American Imperialism DBQ

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Imperialism DBQ 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 …show more content…
interference in Cuba was largely due to the fact that farmers were striking against the Spanish government, and the U.S. needed to appease the farmers since many Americans had much invested in Cuban crops. This idea was even expressed in a 1900s quote, which claimed “where the American dollar goes, so goes the American flag” (Document I). Yet, what America didn’t have invested in the Caribbean was made up for with, as U.S. diplomat to China Charles Denby stated, a “foothold…in the Far East,” which gave America “standing, influence…[and] valuable trade” “near the center of the great lines of commerce from the East to the West” (Document A). Another instance which demonstrates American imperialism in the late 1800s, but before 1898, was the construction of the Panama Canal. The canal was key to America’s ability to ship things from East to West, by cutting through the Caribbean, highlighting America’s economic interest in the region. All of these economic factors can be seen as strategic as well, for they were all means to gain power and success in the global economic competition. The Roosevelt Corollary intended to keep Eastern powers out of Western affairs primarily to prevent them from having an economic or political advantage over the U.S. Yet both of these factors were rooted in the idea that the U.S. had the right to dominate the Western …show more content…
In his novel Our Country: Its Possible Future, Josiah Strong even wrote that God had prepared the whites most adequately for “the final competition of races” by giving them “unequalled energy.” His views are also made clear when he refers to Anglo-Saxons as having “the largest liberty, the purest Christianity, the highest civilization” (Doc C). These claims were furthered by Julius Pratt in his novel Expansionists of 1898, when he wrote that “the superior virility of the American race” had created a “superior beneficence of American political institutions” (Doc F). Many Americans believed that a white man’s burden existed to advance other civilizations, since Americans were the most advanced people on Earth. The New York Tribune applied this idea to the Caribbean policy in 1903, when it was written that even “cannibals…[and] the half-ape creatures of the Australian backcountry…[and the] wildest tribes” govern themselves. Yet, upholding the belief in the supremacy of the American government, they cynically asked of the beastly nations, “but what kind of government is it” (Document E). Still, the most pressing evidence that both American strategic and economic motivations were rooted in ethnocentrism is found by closely examining the Roosevelt Corollary of 1904. When Roosevelt wrote this addition to the Monroe Doctrine, he provided for exceptions that permitted

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