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Imperialism Defined • Imperialism refers to the domination of another society against the expressed will of its people. Imperialism can be both formal and informal. In the case of formal empire—as in the British rule over the thirteen American colonies during the eighteenth century—a powerful foreign state manages the day-to-day political, social, and economic affairs in another land. Informal empire, in contrast, refers to a more indirect arrangement, whereby a foreign state works through local intermediaries to manage a distant society. (Encyclopedia of American History)
Why did the US embrace imperialism? • Wanted new places to sell American goods • Wanted access to raw materials • Wanted new areas for US businesses to operate • Wanted naval bases • Felt pressure to keep up with Europe • Saw imperialism as justified because the US was superior to those it ruled
Examples of US Imperialism • Japan • Hawaii • Cuba • Philippines • China • Panama • Latin America
Japan • In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Tokyo Bay with hopes of opening Japan to western trade. He was directed to another port, but refused to leave and demanded permission to present a letter from President Millard Fillmore, threatening force if he was denied. The Japanese military forces could not resist Perry's modern weaponry; the "Black Ships" would then become, in Japan, a threatening symbol of Western technology and colonialism. • The Japanese government let Perry come ashore to avoid a naval bombardment. Perry presented the letter to delegates present, and left promising to return for a reply. • Commodore Perry's fleet returned for his second visit to Japan in 1854 with twice as many ships, finding that the delegates had prepared a treaty embodying virtually all the demands in Fillmore's letter.
Hawaii • In the mid-1800s, American businessmen began to move to Hawaii (an independent country) and came to dominate its economy. • By the late 1800s, the local Hawaiians tried to limit American influence. • Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani was determined to eliminate American influence in the government. She tried to create a new constitution that would strengthen the traditional monarchy.
Hawaii—Part 2 • The American residents were outraged. They organized the Committee of Safety. On the morning of January 17, 1893, armed members of the committee took over the government office building. From its steps they read a proclamation abolishing the monarchy and establishing a provisional government. The provisional government "would exist until terms of union with the United States of America have been negotiated and agreed upon." Sanford B. Dole, an elderly judge with a flowing, white beard, became its president.
Hawaii—Part 3 • Hawaiians who were loyal to their queen tried to come to her defense and stop the revolution. When they arrived in Honolulu, however, American troops confronted them. The United States' minister, John L. Stevens, had sent for a battalion of marines and an artillery company. They were ordered to protect the provisional government. For the Hawaiians, resistance was hopeless. • Queen Liliuokalani sadly surrendered her throne. She wrote a document in which she "yielded to the superior forces of the United States." She pleaded with the U.S. government to "undo the actions of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority I claim as the Constitutional Sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands."
Hawaii—Part 4 • The Provisional Government sent five representatives to Washington to apply for annexation. They quickly drew up a treaty, and President Harrison signed it and submitted it to Congress. • Before the Senate could approve the treaty, however, a new president took office. This president, Grover Cleveland, had reservations about taking over an independent country. He withdrew the treaty. • In 1896, however, the election of a Republican, William McKinley, as president of the United States, rekindled Hawaiian hopes for annexation. President McKinley, like many Republicans, favored expansionism, and he welcomed the new annexation treaty. A joint resolution of Congress annexing Hawaii passed both houses, and the islands became American possessions in 1898.
Cuba • The US freed Cuba from Spanish control, but did not grant it true independence. • The Platt amendment, which was added to the Cuban constitution of 1901, affected Cuba's rights to negotiate treaties and permitted the U.S. to maintain its naval base at Guantánamo Bay and to intervene in Cuban affairs “for the preservation of Cuban independence.” • The US frequently intervened in Cuba until Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.
Philippines • The US acquired the Philippines from Spain as a result of the Spanish American war. • Instead of granting the Philippines its independence, the US took control (after a lengthy debate in the US Senate) • Filipino insurgents, led by Emilio Aguinaldo, fought against the American occupation.
Philippines, Part II • The US eventually put down the rebellion led by Aguinaldo. • Over 4,000 Americans died. Up to 600,000 Filipinos died. • The Philippines gained their full independence in 1946
China • The US sought an Open Door Policy-- the concept that all nations should have equal trade rights in China. • In 1900, Secretary of State John Hay announced that the great powers had agreed to the open door. • Why is this imperialism?
The Boxer Rebellion • The Boxer Uprising was a Chinese rebellion from November 1899 to September 7, 1901 against foreign influence in areas such as trade, politics, and religion. By August 1901, over 230 foreigners, tens of thousands of Chinese Christians, an unknown number of rebels had been killed in the ensuing chaos. The uprising crumbled on August 14, 1900 when 20,000 foreign troops entered the Chinese capital, Peking (Beijing). • The Chinese government was powerless to stop the foreign intervention and was forced to agree to western demands.
The Boxer Rebellion Chinese forces takes European enemy generals prisoner in this Chinese print of the Boxer Rebellion.
Panama • The US wanted to build a canal through Panama, which was part of the nation of Colombia. By the middle of 1903, though, the Colombian government in Bogotá had balked at the prospect of a U.S. controlled canal under the terms that Roosevelt's administration was offering. The U.S. was unwilling to alter its terms and quickly changed tactics, encouraging a handful of Panamanian landholding families to demand a Panama independent from Colombia. The USS Nashville was dispatched to deter any resistance from Bogotà and so with United States' encouragement, Panama proclaimed its independence. Less than three weeks later, the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty which allowed for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land 10 miles wide and 50 miles long on either side of the Panama Canal Zone. In that zone, the U.S. would build a canal, then administer, fortify, and defend it "in perpetuity." In 1999, the control of the Panama Canal was turned over the Panama.
Latin America • While the US did not seek to take over any Latin American nations. However, we sought to control governments so they were friendly to US businesses. • Between 1898 and 1930, the US sent troops to Latin-American nations 32 times. • How did we justify such intervention?
Roosevelt Corollary (to the Monroe Doctrine) • Roosevelt Corollary: • President Theodore Roosevelt's assertive approach to Latin America and the Caribbean has often been characterized as the "Big Stick," and his policy came to be know as the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. Although the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 was essentially passive (it asked that Europeans not increase their influence or re-colonize any part of the Western Hemisphere), by the 20th century a more confident United States was willing to take on the role of regional policeman. [Continued]
Roosevelt Corollary Part II • In the early 1900s Roosevelt grew concerned that a crisis between the Dominican Republic and its creditors could spark an invasion of that nation by European powers. The Roosevelt Corollary of 1904 stated that the United States would intervene as a last resort to ensure that other nations in the Western Hemisphere fulfilled their obligations to international creditors, and did not violate the rights of the United States or invite "foreign aggression to the detriment of the entire body of American nations." As the corollary worked out in practice, the United States increasingly used military force to restore internal stability to nations in the region. Roosevelt declared that the United States might "exercise international police power in 'flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence.'" Over the long term the corollary had little to do with relations between the Western Hemisphere and Europe, but it did serve as justification for U.S. intervention in Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. [From the US State Department]
Causes Spanish control of Cuba and American sympathies for the Cuban rebels. Yellow journalism USS Maine explodes Thirst for empire Effects US acquires Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico US gains influence in Cuba In the four months of fighting, Americans had lost a total of 460 soldiers in battle in the “Splendid Little War” Teddy Roosevelt became a war hero The Spanish-American WarAn Overview