Between 1898 and 1914, the United States had many strategic, economic, and ethnocentric motivations for practicing Imperialism. While America was imperialist mostly for strategic reasons, strategic and economic factors often coincided, and America’s motivations almost always had undertones of ethnocentrism.
During this time period, American imperialism was most prominent in the Caribbean. One major example was when the U.S. intervened in Cuba to help liberate them from Spanish rule. Congress even passed the Teller Amendment, which granted Cuba its freedom after it was set loose from Spain. However, the U.S. mandated that the Platt Amendment be written into the Cuban Constitution. The Amendment stipulated that Cuba not acquire any debt greater than it could pay off, or enter into any treaties which potentially compromised its liberty. While this event occurred before 1898, it still exemplifies American imperialism, and highlights America’s strategic motivations. One way, in which this was a strategic intervention by the U.S., was that it gave Spain less power in the Western Hemisphere, and America acquired the islands of Guam and Puerto Rico. In Alfred T. Mahan’s book, The Interest of America in Sea Power, he expresses the idea that U.S. held on to the islands, and in Cuba’s case, passed the Platt Amendment, to ensure that no other European powers, such as Germany, would attempt to control the nations (Document H). Thus, to strengthen America’s strategic interests in the Caribbean, Roosevelt issued his famous Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine in 1904. It stated that the U.S. reserved the right to intervene in Caribbean and Latin American affairs, especially to pay off their debts to other countries. The summation of America’s Caribbean policy can be seen as having a mostly strategic background, for the U.S. was primarily concerned with ensuring that no European power took advantage of any country by holding them in their debt. Yet, the... [continues]
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