Thursday, June 5, 2014

Imperialistic Ideals Instigate an Era of American Expansionism #2

This is an update on the ongoing "Imperialism in America" project. Since the last blog post we have investigated an online interactive inquiry activity about the Spanish American war, and performed a WebQuest, from the same website. I have developed a new enduring understanding, and have added more information onto my existing enduring understandings. I also learned that I did not approach the first blog post to this assignment correctly whatsoever, and the information in that post is not formatted as it should be.

Key Terms and Phrases:

Monroe Doctrine: Document that declared that the United States was neutral in European Wars. It also warned other nations not to interfere in the Western Hemisphere.
Imperialism: When stronger nations attempt to create empires by dominating weaker nations- economically, politically, culturally, or militarily
Annex: to join a new territory to an existing country, led to growth of empires
Surplus products: excess products that the citizens of America were not able to consume themselves. The goods needed to be exported to foreign markets.
Natural resources: Resources that are obtained from the Earth. (i.e. rubber and petroleum) often come from underdeveloped countries
Manifest Destiny: American settlers believed that they were destined to expand throughout the entire continent.
Captain Alfred T. Mahan: He believed that America’s economy depended on gaining new markets abroad. US required a powerful navy to protect foreign markets from foreign rivals.
Open door Policy: allowed for free trade in foreign markets
Theodore Roosevelt: He was president of the United States from 1901-1909. He believed that imperialism and war would improve the American spirit and life..
Nationalism: a devotion and feeling of superiority for one’s nation
Platt Amendment: an amendment that stated America would remove troops from Cuba, but only if Cuba would not enter any foreign agreements and would allow the US to form naval bases and intervene with Cuban affairs whenever necessary.
Teller Amendment: said that that the United States would not annex Cuba.
Naval Act of 1889: this act demanded the construction of a more powerful navy, made the US’s navy one of the most powerful in the world.
Sphere of influence: an area of economic, military, or political control, in which an imperialist country can use for economic benefit
Jingoism: an intense spark in American pride and a demand for aggressive foreign policy
The Cuban Rebellion: Cuban rebels fought against the Spanish, but the Americans intervened and defeated the spanish. War ended with the Treaty of Paris
The Treaty of Paris: The Spanish gave the US the Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. These territories were known as ‘unincorporated’ territories of the US, which meant they weren’t intended for eventual statehood.
Joint Resolution: A resolution passed on April 20, 1898 that allowed the US to go to war with Spain
Patriotism: A devotion to someones country, and/or a cultural attachment
American Anti-Imperialist League: Members of this organization believed that the expansionism and imperialism went against American Principles of consent of the governed and true freedom.

Enduring Understandings:

  1. Often people who have the most money and influence (power) can control the government's actions.
    • Rich company owners were able to pressure the government into pursuing a more aggressive foreign policy in order to open more opportunities for trade. "By 1891, the Rockefeller family's Standard Oil Company accounted for 90% of American Exports of kerosene and controlled 70 percent of the world market" (The Empire and the People, 301)
    • Some important political figures were used to create propaganda and inspire the american people to follow the ideas of the politicians, one such individual was Captain, Alfred T. Mahan. "They [Roosevelt] tried to get Mahan off sea duty 'so that he could continue fulltime his propaganda for expansion.'" (The Empire and the People, 300)
    • President McKinley believes that America must go to war to protect his own citizens and their property. "when the lives and liberty of our citizens are in constant danger and their property destroyed and themselves ruined; where our trading vessels are liable to seizure and are seized at our very door by warships of a foreign nation" (Excerpt from President William McKinley’s War Message to Congress, April 11, 1898.)
  2. Power, which can swing public opinion, can come from many places; such as a newspaper editor, a company owner, and a government official.

  3. The natural resources and economic potential of a place can attract other imperialistic countries to it. 
    • The American people wanted a way to expand their economy and the success of their country. "William McKinley said: 'We want a foreign market for our surplus products.' Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana in early 1897 declared: 'American factories are making more than the American people can use; American soil is producing more than they can consume.'" (The Empire and the People, 306)
    • After Spain was defeated in Cuba, Americans in search of economic opportunity swarmed to this rich island. "Foner writes: 'Even before the Spanish flag was down in Cuba, U.S. business interests set out to make their influence felt. Merchants, real estate agents, stock speculators, reckless adventurers, and promoters of all kinds of get-rich schemes flocked to Cuba by the thousands." (The Empire and the People, 310)
  4. The disposition of a people can impact a countries military and political action
    • Some people opposed expansion. "American Anti-imperialist League was organized in opposition to the annexation of the Philippine Islands. Among its members were Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, William James, David Starr Jordan, and Samuel Gompers. George S. Boutwell, former secretary of the treasury and Massachusetts senator, served as president of the League." (WebQuest:
    • Many Americans supported the Spanish-American war for moral reasons. "Popular support of the Cuban Revolution was based on the thought that they, like the Americans of 1776, were fighting a war for their own liberation." (The Empire and the People, 303)
In order to think about the information which I have learned in a new light, I was assigned to interpret the events of American Imperialism from the absolute bottom of the power pyramid. To me, the persons with the least power were Cuban citizens. They had no say in the events that swept through their country. They were forced to enter 're-concentration camps' (American History textbook) during the Spanish control. Once the Spanish were defeated, and the Americans signed a treaty with the Spanish, no Cuban citizen was allowed to be present when it was signed, let alone have any input on the content of the agreement. (The Emepire and the People). Once the Spanish were removed, the Cubans were forced to live under military occupation by the United States, and were heavily influenced by American profiteers coming to Cuba seeking their fortune. (Inquiry Activity). The American Imperialism of Cuba had a severe detrimental effect on the lives of Cuban citizens; although the aid in defeating the Spanish was helpful, the residual American Influence on Cuba was not.

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