Washington, USA – Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election, defeating incumbent conservative populist Donald Trump, could mark the beginning of a dramatic shift in America’s attitude toward the world. But does that mean things are going back to normal? Let the US election results be analyzed historically from the perspective of American imperialism. “American imperialism” is a term that refers to the economic, military, and cultural influence of the United States internationally.
“American imperialism” is a term that refers to the economic, military, and cultural influence of the United States on other countries. First popularized during the presidency of James K. Polk, the concept of an “American Empire” was made a reality throughout the latter half of the 1800s. During this time, industrialization caused American businessmen to seek new international markets in which to sell their goods. In addition, the increasing influence of social Darwinism led to the belief that the United States was inherently responsible for bringing concepts such as industry, democracy, and Christianity to less developed “savage” societies. The combination of these attitudes and other factors led the United States toward imperialism.
American imperialism is partly rooted in American exceptionalism, the idea that the United States is different from other countries due to its specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy. This theory often is traced back to the words of 1800s French observer Alexis de Tocqueville, who concluded that the United States was a unique nation, “proceeding along a path to which no limit can be perceived.”
Pinpointing the actual beginning of American imperialism is difficult. Some historians suggest that it began with the writing of the Constitution; the imperial behavior of the United States dates back to at least the Louisiana Purchase. This event is an, “aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule.” Here, the U.S. policies toward Native Americans were, “designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires.”
Whatever its origins, American imperialism experienced its pinnacle from the late 1800s through the years following World War II. During this “Age of Imperialism,” the United States exerted political, social, and economic control over countries such as the Philippines, Cuba, Germany, Austria, Korea, and Japan. One of the most notable examples of American imperialism in this age was the annexation of Hawaii in 1898, which allowed the United States to gain possession and control of all ports, buildings, harbors, military equipment, and public property that had formally belonged to the Government of the Hawaiian Islands. On January 17, 1893, the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani, was deposed in a coup d’état led largely by American citizens who were opposed to Liliuokalani’s attempt to establish a new Constitution. This action eventually resulted in Hawaii’s becoming America’s 50th state in 1959.
Main Pros and Cons of American Imperialism
The United States has always had considerable influence on other nations. The US has significant effect on other countries in terms of pop culture, technology, business practices, etc. However, the gravity of how much influence America has on other governments is evidenced by American Imperialism, which is the military, economic and cultural influence of the US on other lands, which usually goes hand in hand with expansion on a grand scale into other territories. This means to say that this influence could the US’ first step to creating an empire.
There is some debate as to when American Imperialism started, but its height was likely from the late 1800s through approximately the 1950s. One of the things that motivated American Imperialism is economic. During that time, the US was already gaining industrial power, which means that they were trying to find new markets to sell their goods. Another motive that led to imperialism was military power. In that era, the US needed bases where their naval ships could refuel. Imperialism helped them secure these bases, giving the country more power to show the rest of the world they were strong and important. The last of the motives was cultural influence. This was the time when America felt it needed to spread its superior forms of culture, religion and government to those who didn’t have much. This was also the time when America was competing for territories with Europe. Nevertheless, American Imperialism was also able to promote nationalism. It became a point of pride to ensure their colonies around the world.
Here are some of the important pros and cons of American Imperialism you can consider:
List of Pros of American Imperialism
- It paved the way for global modernization
America has always been a leader in many areas. For one, they created the transistor, which allowed people to listen to live broadcasts of current news and events. It was also in the US that modern robotics was first introduced, as well as the exploration of space. All of which have been brought to other countries through imperialism. As a result, other nations were able to develop faster than what they would have been able to do without the US’ help.
- It helped develop global defense support
With over 650 military bases in 38 different countries, American Imperialism has helped give the world some level of defensive support, protecting people around the world during conflict. This is by providing training, support, equipment and other resources.
- It brought about industrialization
And by extension, imperialism brought about globalization. It paved the way in the advancement of infrastructure and machinery, helping the colonized countries progress. As a result, there was improvement in the standard of living while literacy rate increased exponentially as educational institutes were established. Aside from that, resources were efficiently utilized for manufacturing and trade, improving economies around the world. What’s more, there was a significant increase in competition between local and international markets.
- It resulted in the exchange of traditions, cultural ideologies and customs
With America bringing influence to other nations, cultural ideas, language, food, religion and other things are exchanged. This led to nations broadening their horizons.
- It led to a myriad of technological advancements
Despite nations gaining higher pedestal long after imperialism was dissolved, no one can deny the fact that such concept brought about significant changes to the colonies in several areas, including transportation, infrastructure, roads, educational institutions and more. Aside from that, there were innovations in science, information technology and healthcare.
- It helped fuel economic growth around the world
Innovation is the main focus American Imperialism, which should allow the US to gain as much profit as possible. This resulted in the development of new products and services not only in the United States, but also in other countries. This has fueled economic growth.
List of Cons of American Imperialism
- It can cause political feud
No country, person or organization wants to be controlled by another entity, which is the reason that there were a few discords among groups or nations that co-existed before imperialism. Because America obtained cheap labor and had easy access to natural resources from their colonies, there was a gap of differentiation between nations. Aside from that, foul play was becoming more obvious, and then got worse while imperialism continued.
- It leads to discrimination
Exchange of traditions and cultures is a good thing, but it should come naturally, not forced. Unfortunately, there were countries that suffered this kind of discrimination as they were forced to adapt to foreign ideas and thoughts despite their protests. What’s worse is that many people from the colonies were shipped and used without them knowing or agreeing, especially in Africa.
- It causes exploitation
Citizens of the colonies who did not accept the beliefs of the superpowers of the colonizers can be exploited and punished for doing so. Aside from that, the colonies’ wealth and natural resources were exploited as well.
- It requires a considerable amount of money to defend more than one nation. American Imperialism is still present in several countries up to this day. With military bases in numerous places around the world, from Germany to Japan, it will require the US government to support all of these defensive forces.
- It is seen as unnecessary
Many opponents of this concept believe that the US government should have spent their own money on developing resources to eliminate dependence from other nations. However, America is spending this money on imported goods. With advancements in technology, the US could have eliminated most imports by producing their own technology.
Now the question is: should America continue to expand to other nations to provide support or should it retract its naval and military bases and give the colonies a chance to stand on their own? By weighing the advantages and disadvantages, you can decide whether you want to support American Imperialism or not.
Why is imperialism important?
The new imperialism changed both Western society and its colonies. Imperialism also brought confrontation between the cultures. By 1900, Western nations had control over most of the globe. Europeans were convinced that they had superior cultures and forced the people to accept modern or Western ways.
Why did imperialism expand in the 19th and 20th centuries?
There are few reasons that Imperialism grew so rapidly at the end of the 19th century. One of the reasons was industrialization. With the industrialization revolution beginning at the start of the 19th century the big powers in Europe were getting superior than other small countries like in Asia or Africa.
When did American imperialism start?
The policy of imperialism is usually considered to have begun in the late 19th century, though some consider territorial expansion at the expense of Native Americans to be similar enough to deserve the same term. Whatever its origins, American imperialism experienced its pinnacle from the late 1800s through the years following World War II.
What were the consequences of American imperialism?
The main impact was that the United States got much larger and much wealthier. Manifest Destiny was the idea that God had destined the US to spread out across the continent of North America. It was not specified how much land the US was to take, but people believed that God wanted the country to expand.
What were the arguments for imperialism?
Various motives prompt empires to seek to expand their rule over other countries or territories. These include economic, exploratory, ethnocentric, political, and religious motives. Economic: Imperial governments, and/or private companies under those governments, sought ways to maximize profits.
What are the five reasons for imperialism?
Five Motives For Imperialism
Economic: To make money, control trade, raw materials and cheap labor
Exploratory: Explore unknown areas, more scientific research, go on an adventure
Political: Gain power, compete with territory, good military force, prestige
Religious: Religious expansionism
Ideological: Ideological political expansionism
What was the major factor that drove American imperialism?
The major factors that contributed to the growth of American imperialism were desire for military strength, thirst for new markets, and belief in cultural superiority.
What are the three main reasons for US imperialism?
What are the three causes for American Imperialism? Political – Belief in superiority of American Culture.
Desire new markets
New technology, more goods than Americans can consume
Foreign trade solve unemployment and economic depression
What are four reasons for imperialism?
Four reasons for imperialism are money, national pride, racism, and religion. Europeans wanted colonies to provide raw materials for their factories and to sell their goods in the new colonies. Some nations wanted to gain colonies to show their national strength.
Why did the US become imperialist?
In the late nineteenth century, the United States abandoned its century-long commitment to isolationism and became an imperial power. Both a desire for new markets for its industrial products and a belief in the racial and cultural superiority of Americans motivated the United States’ imperial mission.
What was the American expansionism?
Westward expansion, the 19th-century movement of settlers into the American West, began with the Louisiana Purchase and was fueled by the Gold Rush, the Oregon Trail and a belief in “manifest destiny.”
Why did the US believe in expansionism?
Manifest Destiny, a phrase coined in 1845, is the idea that the United States is destined—by God, its advocates believed—to expand its dominion and spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent.
Why was Imperialism good for the US?
One of the things that motivated American Imperialism is economic. In that era, the US needed bases where their naval ships could refuel. Imperialism helped them secure these bases, giving the country more power to show the rest of the world they were strong and important.
Is the United States imperialist?
Bemis’s interpretation advanced an earlier consensus that the United States had largely confined itself to its own affairs until pressing world problems forced it into internationalism; that aside from the brief aberration of 1898, the United States remained an anti-imperialist force in global history; and that it used.
How US imperialism impact US workplaces today?
American imperialism is a policy that was made for control over mainly politics, the economy and culture. Imperialism and Manifest Destiny affect American workplaces today because the large-scale companies use Manifest Destiny to get what they want as far as becoming larger.
What territories did the US gain during imperialism?
It’s called “How To Hide An Empire: A History Of The Greater United States.” Well, US imperialism really flowers with the Spanish-American War in 1898. The United States acquired a bunch of territories – Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico.
What are the negative effects of imperialism?
Imperialism impacted societies in countless negative ways. It led to slave trade which then led to social discrimination around the world. It also damaged the cultures and created disunity among the natives. Last but not least, imperialism stripped countries off their natural resources and left nothing for the natives.
What were the positive effects of imperialism?
There were new crops; tools and farming methods, which helped, increase food production. These changes meant less death to smaller colonies, and overall improve the state of living. They now could live longer and have better sanitation compared to the earlier imperialism.
How did American imperialism differ from European imperialism?
The difference between European imperialism and American imperialism was that Europeans directly colonized the subject countries whereas USA mostly did regime changes in the subject nations for the perceived benefit of US . Before World War II American imperialism was confined to the Americas.
What are the three types of imperialism?
The three types of imperialism are colonies, protectorates, and spheres of influence.
How do we justify imperialism today?
Americans justified imperialistic behavior by: Claiming that it was their responsibility. Americans and Europeans both claimed that it was their responsibility as superior races to uplift, civilize and Christianize native peoples. This was known as the White Mans Burden and was based upon the ideas of social Darwinism.
Did the US have colonies?
The US has five permanently inhabited territories: Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in the North Pacific Ocean, and American Samoa in the South Pacific Ocean.
What did the US gain from WW2?
A merica’s response to World War II was the most extraordinary mobilization of an idle economy in the history of the world. During the war 17 million new civilian jobs were created, industrial productivity increased by 96 percent, and corporate profits after taxes doubled.
What territories did the US acquire?
Those territories are American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.
What are the 16 territories of the US?
The United States currently administers 16 insular areas as territories:
Northern Mariana Islands
United States Virgin Islands
Minor Outlying Islands, Bajo Nuevo Bank, Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll
What are the long term effects of imperialism?
The long term effects of imperialism on the colonized people are political changes such as changing the government reflect upon American / European traditions, economic changes that made colonies create resources for factories, and cultural changes that made people convert their religion.
Was the impact of imperialism positive or negative?
Imperialism led to further protection of human rights for indigenous people. Although imperialism led to other good results, it also caused many negative situations and events such as slavery. Because of early contact with Europeans and Africans, there are now cultures such as; African-American.
What were the positive effects of colonization?
Colonialism impacted the African continent socially, politically and economically both positively and negatively. Some of the positive social, economic and political impacts included the introduction of Christianity which brought about more religious mission opportunities.
What were arguments against American imperialism?
The anti-imperialists opposed expansion, believing that imperialism violated the fundamental principle that just republican government must derive from “consent of the governed.” The League argued that such activity would necessitate the abandonment of American ideals of self-government and non-intervention—ideals.
What were three economic arguments raised by the anti imperialists?
What were three economic arguments raised by the anti imperialists? Expansion involved too many costs. Maintains the armed forces required more taxation, debt and possibly compulsory, or required military service.
Why was the Anti Imperialist League important?
On June 15, 1898, the Anti-imperialist league formed to fight US annexation of the Philippines, citing a variety of reasons ranging from the economic to the legal to the racial to the moral. Cover of meeting held in Chicago by the American Anti-Imperialist League. The American Anti-Imperialist League was an organization established in the United States on June 15, 1898, to battle the American annexation of the Philippines as an insular area. The League also argued that the Spanish-American War was a war of imperialism camouflaged as a war of liberation. The anti-imperialists opposed the expansion because they believed imperialism violated the credo of republicanism, especially the need for “consent of the governed.” They did not oppose expansion on commercial, constitutional, religious, or humanitarian grounds; rather, they believed that the annexation and administration of third-world tropical areas would mean the abandonment of American ideals of self-government and isolation—ideals expressed in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, George Washington ‘s Farewell Address, and Abraham Lincoln ‘s Gettysburg Address. The Anti-Imperialist League represented an older generation and was rooted in an earlier era; they were defeated in terms of public opinion, the 1900 election, and the actions of Congress and the president because most younger Progressives who were just coming to power supported imperialism.
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