American Exceptionalism

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The belief that the United States was responsible for establishing democracies and civilizations throughout the world was nicknamed American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism, combined with the belief in the superiority of white Anglo-Saxon’s (Americans with English and German decent), drove the US government to export products overseas, expand its power and influence overseas, and expand its naval force. This expansion happened with the disapproval and warnings from William Jennings Bryan, who believed everyone was equal and no territory should answer to a foreign power. Bryan lost the 1900 presidential electing to William McKinley, whose administration acquired Hawaii, large portions of the Caribbean, and initiated plans to secure control of the Philippines.

American exceptionalism and Anglo-Saxonism only
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What were the significance of each of these during and after the Spanish-American War?
a. Commodore George Dewey

While at the Naval Department, Theodore Roosevelt secured Commodore George Dewey’s position as commander of US Naval Pacific Fleet. As commander, Dewey’s had orders to attack the Spanish navy in the Pacific if war broke out between the United States and Spain. Upon the declaration of war with Spain, Roosevelt insured Dewey’s orders were approved by superior officers. On May 1st 1898, the US Naval Pacific Fleet attacked and defeated the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay, Philippians, and gained control of Philippians.

With control of the Philippians, the United States turned its attention to Hawaii. Hawaii was an independent nation that America had significant control and influence over due to agreements that gave Hawaii access to the American market without tariffs. In return, America had terrify-free access to sugar plantations in Hawaii. In July 1989, Hawaii was eventually annexed as part of the United States. This also helped lead to the United States to acquire Guam, Puerto Rico, and other islands.

b. The Battle of San Juan
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