Before the Civil War, America developed a Manifest Destiny that, in part, meant the expansion of the original thirteen colonies into a great nation. This meant expanding from the original borders past the Mississippi River toward the Pacific Ocean. As that Manifest Destiny was being fulfilled after the Civil War ended, a new Manifest Destiny had been conceived by the U.S. Congress. This new Manifest Destiny began a new period of expansion beyond the boundaries of the continental United States, which gave rise to the Imperialist ideals, having the United States in direct competition with England, France, Germany and Spain for the more underdeveloped countries globally. In this paper, I will summarize the United States’ involvement in international affairs during the late 19th century, explaining the extent to which American involvement in international affairs affected global politics.
Upon the conclusion of the Spanish-American War in 1898 with the Treaty of Paris, the United States found itself in the midst of the imperialism fight, acquiring Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines from Spain through the terms of the treaty. At first, Americans were excited about the idea of competing with the other more established imperial nations, most prominently Great Britain, who had become the most prolific imperial nation by the end of the 19th century. However, there began a political and academic debate within the country between the Imperialists and the Anti-Imperialists.
Imperialists believed that the country must expand beyond its continental borders to foreign areas to ensure the domestic stability of the United States, as the depression of 1893 began to generate fears within the country that natural resources would soon dry up, prompting a need to expand to areas where the resources would be plentiful. Thus, the ideal of American Imperialism was more an economic base, claiming more of a free-trade...