AP US History Document Based Question
To what extent was late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century United States expansionism a continuation of past United States expansionism and to what extent was it a departure? Use the documents and your knowledge of United States history to 1914 to construct your answer.
Source: Thomas Nast. "The World's Plunderers." Harper's Weekly, 1885.
Source: Josiah Strong. Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis. New York: American Home Missionary Society, 1885.
"It seems to me that God, with infinite wisdom and skill, is training the Anglo-Saxon race for an hour sure to come in the world's . . . . The unoccupied arable lands of the earth are limited, and will soon be taken . . . . Then will the world enter upon a new stage of its history - the final competition of races, for which the Anglo-Saxon is being schooled . . . . Then this race of unequaled energy, with all the majesty of numbers and the might of wealth behind it - the representative, let us hope, of the largest liberty, the purest Christianity, the highest civilization . . . . will spread itself over the earth. If I read not amiss the powerful race will move down upon Mexico, down upon Central and South America out upon the islands of the sea over upon Africa and beyond. And can any one doubt that the result of this competition of races will be the "survival of the fittest"?
Source: Alfred T. Mahan. The Interest of America in Sea Power. Boston: Little, Brown, 1897.
"Is the United States . . . . prepared to allow Germany to acquire the Dutch stronghold of Curacao, fronting the Atlantic outlet of both the proposed canals of Panama and Nicaragua? Is she prepared to acquiesce in any foreign power purchasing from Haiti a naval station on the Windward Passage, through which pass our steamer routes to the Isthmus? Would she acquiesce to a foreign protectorate over the Sandwich Is lands [Hawaii] that great central station of the Pacific?
Whether they will or no, Americans must now look outward. The growing production of the country demands it. An increasing volume of public sentiment demands it. The position of the United States, between the two Old Worlds and the two great oceans, makes the same claim, which will soon be strengthened by the creation of the new link joining the Atlantic and Pacific. The tendency will be maintained and increased by the growth of the European colonies in the Pacific, by the advancing civilization of Japan, and by the rapid peopling of our Pacific States . . . .
Three things are needful: First, protection of the chief harbors, by fortifications and coast-defense ships . . . . Secondly, naval force, the arm of offensive power, which alone enables a country to extend its influence outward. Thirdly, no foreign state should henceforth acquire a coaling position within three thousand miles of San Francisco . . . . "
Source: Platform of the American Anti-Imperialist League, 1899.
"Much as we abhor the war of "criminal aggression" in the Philippines, greatly as we regret that the blood of the Filipinos is on American hands, we more deeply resent the betrayal of American institutions at home....Whether the ruthless slaughter of the Filipinos shall end next month or next year is but an incident in a contest that must go on until the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are rescued from the hands of their betrayers. Those who dispute about standards of value while the foundation of the Republic is undermined will be listened to as little as those who would wrangle about the small economies of the household while the house is on fire. The training of a great people for a century, the aspiration for? liberty of a vast immigration are forces that will hurl aside those who in the delirium of conquest seek to destroy the character of our institutions."
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