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 Cubans wanted independence from Spain because they believe that they were under control of an imperial master, also foreign affairs such as the Wilson-Gorman Tarriff sent Cuban economy spiraling into turmoil. The Wilson-Gorman Tarriff Act put restrictions on sugar imports to the United States to meet the congressional demands for free sugar. Sadly, this hurt Cubans because they relied heavily on producing and selling sugar to the United States. The on rising violence of the Cuban rebellion between Spain and Cuba during 1898 lead to president McKinley trying to get Spain to agree to a diplomatic solution but ended up requesting American intervention when the situation worsened. This called for naval intervention so the government sent over
Both Nell Irvin Painter and Kristin L. Hoganson have two different prospective on the annexation of the Philippines. Painter’s approach of explaining the annexation was more of an economic view rather then Hoganson’s, which was a more sexiest view. An example of Painter’s view is when he said,” the culprit, it seemed, was agricultural and industrial overproduction” (Painter). He is saying the America simply produced too much, and they did not care. Business thought taking over The Philippines would help American gain access to trading with China.
Eventually, this led to US intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. At the start of the 20th century, an immense number immigrants flocked to America in hopes of achieving the American Dream so many wished to achieve. Unfortunately, with racism becoming such a prevalent issue in the nation, specifically towards African Americans, segregation and a belittling
In the late 1800’s, Cuba was fighting for its independence and striving to break free from Spain’s control. On February 28, 1898, the U.S.S Maine mysteriously exploded, which was stationed on the coast of Cuba. This led to the U.S involvement in the Spanish-American War. There were many economic reasons why the U.S joined this war, however, there was nothing significant that would require their involvement. The U.S was already keeping a close eye on the battle between the other two nations; waiting for a reason to intervene.
While Zinn argues that the U.S. fought the war mainly because of business interests, Schweikart and Allen expand on the topic and point out three concerns including the one Zinn named. First, there was the political component in which Americans sympathized with the Cubans’ yearning for independence. Second, businessmen had important interests on the island, cultivated over several decades. Sugar, railroads, shipping, and other enterprises gave the United States an undeniable economic interest in Cuba, while at the same time putting Americans in a potential crossfire.
America’s entrance in the Spanish-American War was primarily due to the random explosion of the USS Maine on February 15, 1898, which killed 267 service men aboard. This attack leads to Congress’s vote to go to war against Spain. The United States’ desire to expand military overseas also played a part in the American entrance to this war. Economically speaking, the U.S. wanted Cuban crops to come to America, and not only Spain. “The war enabled the United States to establish its predominance in the Caribbean region and to pursue its strategic and economic interests in Asia” (“Spanish-American War”).
The United States of the early 20th century was one with a booming economy and a hunger for power. They had expanded westward and were looking to continue to expand their territory across the seas, in order to assert their dominance as a global superpower among the powerful nations of the time. The poor relations between Cubans and their Spanish rulers eventually led to the Treaty of Paris, which is when Spain surrendered the Philippines to the United States. It was at this point that another major divide between the American people was created. Many Americans believed that attempting to gain power over as many territories as possible was a bad idea and one that went against what America was built on.
People who opposed the annexation of the Philippines were often anti-imperialists who believed conquering foreign lands went against the concepts of republicanism. In “Platform of the American Anti-Imperialist League” (Document A), we are presented with the common beliefs such as the fact that the U.S. did not have the authority to rule another country or colony without its permission. The document expresses that taking control of a land without its peoples’ permission is cruel and oppressive. An example of an anti-imperialist is William Jennings Bryan. In his speech “Paralyzing Influence of Imperialism” (Document D), Bryan asserts that U.S. intervention on the Island is unnecessary because the Filipinos are just seeking independence, they do not want any control.
The imperialistic mentality of the American government after the Civil War, led to some degree to the Spanish-American war that would render a great acquisition of land for the United States. However, imperialism would not be the sole factor that led to the war against Spain, but also the sympathy felt by the American government towards Cuba’s efforts in fighting for their independence; additionally, the United States would seek to protect its commercial interests (sugar) in the island. Therefore, after invoking the Spanish to secede from their brutal practices towards Cuban rebels and attain a peaceful end to the situation, the United States arbitrarily sent a navy ship, “The USS Maine” to monitor the area.
The Spanish-American War was heavily supported by pro-imperialists looking to expand America’s power. Anti-imperialists believed in their cause because they thought it was a violation of self-determination, too expensive, and would get America too involved foreign affairs. Support for the Spanish-American War was not seen from many anti-imperialists. These opposing viewpoints on imperialism are seen in Editha through the characterization of Editha and George. Editha supports the Spanish-American War and represents the pro-imperialist view.