American Imperialism - arguments for and against

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • American Imperialism
    • Arguments FOR American imperialism
      • During 19th century, US grew from group of 13 colonies on eastern coast
        • By 1890s, America consisted of 44 states and 4 territories
        • US had a 'Manifest Destiny'
          • Duty to expand and control entire continent because they are an enlightened, democratic nation
        • By the end of century there was nowhere else to expand except abroad
          • Frontier was over
      • Duty of US to civilise and Christianise the world and spread democracy
        • Missionaries went out to China
          • Spread the word of God and brought health care, and education to poor areas
      • Social Darwinism
        • As a 'superior' nation, the US had a duty and a right to influence other nations
      • Higher demand for more access to both raw materials and to markets in areas such as Asia
        • McKinley put great emphasis on the link between foreign policy and trade
        • Enhanced in 1893 by the Depression
      • European empires grew drastically in last quarter of 19th century (especially in Africa and South East Asia)
        • 1/4 of the world colonised between 1875 and 1914
        • America felt threatened that their position in the world was weak
        • Desire for expansion was about the 'balance of power'
      • Naval officer Alfred Thayer Mahan wrote 'The Influence of Sea Power on History' (1890)
        • Argued that to be a great power, a country had to be a strong naval power
        • US needed to dramatically expand its navy
        • Needed to possess colonies in order to build bases and fuelling spots
        • Mahan became very influential on government policy - influenced T. Roosevelt
    • Arguments AGAINST American imperialism
      • Anti-Imperialist League was formed (1898)
        • Included Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, William Jennings-Bryan
        • Argued that more active America was abroad, more likely it was they would be dragged into war
      • US didn't have large enough army to take over/run an empire
      • Many felt the US shouldn't be acting like the European nations
        • US may have duty to spread democracy and freedom but should be done by example, not force
        • Taking colonies went against all principles of the Deceleration of Independence and the Constitution - what America fought for
      • America couldn't even look after their own minorities
        • Strong moral objections to imperialism
      • Anti-imperialists argued that raw materials and markets that would be gained was exaggerated
        • Would be a drain on American economy
        • Trade unions feared influx of cheap labour
  • By the end of century there was nowhere else to expand except abroad
    • Frontier was over


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all America - 19th and 20th century resources »