United States Imperialism Essay

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The original doctrine of Manifest Destiny, which emerged in the 1840s to accompany westward continental expansion, advocated a belief that America was destined by God to expand its borders across the continent in order to spread the blessings of liberty. Beveridge explicates in his 1900 speech to 56th Congress (Doc.

E), this belief was equally influential in later imperial America; he expresses the Americans’ self-recognition as God’s chosen people, a race not only blessed, but bound by a holy duty to enlighten the rest of the world through their own expansion.

This political motivation was clearly a development new to American imperialism, since past expansionism had only extended the country’s borders and maintained its policy of isolationism.

The early twentieth century heralded an era of American expansionism that broke with past principles in its pursuit of economic and political interests, while it maintained cultural and social incentives of past continental expansion.

It had acquired this international precedence through its involvement in the fervent imperialism of the era; the rapid expansion, colonization, and competition that was occupying the most influential nations of the world, including Britain, France, Germany, and Japan.

America’s new found role as a colonial power was not, however, a sudden development.

Josiah Strong reaffirmed this ethnocentricity in his book Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis (Doc.

B) as he described the holy mission of the Anglo-Saxon race to spread civil liberty and Christianity throughout continents across the globe.

Whereas the United States expansionism of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries was a clear continuation of the social and cultural principles that had fueled the nation’s past expansionism, it was to a greater degree a departure from the methods of the past through its pursuit of new economic and political motives.

American imperialism of the late 1800s and early 1900s demonstrated the same cultural and social justification of previous expansionism.


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