Imperialism – 1850 to about 1910

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During the period of 1850 to about 1910, American imperialism was motivated by four main factors: economic, political, geographic, and cultural. The economic factors were desires to find new markets for trade. By extending colonial power throughout the world, the United States would have new trading partners and markets. In addition, the U.S. would be closer to new markets; when the U.S. became a colonial power in the Philippines, it opened up trade with East Asia. In the political world, imperialism was spreading nationalism and patriotism.

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Imperialism is the policy of extending a nation’s political and economic dominance or management over another territory or country. Imperialism added wealth, status and increased their military strength.

Many countries lost their freedom and independence due to imperialism but were replaced with new technologies and innovations. The U.S. adherence to a policy of Imperialism was solely based on economics and this can best be seen in the U.S. actions with China, Hawaii, and Latin America. To begin, tea, silk, and porcelain were high demands for China. The free trade would be an advantage to American corporations for high-quality products better than other countries. American businesses looked for new markets overseas, and so some kind of imperial policy was thought necessary to achieve this goal. The European colonial powers such as Great Britain and France had accomplished such a policy for a handful of years with much success. As the American economy was rapidly becoming the world’s largest, there was a certain logic to the United States showing their example. The major cause of this transformation has been America’s involvement in war and preparation for war over the past hundred years. War has changed and twisted our constitutional order, the course of our national development, and the very mentality of our people. Next, there was a turning point ignited by a series of military events. The war with Spain, the war for the conquest of the Philippines, and our entry into the First World War.

Together, they represented a cut into deeply subjects and ideas, with American traditions of government. Advantages of technology lead to the growth of Latin America’s exports. This helped increase trade in sales of beef, fruits and vegetables, and other perishable goods. Latin American countries used very little of their export financial gain to create roads, schools, or hospitals.

George Washington had laid down guidelines, which were followed by American Policy, leading up to the end of the 19th century. The United States at one point had so much pride, to an extent believing that they needed to be dominant and the strongest nation in the world. It was thought that it was America’s duty to crown itself as the “world power”. Afterward, America’s victory through a Revolution and Civil war sent pride and egotism throughout the nation becoming one of the most important causes of the U.S. adopting imperialist policies. In just 50 years, from the Civil War to World War I, the United States was to take its place as becoming a world power. This would be one of the main reasons why the U.S adopted Imperialistic policies because of the repeated pride and egotism of America leading to the reason for expanding. Another reason for the United States expansion would be religion.

A man named Josiah Strong was a supporter of using religion to justify imperialism. In Conclusion, the U.S.’s reasoning for adopting imperialist policies was both social and economic due to Social Darwinism, Religion, and Foreign Goods. Still, to this day, America believes that we are the greatest nation in the world. Those certain extents of the U.S taking on imperialistic policies and ideas are true. The reasons behind it were in fact because of the economic exposure America was undergoing.

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Imperialism - 1850 to about 1910. (2021, Jun 26). Retrieved from