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Imperialism Imperial Expansion
The war with Spain had had Towards the end of the 19th century many powerful European nations were
some important short term expanding their empires, especially in to Africa. Many believe imperial expansion
causes but also signified provides economic, spiritual and psychological rewards. The common view was
important psychological and that those who developed in this way remained strong and vital, however those
economical changes. This who accepted their lot became weak and withered away. Social Darwinism
changes America's outlook on spread in the US and some senators, such as Albert Beveridge, who said that
foreign affairs. God had decreed that Americans were `the master organises of the world to rule
Isolationism became widely over those who were `savage and senile'
accepted but the attractions of
imperialism became
increasingly important.
Economic factors Westward Expansion
Economic pressures were key factors in this. The drive west and the period of
America needed products to be bought domestically as "domestication the wilderness"
a fall in domestic demand could lead to recession. occurred between 1840 and 1890. by
American big businesses became increasingly the time it was complete in 1890, it
important within the rest of the world, however it was seemed natural to look else where to
"absurd", according to American historian Schlesinger, sustain the process of expansion and
that the prices of American products fell so low even growth.
the "poverty-stricken" could afford it.
The need for cheap and plentiful raw materials to
sustain the new industry, however these resources
existed only outside the US.…read more

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Strategic considerations
The scene of other nations busily using their Spanish American war 1898
natives to consolidate their empire and build new The war was a result of America interfering with
bases made a strong impression on many Cuba's war for independence. Cuba was Spain's
Americans within politics and the armed forces. only remaining American colony ­ but their rule
Many believed if the US didn't move to join in had been under threat since 1890 following a
this process, they would be left at a significant series of Cuban uprisings. Many American citizens
disadvantage later. Therefore America's future sympathised with the Cuban rebels, mostly due
status and security was at stake. America's to the sense of supporting their right to
decision-makers were convinced that the independence against colonial power.
commercial struggle could not be kept separate
from the need of a powerful navy and sizeable
merchant fleet.
Peace Treaty
Religion The treaty of Paris brought an end to
Religion also played a part, as the the Spanish American war on the 10th
Spanish were Catholic and the December 1898. In exchange for $20
Americans were Protestant. The million, America also received the
republicans made a pledge to Philippines. McKinley tried to justify
support Cuban independence in the war by presenting their influence
1896. as "civilising and evangelical". In 1901
At the same time the Spanish Cuba adopted a constitution based on
deployed 200,000 soldiers in a the American one, but American
desperate bid to retain power in troops were not withdrawn until 1909.
Cuba.…read more

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The Panama Canal
During the Spanish-American War, America
realised that a canal connecting the Pacific and
Atlantic Oceans would be highly valuable, mainly
to speed up trade.
In 1901, America signed a treaty with Britain
which allowed them to build a canal across
Panama, as long .
However, in order to build in Panama, America
had to negotiate with Columbia, who at the time
owned Panama. Columbia refused to ratify the
Hay-Herran Treaty, even though it had been
signed by both nations in 1903.
In a controversial move, Roosevelt implied to
The acquisition of the Panama Canal
Panamanian rebels that if they revolted, the U.S.
brought popularity to Roosevelt. However,
Navy would assist their cause for independence.
relations between America and Latin
Panama proceeded to proclaim its independence
America were now hostile.
on November 3, 1903, and the US navy stopped
any interference from Colombia.
The victorious Panamanians returned the favour
to Roosevelt by allowing the United States control
of the Panama Canal Zone.…read more

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The Far East The western Hemisphere
America largely regarded the far east as a place of prime The US annexed Puerto Rico in 1898.
importance regarding the economy, trade and politics. Meanwhile, Cuba was kept under control
America needed to expand its market beyond the domestic by the terms of the Platt Amendment,
market to maintain demand. China was at the centre of this. meaning America could take military action
Its combination of a rapidly growing population and massive if necessary. Roosevelt responded with
amounts of untapped natural resources made it an the Monroe Doctrine, stating that
enormously potential market. European colonisation in the western
hemisphere was prohibited, and that
America could take pre-emptive action to
defend its interests.
The "open Door"
The "open door" policy was centred on trade. It
committed the US to ensuring that the "door" to
china was not blocked by any other country.
McKinley's Secretary of state John Hay informed the
major powers that the US wanted "China's territorial
and administrative entity to be preserved", and no
other countries were strong enough to challenge
America yet.…read more

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1921 Other sources
After world war one, America wanted to stay away from Europe and return Opposition to war became part of a
to Isolationism. This worked throughout the 1920 as America was going widespread national moral movement
through an economic boom, though this was partly down to the vast in America. People were determined
number of exports and loans. that their country would never be
There was also a decline in the number of immigrants due to the swelling dragged into another European war.
isolationist movement. There was also widespread Anglophobia, strongest This is part of the reason that the
throughout the Irish and German immigrants. This was due to the entry of senate rejected entry into the League
America into the first world war being blamed on the `lies' of the British of Nations. There was a rise in
Propaganda. But there was also a rejection of German immigrants as they Anglophobia, as Britain was seen as
were blamed as the sole causer of the First World War. responsible for dragging America into
Isolationist had gained support from conservatives, progressives, liberals the war. Isolationism gained support
and socialists. This meant that all types of war were also viewed as wrong from conservatives as well as
and peace should always be the solution. progressives and liberals.
Isolationist sentiment in America 1929
Following world war one; many Americans came View of World War 1 The Great Depression in
to believe that it was a mistake for America to Critics claimed that America had been 1929 onwards meant that
enter the war. It became clear after Germany's dragged into the war by British the Anti-Europe and
rearmament under the Nazis that war was coming Propaganda, greedy bankers and arms isolationist feeling only
to Europe again. Many wanted to profit from the merchants. Following the rearmament grew stronger as it
war. This feeling was intensified by the of Germany it became increasingly effected all Americans and
Depression of the 30s, when America was clear that they were planning to start that therefore meant that
focusing on Domestic issues. Anti-war sentiment a war. Fear of fighting the now the attentions of the
and memories of lost soldiers convinced the powerful German military and government became very
majority of American citizens that America must Luftwaffe air force was another domesticated and in the
not get involved in the war. A series of neutrality reason why many Americans did not interests of American
acts were passed. As a result America could not want to get involved. citizens.
trade with belligerent countries in Europe.…read more

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1932 1934 American Liberty League. August 1935 ­Neutrality Act.
Roosevelt wins Set up by opponents of Roosevelt's New Deal. Many Made it illegal to export arms to warring
election. He said Conservatives (including conservative Democrats) foreign countries. It was passed for a 6
that he no longer didn't like the expansion of the Federal Government's month period, but Congress continued to
supported the role in the economy, calling Roosevelt a dictator and renew it, so it is often referred to as the
League of comparing him to Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. League Neutrality Acts. It was made permanent
Nations because said that it would work to "defend and uphold the in 1937, with an exemption being made
it had changed Constitution" and "foster the right to work, earn, save for `cash and carry' purchases (not
and was too and acquire property. Conservative Democrats like transported on American vessels, but
involved in John W Davis supported the League. The League was paid for in cash) In 1938, 73% of
European affairs. hampered by the lack of a spokesperson to take on Americans were in favour of the arms
Roosevelt, and Roosevelt's popularity and electoral embargo according to a poll. However, by
success during the New Deal. The League officially 1939, public opinions were beginning to
dissolved in 1940. change.
The Depression 1934
(1929-39) Johnson Act was the first to 1934-36
Hoover was unable to ensure American neutrality. Nye Committee. Actually called the Senate Munitions
break away from the The US prohibited any Investigating Committee (named after the senator in charge,
idea that the future lending to countries Gerald P Nye. Conducted a well-publicised study throughout
government should not that defaulted on their these years into whether corporate quests for corporate
get involved in the WW1 loans. The idea was to profits promoted war. It also studied the possible regulation
economy. The country' stop financing countries of the arms trade ­ Senator Nye was an outspoken
s focus had to be set that might go to war, which isolationist wanted to nationalise the arms industry. The
on Domestic issues would prevent them from Committee led to the creation of the Munitions Control
however, and this doing so. However, the Board. The most important impact was that it confirmed the
intensified anti-war primary result was that opinion of many Americans that arms exports had involved
sentiment and countries making token America in WW1, which created support for the neutrality
isolationism. payments stopped. Act that would prevent Americas from selling arms.…read more

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