American imperialism set a marker in the eastern and southern countries of western paternalism and condescension. Despite intentions that begged the appearance of nobility and progress America ensured that trade and profit was an advantage lended only to them. The countries that America set out to trade and profit from saw very little, if any, progress due to American imperialist policies. There were many reasons that America took this parental and exploitative position over countries but the rationale was still flawed or just dishonest.
American imperialism was made possible because of one Navy admiral. Alfred Thayer Mahan was the father of the imperialist theory navalism (Davidson, 2008). Navalism emphasized trade by using naval might to protect the countries and routes used for trading. This method of showing force as a tool for trading was integral to Mahan’s ideals. The navy had to be strong in order to protect overseas trading markets.
Mahan successfully showed that international trade would have great advantages for America. This coupled with the potential profits traders and the nation stood to gain from successful trade, ensured that the government would back this idea. Congress launched a program to repair and reactivate ships that had started waste away after the civil war. By the turn of the century the U.S. went from the 12th navy in the world to the 3rd (Davidson, 2008). This massive reestablishing of the American navy set the course for effective imperialism throughout the world.
The rationale for these actions had to go past money in order to justify. The dangers of interfering with another country could easily backfire and there needed to be reassurance that this was the right thing to do. Protestant missionaries began to back the move with spiritual rationale. Many eastern countries people were seen as heathens and barbarians. This rationale created the image that these people needed direct intervention from America.... [continues]
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