Imperialism – Dbq

1 January 2017

Arsheen Memon AP US History DBQ Imperialism was a significant factor in shaping the foreign policy of the United States from the 1890’s to the early 1900’s. Imperialism is when one superior country dominates their authority on other weaker or smaller countries. The concept of manifest destiny had dies down during the Civil Rights movement, but now that things were slowing down, the urgency of the United States to move to the West was more prevalent. By taking the path of imperialism the United States better molded their foreign policies with acquisitions, increasing comparison with Europe, and economic benefits.

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As America ventured on its exploration for imperialism their dominance grew through the world. Initially, striking Hawaii, in the early 1890’s, America instilled their fear through the world. Being stubborn and overbearing America took the throne of the Hawaiian queen, Lili’uokalami. According to the Statement by Lili’uokalami the United States was going to “reinstate [her] in the authority… as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands…,” however this was a false promise by the United States (Document J).

After the dominance of Hawaii, America went after Cuba. When they took over Cuba the Teller Amendment was put into place, claiming that the Unites States would not take over Cuba, and leave it under the control of its island’s people. Soon after this was revoked and replaced by the Platt Amendment which claimed that the, “government of Cuba shall never enter a treaty with foreign powers,” this treaty restrained other countries with collaborating with Cuba and took American dominance to the next level (Document D).

In Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, you see the United States referred to as the “international police,” which show its impact on the world as a whole. (Document B). Through this time period you see America’s relationship with Europe becoming more unstable, because of Americas growing worldwide supremacy. The Speech by the Methodist Church group represented the Americans feeling as if it was their right to take care of the ‘incapable’ countries.

At a certain point in this document William McKinley states, “There was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos” (Document A). This shows the United States thinking that they were becoming more capable of overlooking these countries, the fact that this comes from a church group, asserts that the Unites States thinks it is their God given right to complete this task. The comparison between Europe and the United States reminds me of the picture in the text book with Roosevelt’s Corollary.

In the picture, Roosevelt is depicting America and standing in the middle as a superior power, in between Europe and Cuba. This is ironic because not to long before this Europe and the United States shared the same power, but all of a sudden the United States was ahead of them. The similarity between the dominance of these two countries is the fear they are instilling in the smaller, less developed countries. During this time period you see Europe dominating Africa and then soon after, India as well.

The First Open Door Note shows that the United States opens up the Port in China equally; however one can clearly see that this is in the best interest for the United States and that is why it was done (Document E). The growing sense of nationalism in the United States is helping the country grow as a whole. The March of the Flag shows the United States new found confidence when Beveridge claims that “American energy is greater than Spanish sloth… ” (Document G). Along with other imperialistic changes, the United States is also gaining power in trade and commerce, which is boosting the economy.

By looking at the map, America: Pathway to the Present, one can easily analyze the physical dominance of the United States from 1857 to 1904 (Document C). One can see the US spreading their territory towards the west, which makes it easier for them to trade and interact with China. One can analyze that the United States intervention on these countries sis primarily based on their financial interest. For example, the Panama Canal, the United States bought over this small portion of Panama to create a canal to the other side of the hemisphere.

This gives United States control over product moving effectively from one side to the other. United States intrusion on Hawaii was also based on financial interest; they saw great prosperity in the soil of Hawaii and thought the fertile soil and chap labor were ideal to set up a prospering economy. Overall, imperialism gave the United States a new found superiority and dominance over foreign policies. The United States constant comparison with Europe and their economic benefit contributed to molding their foreign policies.

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