinos are not “capable of self-government” and that the U.S. must “rescue” them from “savage, bloody rule” through the imposition of a “just, humane, civilizing government.” Two years later, he wrote that God had made the U.S. “adept in government” so that it could govern “savage and senile peoples.” President McKinley sees the Filipinos as “unfit for self-government” and thus declares that he had no choice “but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them.”
Strategic interests. Henry Cabot Lodge not only argues that the U.S. should build a canal in Nicaragua, control Hawaii and Samoa, and build and maintain strong naval stations in the Pacific and Cuba, he also maintains that American “must not fall out of the line of march” for creating a great nation out of “small states.” Theodore Roosevelt argues that the U.S. must face “the hard contests” that will prevent other nations from surpassing it, so that it can win “the domination of the world.” In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt argues that America needs to “speak softly and carry a big stick” in its commitment to the Monroe Doctrine. Brooks Adams heralds American hegemony in Latin America and Asia, claiming that “we have checked the advance of Russia and Germany” and that “The United States will outweigh any single empire.”
Before reading Chapter 20, read “The White Man’s Burden” aloud to the class. (You can access it online at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/1457/poem6.htm.) Then, begin a discussion in which you ask students the following: What is Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden?” What are his attitudes about the people for whom the white man fights “savage wars?” How do you think this poem relates to the chapter we are about to read, “The Imperial Republic?” What is imperialism and how are its ideals embodied in this poem? How does imperialism compare and contrast with the idea of manifest destiny?
2. After reading Chapter 20, take your students to the computer lab to study the prolific anti-imperialism writings of Mark Twain. Send them to the website “Mark Twain on War and Imperialism” at http://www.boondocksnet.com/ai/twain/index.html. Each student or students working in pairs will be assigned one of the Twain’s writings. After reading their selection, students will answer the following: What are Twain’s primary complaints about imperialism? Is he persuasive? Why or why not? If you had lived in America during the time of the anti-imperialist crusade, would you have supported or opposed Twain’s views? How and why? Then, bring the class together for a discussion as follows: What did you learn about Twain’s opposition to imperialism? In which articles was he most persuasive? How and why? Could any of these articles be considered yellow journalism? Why or why not? How did Twain’s criticisms of imperialism compare and contrast with the views of Kipling?
3. Stage a classroom debate on any one of the following:
Resolved: Foreign policy at the turn of the century was the logical extension of Manifest Destiny.
Resolved: Foreign policy at the turn of the century was fueled by the desire to create new markets for America’s surplus products.
Resolved: The benefits of imperialism outweigh the costs.
Resolved The Spanish-American War was “a splendid little war.”
Resolved: Yellow journalism provides an important function in society.
4. Give students a homework assignment in which they imagine they are a reporter. Have half the class imagine they are working in 1898 for either Hearst or Pulitzer and have been assigned to write a jingoistic article on the sinking of the battleship Maine an article that is specifically designed to convince Americans that war with Spain is a patriotic duty. Have the other half of the class imagine they are working in 2003 for the New York Times and have been assigned to write a jingoistic article on why America should launch a preemptive strike on Iraq. In class the next day, have students work in pairs one from the 1898 era and the other from the 2003 era and read their articles aloud to each other. Have them compare and contrast their ideas, styles, and the potential success of their yellow journalistic approach to convince Americans to go to war. Bring the class back together for a final discussion about what this exercise taught them about the role of the press in fomenting war.
5. Assign students to write a diary entry from one of the following perspectives:
A soldier involved in the Spanish-American War from either side. Discuss reasons for enlistment, physical and emotional responses to combat, feelings about the war goals, etc.
A soldier involved in the Philippine War from either side. Discuss reasons for enlistment, physical and emotional responses to combat, feelings about the war goals, etc.
Rudyard Kipling while he was writing and 30 years after he wrote “The White Man’s Burden.”
Queen Liluokalani before, during, and after the American planters forced her to give up her authority.
A Puerto Rican after Puerto Rico’s annexation to the United States and the granting of U.S. citizenship.
A soldier involved in the Boxer Rebellion from either side. Discuss feelings about involvement in an international force whose purpose was to crush the rebellion and rescue American and European diplomats.
6. Ask students to write a persuasive speech from the perspective of a prominent political figure in contemporary America on the following topic: The imperialistic foreign policies adopted by our government in regard to Cuba and the Philippines continue to haunt our relations with those countries today.
7. Assign a three-day, in-class project during which all the students will learn more about the role journalism played in the imperialist versus anti-imperialist debates at end of the 19th and the turn of the 20th centuries. Divide the class into four groups, each with a different task:
Group 1: Research and read at least five articles and speeches written before, during, and after the Spanish American War from the two major newspapers, The New York World and the New York Journal. Students are to synthesize the messages in the editorials and explain how and why they could be considered yellow journalism.
Group 2: Research and read as much as possible about “the Yellow Kid” and Richard Outcault. Students are to examine some of the cartoons, Outcault’s political attitudes illustrated in his cartoons, and how the cartoons influenced the idea of yellow journalism.
Group 3: Research and read at least ten political cartoons about the Spanish American War. Students are to explain the various perspectives, as well as the manner in which they believe the cartoons may have influenced public opinion about the war.
Group 4: Research and read at least ten political cartoons about the war in the Philippines. Students are to explain the various perspectives, as well as the manner in which they believe the cartoons may have influenced public opinion about the war.
Group 5: Research and read at least five articles and speeches written before, during, and after the war with the Philippines. Students are to synthesize the messages in the editorials and explain whether they reflected a pro- or anti-war bias.
On the day the assignment is due, have groups share their findings and discuss the overall role of the press in supporting both imperialist and anti-imperialist views.
Assign a group research project in which students are to learn more about the circumstances before, during, and after the following foreign policy decisions that are discussed in Chapter 20:
The annexation of Puerto Rico
The dispute in Venezuela in 1895
The acquisition of the Samoan Islands
The Cuban revolt against Spain in 1895
The annexation of the Philippines
The Boxer Rebellion
Each of the six groups should be required to use both primary and secondary documents to learn about these decisions, as well as the consequences. Additionally, each group must decide, given what they know about international issues during this era, whether the U.S. exercised sound foreign policy. Why or why not? Given hindsight what they now know over 100 years later do they think the U.S. exercised sound foreign policy? Why or why not? Each group will share their findings and opinions with the class as a whole.
Stage a news conference about whether or not the United States should become involved in “entangling alliances.” Assign five students to research the positions of George Washington, James Monroe, James K. Polk, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt and prepare a 25 minute opening speech summarizing their views. Assign twenty students to serve as journalists from the White House News Corp who will be ready with between 23 questions apiece to ask the presidents. Assign one student to act as moderator between the journalists and the presidents. Assign two students to compare and contrast the positions of the various leaders after the news conference, as well as evaluate who provided the most persuasive arguments and why.
Invite students to explore the Library of Congress’s website, “The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures” at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/sawhtml/sawhome.html. Give them a day or two in the computer lab to watch several of the 68 motion pictures available at this site. Then, bring the class together for a discussion on the following:
What do these films tell you about the attitudes filmmakers had about the Spanish-American War?
What were the major themes of these films? How do they relate to this chapter on “The Imperial Republic?”
Who were the target audiences of these films?
In your opinion, were these films of any real use to understanding this period in American history? Be specific about how and why or why not.