The United States takes its Place in the World The Building of an Empire. A Grade 5 Social Studies Online Activity. Blueprint History – Era 7 (1890 – 1930) Emergence of Modern America.
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The United States takes its Place in the WorldThe Building of an Empire
A Grade 5
Social Studies Online Activity
By the late 1800’s the United States had emerged as a leader in agriculture and industry.
Now that our country stretched from ocean to ocean, many American leaders felt that the United States should start stretching to new lands. They looked for new resources and materials and new markets for American goods.
Many Americans thought it was foolish for the United States to buy Alaska from Russia in 1867 because it was so far away and so unknown.
However, in 1896 gold was discovered in the Klondike region and a gold rush reminiscent of 1849 began.
Buying Alaska turned out to be very profitable, and as resources of gold, fish, lumber, coal and copper poured in, many felt that we should search for new lands across seas.
The Hawaiian Islands had been inhabited since the eighth century. By the late 1800’s many Americans lived there. In 1887 King Kalakaua tried to keep Americans from taking over his islands, but failed. The many Americans who lived there forced the King to sign a new constitution that left the Hawaiian monarchy with no power.
Queen Liliuokalani was one of the most renown queens of Hawaii. She tried in 1893 to bring back the monarchy’s authority. She vowed to make Hawaii a place ruled by the native people again. She failed and Hawaii was annexed as a state in 1898. Queen Liliuokalani was the last queen of Hawaii and wrote the famous song Aloha Oe which means “Farewell to thee.”
The United States began to come into conflict with other countries who were spreading beyond their borders, too – especially Spain.
President McKinley sent our battleship, the Maine, to Cuba to show our country’s support of their rebellion for independence from Spain. The ship exploded in Havana’s harbor and many people blamed Spain.
On April 25, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain. The slogan of the war?
“Remember the Maine!”
Thousands of Americans volunteered to fight in the war against Spain. Our Army quickly grew from 30,000 soldiers to more than 274,000.
Theodore Roosevelt was one of the war volunteers and he led a company of cowhands and college athletes who called themselves the rough riders.
The war lasted less than 4 months, but more than 5000 Americans died. The United States was left feeling like a stronger world power. Under the peace treaty, the United States gained control of Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands. Guam and Puerto Rico are still under US control today.
Because of his part in the war, Theodore Roosevelt was a very popular man. He quickly was elected to public positions and soon became the Vice President of the United States. When President McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became the new President of the United States.
President Roosevelt steered the United States more actively into world politics. He liked to quote a favorite proverb, "Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.”
He believed that what happened in the rest of the world directly affected the United States, thus the United States should help shape the world.
President Roosevelt was a man of Action.
Many Americans thought that he would bring our country to war because of his tough rhetoric and opinions concerning peace and readiness for war. Instead, and in spite of the broiling turmoil across the oceans, “the two Roosevelt administrations were among the most peaceful and harmonious in all of American history. And as if that were not enough, the president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating the end to the bitter Russo-Japanese War in 1905 – the first American so honored.” *
President Roosevelt saw the need for a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and began the process that would build the Panama Canal. For years people had talked about the possibility of such a canal and the French had attempted one years earlier, but were unsuccessful. Thick jungles and disease were major problems. Another problem arose when Columbia refused to sell the isthmus of Panama to the US.
Not willing to give up on the canal, President Roosevelt sent word to the people of Panama that IF a revolution against Columbian rule happened to take place, the US Navy would be near to prevent Columbian troops from entering Panama. A revolution soon took place, Panama became independent and gave the US permission to begin work on the canal. New machines, medicine, and knowledge helped keep the workers healthy.
President Roosevelt was the first President of the United States to leave the United States while President. He visited the Panama Canal on August 15, 1914. The canal today still helps move people and goods all around the world.
In a manner of a few decades, the United States had found her place among the leaders of the world. Her influence was felt by many and her people were proud to call themselves Americans.