The American Imperialism

Written by: Professor Eddie
Updated: Aug 30, 2023
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American imperialism took place in the 1850s, having many causes and effects, although not all were bad. The three leading causes of American Imperialism were linked to economics, politics, and culture[1]. The economic factors were supposed to find new markets for trade. Most political motives were based on the nation’s desire to gain as much power as possible to enable the US to compete with other countries, expand territory, increase military force, and boost national security and pride. The Alaska purchase was the acquisition of Russian America by the United States from the Russian Empire in 1867 by a treaty ratified by the US Senate[2].

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In 1841, the Venezuela boundary dispute began. The Kingdom of Hawaii was closely linked by missionary work and trade to the US by the 1880s. In 1893, business leaders overthrew the queen and sought annexation.

On March 31, 1854, representatives of Japan and the United States signed a historic treaty. A United States naval officer, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, negotiated tirelessly for several months with Japanese officials to achieve the goal of opening the door of trade with Japan. Most economic motives included the desire to make more money, expand foreign trade, and create new products for the market. The economic motives also helped fuel growth worldwide, especially in places like Alaska. The Alaska Purchase was the acquisition of Russian America by the United States from the Russian Empire in 1867 by a treaty ratified by the US Senate[3].

The US wanted to extend its influence and the way of life in the global sphere. This concept was outlined in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “White Man’s Burden,” where Kipling argued that other countries were not as civilized as the United States. Christian missionaries from Europe established the church in the US and conquered territories in different countries. The European missionaries aimed to spread culture and end slavery. The United States made significant improvements through American imperialism driven by economic, political, and cultural expansion. Many people fought for the America we have today. The causes we fight for shape the America we live in today. America, to this day, will always be known for being one of the leading imperialist countries worldwide.


  1. Saul, Norman E. Distant Friends: The United States and Russia, 1763-1867. University Press of Kansas, 1991.
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The American imperialism. (2019, Aug 09). Retrieved from