Us Imperialism

Topics: United States, Native Americans in the United States, North America Pages: 6 (2133 words) Published: April 3, 2011
Imperialism is defined as the policy of extending a nation's authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political control over other nations; the notion of a globally stretching “American Empire” with such connotations was first made popular after the Spanish-American War of 1898 with the US annexation of the Philippines. Although previous US expansionism shares many similarities with this “new” age of expansionism, they also diverged from one another in several key ways. This new stage of American expansionism took place through the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century and was quite analogous to the original or traditional type expansionism conducted by the US throughout its history proceeding this time period in several aspects. The first of which was the strong belief that expanding was a destined duty supported by God. When the US first gained its independence in 1776 span most of the east coast with the exception of Florida and extended only minimally into the mainland continent, but by the late 1800s the nation stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific adding new states and territory and expanding across the entire continent. This relatively quick and vast expansion was a result of the idea known as Manifest Destiny, coined by columnist John O’Sullivan in 1845. The idea basically articulated that belief that the United States was destined to expand across the North American continent, from the Atlantic Seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. As a result of such a belief the US government did everything within its power to make this growth possible. This ranged from the buying of and making deals for territories from other foreign powers, like the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France, to the taking of California and parts of New Mexico and Arizona from Mexico after the US Victory in the Mexican American War. This type of belief that imperialism was a necessary duty held true for the new age. This was not exclusive to the US and was widely accepted throughout most of the colonizing European powers as well. People at the time believed that God had made the “white race”; in the US special emphasis was put on the Anglo Saxon race, superior to all others as evidenced by their grander civilizations, numbers, wealth, and Christian beliefs. They saw these advantages as evidence that God wanted them to spread over the world imposing their rule on other races and lesser civilizations of the globe when inevitably the world’s supply of unoccupied land was depleted. This was especially the view of missionary minded Americans such as Reverend Josiah Strong, who called for Christian missions spanning the entire globe; their ideas stemmed from the Social Gospel (Document B). The Social Gospel involved the use of Christian ideals to help cope with the problems of the time, many of which were caused by rapid industrialization. This entitled way of thinking again helped inspire the United States to expand as well as convincing its people that such an expansion was rightful and meant to be, and again they did so because of these ideas and quite successfully so. The next ways in which the old and new ages were alike was in the treatment of the native peoples of the regions that the United States expanded into. During both time periods US policy toward the people already residing in any area newly acquired was biased and insensitive with little to no regard of the for the good or desires of the natives. During early American expansion the victims of such actions were almost exclusively Native Americans. As Americans pushed west they came into contact with a myriad of different tribes inhabiting different parts of the North American continent. The US government and these Indian tribes began to clash with each other quickly and soon what is widely seen as an unofficial extermination campaign began. This campaign carried on for decades until the US had spread a...
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