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CH 19-21: American Imperialism. In the Beginning… Washington . When George Washington stepped down as President he spoke out against the US becoming involved in international relations, and encouraged a position of Neutrality. This is known as Washington’s Farewell Address

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in the beginning washington
In the Beginning… Washington
  • When George Washington stepped down as President he spoke out against the US becoming involved in international relations, and encouraged a position of Neutrality.
  • This is known as Washington’s Farewell Address
  • His advice was listened to for about 25 years.
americas for americans
Americas for Americans
  • Americans were driven by their belief that they should own from “sea to shinning sea” (Manifest Destiny)
  • European Powers (England, France, Spain, Russia) started to try to make additional claims in Latin & South America.
  • In 1832, James Monroe closedthe American Continents to “Future colonization by any European powers.”
  • This is known as the Monroe Doctrine.
  • Sea to shinning sea wasn’t enough though
manifest destiny expanded
Manifest Destiny Expanded
  • Alaska (1867)
    • Purchased by the US from Russia for $7.2 Million (roughly 2 cents/acre) by Secretary of State William Seward
    • This was largely seen as a GIANT mistake and was called Seward’s Folly or Seward’s Icebox
  • Hawaii (1897)
    • The US would Annex Hawaii as is was good for sugar plantations & refueling stations.
    • Midway Island: Technically apart of the Hawaii archipelago, not actually part of the STATE of Hawaii
contextual history moment
Contextual History Moment…
  • In the late 1800s early 1900s
    • The US was experiencing a depression from bank failure in England
    • The US had just boomed economically with massive industrial production
    • The nation was full of immigrants and unskilled laborers, many of whom could not buy the products they were producing
    • The US needed TRADE badly, and we NEEDED to trade with CHINA
the influence of sea power upon history
The Influence of Sea Power upon History
  • 1890 by Alfred T. Mahan
  • The book detailed how every great power in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD had a great Navy
  • This book was read by many, including Theodore Roosevelt (Future Secretary of the Navy & President)
  • The US develops a world class Navy, which they then feel the need to use.
access to china
Access to China
  • In the 1890s European Powers had divided China into Spheres of Influence, or areas they could trade in & the US had been shut out of this process
  • In an effort to get back into China the US encouraged the Open Door Policy, or open access for all in China
  • The Chinese ashamed at their weakness would start the Boxer Rebellion to try to force out foreign powers, but it was put down by a multinational Western Military (Including the US)
  • The US now has influence in China
trouble in cuba
Trouble in Cuba
  • Cuba was a Imperial asset of Spain
  • In the mid 1890s Americans had invested millions in Cuba sugar plantations
  • Through previous rebellions the Cubans had gained some rights, but a number had fled to the USA
  • In 1895 the Cubans rebelled again, but were losing the fight
  • Many Americans sympathized with the Cubans likening it to the American Revolution, the Presidents at that time remained neutral
newspaper wars
Newspaper Wars
  • In the late 1890s newspapers were the main way of distributing news, and therefore was fiercely competitive industry
  • The two big names in newspapers were William Randolph Hearst & Joseph Pulitzer
  • Both used yellow journalism, or sensationalized news stories to get the readers attention
leading to the war
Leading to the War
  • Two events will help push the US into war with Spain:
  • De Lome Letter: The Spanish ambassador wrote a letter to a friend in Cuba saying that President McKinley was weak & a fool. Hearst got hold of the letter & published it
  • USS Maine: The USS Maine had been docked in Havana to protect US investments. It mysteriously blew up.
      • “You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war.” -Hearst
spanish american war
Spanish American War
  • “A Splendid Little War”
    • Only last 4 months
    • About 3,000 Americans die from fighting
    • About 5,500 Americans die from disease
    • Had very few battles of note, and anything remotely important was hyped up by the Yellow Journalism


Even though the problem is in Cuba the first battle takes place in the Philippines. (Trade Implications)

American Navy swept in, destroyed the Spanish Fleet, and didn’t lose a ship.

The US captured the Philippines in less than 4 months.

They had to wait for ground troops to show up

  • Battle of San Juan Hill
    • Only really important because it was the “big” battle in Cuba
    • The army won the battle, but the papers focused on the Rough Riders
    • The Rough Riders hand picked and led by Theodore Roosevelt who had quit his job as Secretary of the Navy to go fight in the war.
results of the spanish american war
Results of the Spanish American War
  • The official peace treaty is The Treaty of Paris
    • Cuba gets their independence, but permanently leases a military base at Guantanamo Bay to the USA
      • The Platt Amendment & Teller Amendment will stop the US from annexing Cuba
    • The US gets Puerto Rico and Guam
    • The US gains the Philippines in exchange for $20 Million.
      • But why does ANY of this actually matter???



theodor roosevelt
Theodor Roosevelt
  • Would become President after McKinley’s assassination in Buffalo NY
  • Would Introduce the Roosevelt Corollary
  • If it was the US’ job to protect the weak countries of the Western Hemisphere it was their job to be an “international police power.”
  • Treaty of Portsmouth (1905): The US serves as a peace negotiator between the Russians and Japanese
panama canal
Panama Canal
  • Roosevelt was annoyed that during the Spanish American War ships had to sail around South American to get to the Philippines
  • Roosevelt tried to buy the land but was turned down, so instead encouraged the Panamanian people to rebel against Columbia.
  • The 2 biggest obstacles to overcome were disease & geography
  • It took 10 years and 40,000 workers but the canal was completed