African American Imperialism Dbq

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In the beginning of the 19th century, the United States had minimal interest in becoming an empire who controlled overseas countries. Instead, Americans decided to just use Manifest Destiny on their own continent as their form of expansion. In the late 1800s, the frontier was announced to be “closed”, so Americans were forced to look overseas in order to expand trade by looking for new markets. After America made the decision to support Cuba in its revolt against Spain during the Spanish-American war, the United States gained its own colonial empire when it defeated Spain in 1898. Once the war ended, Americans had to debate between becoming an imperialist empire or remaining in isolationism. The national debate over imperialism became a major…show more content…
In 1898, E. E. Cooper, African American editor of the Washington, D.C, wrote a newspaper article titled Colonial American to support African American military service in the Spanish-American War of 1898 (Doc1). His article was written after the Plessy v. Ferguson decision which created the “separate but equal” doctrine. Cooper believed that with the wars fought to obtain new colonies, more African Americans would be able to fight and the U.S. could become a multiracial brotherhood and white people could stop being racially prejudice. Cooper believed that imperialism gave African Americans a chance to have equality in America. Another example that demonstrated the positivity of imperialism was a statement attributed to President William McKinley which was directed towards an American church group in 1899 (Doc3). His purpose was to justify his decision to take the Philippines for the U.S. rather than give the Philippines their…show more content…
An example of an opponent of imperialism is William Sumner, a sociology professor at Yale; he gave a speech to the university that criticized imperialism (Doc2). This speech was given in 1899, after the Spanish-American war and before the acquisition of the Philippines. He opposed imperialism, but he also believed in Social Darwinism. He was skeptical about Imperialism and the U.S. exporting its values by military force. Sumner was not a supporter of imperialism because he didn’t want American to become like Spain and other European imperialist nations. In some ways it would have been ironic if America became an imperialist nation because America started out as a group of colonies ruled by an imperialist nation. Another challenger of imperialism was Jane Addams, a progressive social reformer, who gave a speech in 1899 that criticized the Spanish-American war and the increase in militarism in the U.S. She compares militarism in Cuba and an increase in crime at home (Doc4). She reflects the concerns of people on the homefront during the Spanish-American war and the U.S. acquisition of colonies in Asia and Caribbean. She believes American imperialism undermines the ideals of peace and America’s tradition of isolationism. The Spanish-American war also undermined America's ideals of not imposing their own belief systems on other countries. Lastly, a
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