DBQ - Imperialism: 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?
By the year 1901, the United States possessed the third-largest navy in the world, a considerable overseas empire, and a burgeoning reputation as a world power. It had acquired this international precedence through its involvement in the fervent imperialism of the era; the rapid expansion, colonization, and competition that was occupying the most influential nations of the world, including Britain, France, Germany, and Japan. America’s new found role as a colonial power was not, however, a sudden development. Whereas the United States expansionism of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries was a clear continuation of the social and cultural principles that had fueled the nation’s past expansionism, it was to a greater degree a departure from the methods of the past through its pursuit of new economic and political motives. American imperialism of the late 1800s and early 1900s demonstrated the same cultural and social justification of previous expansionism. The original doctrine of Manifest Destiny, which emerged in the 1840s to accompany westward continental expansion, advocated a belief that America was destined by God to expand its borders across the continent in order to spread the blessings of liberty. As Senator Albert J. Beveridge explicates in his 1900 speech to 56th Congress (Doc. E), this belief was equally influential in later imperial America; he expresses the Americans’ self-recognition as God’s chosen people, a race not only blessed, but bound by a holy duty to enlighten the rest of the world through their own expansion. This was the sentiment of “The White Man’s Burden”, described in Rudyard Kipling’s 1899 poem of this title, which invoked the social responsibility of the American race to elevate the primitive