Imperialism and Expansionism
The late 1800s and early 1900s in the United States were marked by many things. Two of the big trademarks were Imperialism and Expansionism.
Expansionism was simply the expanding of the country. This was happening in many countries at the time. It was almost like a giant competition. Imperialism on the other hand is gaining power over the less dominant places or countries because of the want for possession of raw materials and new markets for manufactured goods. There were many social, military, and economic reasons for expansionism in the US.
In the eyes of the government and the country as a whole expansionism, mainly discussing Hawaii, was justified. Unfortunately, as this country is for the people, it was unjustified because the people were not included in the reasoning for this expansionism. Some of the great reasons for United States expansionism were social and military reasons. There were some great things that happened socially for the United States. For starters, we made a treaty of friendship with Japan, even if it didn’t last long. Also, the Secretary of State, James G.
Blaine invited the Latin Americans to a Pan-American Conference in 1889. The pros of this Conference didn’t last very long either, but was still a huge step in social progress throughout the Western Hemisphere. Also, expansionism was great for many missionaries. The more places that the United States had control over, influence in, or safe passage to, the missionaries could more easily get to in order to share and spread the gospel and love of Jesus Christ. Socially, I would say that spreading God’s word was the greatest accomplishment at the time. The United States wasn’t able to maintain its friendships.
Military wise the US was able to put up a base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, due to both expansionism and Imperialism. This ended up being a great thing for the US even though we had to give up hordes of men at the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a great thing for the Hawaiians. Continuing on, there were many economic motives for the expansionism and imperialism the United States did. We opened up trade with Japan, mainly because they were too afraid of a war to say no.
We started an Open Door Policy with China and this limited Europe’s trade with China so that they didn’t have an arm and a leg advantage over us. Also in Japan, we created a place where fisherman could refuel their boats. Expanding through buying Alaska was also a huge plus for us. We found that Alaska is a huge producer in natural gas and oil. The Monroe Doctrine made it so that Europe couldn’t butt into the western hemisphere for land. That was for the United States and we were pretty good at enforcing it.
We were able to do much trade and expansion among the Latin Americans because of it. Something else we were able to add to our economy was our trade with Hawaii. We started getting pineapples and mass amounts of sugar from them. This made sugar farming in the US less imperative. As you can see government and whole country wise, expansionism was a great happening.
It made the government stronger and gave more money and power to the country. However, the United States, from the people’s perspective, was unjustified in annexing Hawaii. The people and its Queen did not want this to occur. It really didn’t affect the US people, but it did greatly affect the Hawaiians. I feel like they would have been better off had they not been joined to our nation. We forced the annexing to happen and I don’t find that fair or morally right at all.
I find it greedy and selfish and not, “for the people”. In summation, just like an adult chooses his life path with every decision he makes, so goes the way of a country. We get bigger with ever expansion and we get stronger when we are taking control. I just think that making sure that all people’s interests are taken care of as selflessly and morally as possible is what truly makes both a person and a nation great.