10.1: Imperialism and America (2-6)
10.2: The Spanish-American War (7-14)
10.3: Acquiring New Lands (15-20)
10.4: America as a World Power (21-27)

What is the policy of imperialism?
• Policy in which stronger nations extend their economic, political, or military control
over weaker territories.
• Global competition – European nations had been establishing colonies for centuries
(Africa being their prime target).
• Territory in Asia (especially China) – Japan joined the competition after dropping
their feudal order for a central government, in hopes that military strength would
bolster industrialization.

What were the major factors that contributed to the growth of
American imperialism?
• Desire for military strength – build up American naval power to compete with other
powerful nations (Alfred T. Mahan – Admiral of U.S. Navy).
• New Markets – technological advances led to America producing far more than
American citizens alone could consume.
 Needed raw materials for its factories and new markets for its agricultural and manufactured
goods.
 Foreign trade = solution to overproduction and related problems of unemployment and
economic depression.
• Belief in Cultural Superiority – U.S. had the responsibility to spread Christianity and
“civilization” (narrowly define based on the standards of one culture) to the world’s
“inferior peoples”.
 Why
was the purchase of Alaska
significant?
• William Seward (Secretary of State) arranged
the purchase of Alaska from Russia ($7.2
million/2 cents an acre).
 Some saw Alaska as a wasted purchase with nothing
to offer… WRONG!
 Land rich in timber, minerals, and oil.

What groups were interested in increasing
America’s presence in Hawaii? Why?
• American merchants (stopping on their way to China and
•
•
•
•
East India) and Yankee missionaries settled and became
sugar planters (selling most of their crop to the U.S.)
American owned sugar plantations = ¾ of the island’s
wealth
Laborers from Japan, Portugal, and China – outnumbering
native Hawaiians
1875 – U.S. agreed to import Hawaiian sugar duty-free (white
planters benefited greatly).
1890 – McKinley Tariff eliminated the duty-free status
(Hawaiian sugar growers faced competition in the American
market)
 American planters in Hawaii called for the U.S. to annex the islands
so they wouldn’t have to pay the duty.


1887 – U.S. military and economic leaders pressured
Hawaii to allow the building of Pearl Harbor (naval base
that became a refueling station for American ships).
How did Hawaii eventually come under the control of the
United States?
• Hawaii’s King Kalakaua was forced by white business leaders to
amend Hawaii’s constitution to limit voting rights to only wealthy
landowners.
• Queen Liliuokalani came in after Kalakaua’s death with a “Hawaii
for Hawaiians” agenda – remove property owning voting
qualifications.
 Revolution – overthrew the queen and set up a government headed by Stanford
B. Dole.
 President Cleveland formerly recognized the Republic of Hawaii when Dole
refused to surrender power back to the queen.
 Cleveland would not consider annexation unless a majority of Hawaiians favored
it (so nothing changed for a while)
• 1898 (new president) William McKinley who favored annexation got
Congress to proclaim Hawaii an American territory (without the vote
of Hawaiians).
Is this reflective of how a person might behave
when they feel superior to others? Describe the
analogy.
 Manifest destiny greatly influenced American
policy during the first half of the 19th century.
How do you think manifest destiny set the stage
for American imperialism at the end of the
century?
 In your opinion, did Sanford B. Dole and other
American planters have the right to stage a revolt
in Hawaii in 1893?

• American business interests in Hawaii
• The rights of native Hawaiians

Have you ever been shocked or angered by
something you read or heard? How did it make
you want to act? Did you consider whether what
you had heard was true or not?
• Newspapers in the late 1800s often exaggerated
stories to boost their sales as well as to provoke
American intervention in Cuba (Cuba is pushing for
independence from Spain).

End of the 19th century Spain lost most of its
colonies, only retaining the Philippines, Guam,
outposts in Africa, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.


Cuba lies 90 miles south of Florida – U.S. had a strong
interest in getting Cuba from Spain (Spanish would not
give it up).
During Cuban revolts against Spain, America
supported the Cuban people.
• Unsuccessful aside from gaining emancipation for Cuban slaves –
and the U.S. was able to move in on economic opportunities of
sugar plantations!

Josè Martí – Cuban journalist and poet in exile in New
York launched a revolution in 1895
• Cuban resistances against Spain – guerilla campaign and
destroying property (especially American owned sugar mills and
plantations) – provoke U.S. intervention to help free Cuba.

Split opinions – business people wanted the
government support Spain to protect their investments
vs. historical connections to rebel cause.

Spain responds by sending Valeriano Weyler to restore order
– herded large numbers into concentration camps, where
thousands died of hunger and disease.
• In war over newspaper circulation, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph
Pulitzer printed exaggerated accounts of “Butcher” Weyler’s brutality.
• Yellow Journalism – sensational style of writing, which exaggerates the
news to lure and engage readers.

McKinley tried diplomatic means to resolve the crisis – Spain
recalled General Weyler, modified the concentration camp
policy, and offered Cuba limited self-government.
• 1898 a private letter written by the Spanish minister to the U.S., Enrique
Dupuy de Lôme, was published in Hearst’s New York Journal.
 Criticized President McKinley, calling him “weak” – the insult angered many Americans
(even though the Spanish government apologized and the minister resigned).

U.S.S. Maine was sent to Cuba to bring home American
citizens in danger from the fighting and to protect American
property (1898).
• Ship blew up in the harbor of Havana (killing more than 260 men)
• American newspapers claimed that the Spanish did it – “Remember the
Maine”.



Public opinion favored war – April 20, 1898 (Congress
approved war – despite Spanish concessions)
First battle was in the Philippines (Spanish colony)
rather than invading Cuba.
Commodore George Dewey gave command to open
fire on the Spanish fleet in Manila (destroying
everything) – victory allowed U.S. troops to land in the
Philippines.
• Victory demonstrated U.S. naval superiority; however the army was
only a small professional force (inexperienced and ill-prepared
volunteer force).
 Inadequate training, lacked supplies and effective leaders, not enough
modern guns, uniforms did not fit the tropical climate.
• Support from the Filipinos (led by Emilio Aguinaldo), who also
wanted freedom from Spain.

In the Caribbean, hostilities began with a naval
blockade – sealing up the Spanish fleet in the harbor of
Santiago de Cuba.
• Landed in Cuba in June 1898 to converge on the port city of
Santiago.
• Four African American regiments and the Rough Riders
(voluntary Calvary)
• Most famous battle began with an uphill charge by two of the
African regiments and the Rough Riders, clearing the way for an
infantry attack on the strategically important San Juan Hill.
• Naval battle along the Cuban coast ended in the destruction of the
Spanish fleet.
 American troops then invaded Puerto Rico.

The “splendid little war” only last 15 weeks, ending in
the U.S. and Spain signing and armistice – a cease-fire
agreement (peace talks in Paris)
• Spain freed Cuba and turned over Guam and Puerto Rico to the
U.S.
• Spain sold the Philippines to the U.S. for $20 million.

Did the U.S. have the right to annex the
Philippines? Issue of Imperialism…
• McKinley decided that we needed to take the Filipinos and
educate them and uplift and Christianize them (most had been
Christian for centuries)
• Political, moral, and economic arguments were also presented
against the annexation.
 Treaty violated the Declaration of Independence by denying selfgovernment to newly acquired territories.
 Booker T. Washington said we should settle race-relations at
home first.
 Laborers thought the Filipinos would compete for American jobs.

February 1899 the Senate approved the Treaty –
the U.S. Empire now included Guam, Puerto Rico,
and the Philippines… what next?



When Puerto Rico became part of the U.S. after the SpanishAmerican War, many Puerto Ricans feared the U.S. would not
give them the same measure of self-rule they had gained under
the Spanish.
Not all Puerto Ricans wanted independence – some wanted
statehood and others wanted some measure of local selfgovernment as an American territory.
Puerto Rico remained under control of the military until
Congress decided otherwise (making no promises regarding
its independence).
• Puerto Rico was strategically important to the U.S. – in maintaining a
presence in the Caribbean and to protect a future canal America had
planned across the Isthmus of Panama.
• Foraker Act (1900): ended military rule and set up a civil government.
 U.S. president appointed Puerto Rico’s governor and members of the upper house of its
legislature – Puerto Ricans could only elect members to the lower house.
• In 1901, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not
automatically apply to acquired territories
 In 1917 Congress granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship and the right to elect both
houses of their legislature.

Since 1898 the U.S. has recognized Cuba’s independence from Spain.

Upon wars end, American troops remained in Cuba – making some fear that the
U.S. would merely replace Spain and dominate Cuban politics.

•
Teller Amendment: stated that the U.S. had no intention of taking over any part of Cuba.
•
•
Same officials who served Spain remained in office – protestors were imprisoned or exiled.
At the same time, the American military government provided food and clothing, helped farmers
put land back into cultivation, organized elementary schools, and helped eliminate yellow fever.
Because the Cuban constitution (1900) did not specify the relationship between
Cuba and the U.S., the U.S. insisted on the addition of several provisions known as
the Platt Amendment:
•
•
•
•

U.S. would remain in Cuba until the amendment was adopted (many thought Cuba
lacked the ability to govern themselves)
•

Cuba cannot make treaties limiting its independence or allow foreign power to control any part of
its territory.
U.S. reserved the right to intervene in Cuba.
Cuba was not to go into debt that its government could not repay.
U.S. could buy or lease land on the island for naval/refueling stations.
In 1903 the Cubans ratified the new constitution and Cuba became a U.S. protectorate (a country
whose affairs are partially controlled by a stronger power).
The U.S. needed to maintain a strong political presence in Cuba to protect our
businesses that had invested in the island’s sugar, tobacco, mining, railroads, and
public utilities.

Filipinos were very upset that the Treaty of Paris called
for American annexation of the Philippines.
• Emilio Aguinaldo (rebel leader) believed they were promised
independence.
• 1899 the Filipinos (led by Aguinaldo) rose in revolt (using guerilla
tactics)
 U.S. took almost the same role as Spain had (imposing authority on a colony
fighting for freedom).
 Filipinos were forced to live in designated zones (many died) – hypocritical?
 White American soldiers treated Filipinos as inferiors, while many AfricanAmerican soldiers deserted to the Filipino side disagreeing with the idea of
spreading racial prejudice.
 Rebellion lasted 3 years – human and financial costs were high.
• U.S. set up a government similar to the one it had established in
Puerto Rico.
 Philippines gradually moved towards independence (republic in 1946)



Imperialist saw the Philippines as a gateway to Asia – China
(vast potential market for American products, and
opportunities for large-scale railroad construction).
Weakened from war and foreign intervention, China was known
as the “sick man of Asia” – having had countries come in and
claiming special rights and economic advantages.
If China was cut up into colonies, American traders would be
shut out, so U.S. Secretary of State John Hay, issued policy
statements known as the Open Door Notes (1899):
• Addressed to leaders of the imperialist nations proposing the nations
share their trading rights with the U.S. (open door).
• No single nation would have a monopoly on trade with any part of China.
• The others accepted this policy.

Europeans still dominated most of China’s large cities,
upsetting many Chinese – leading some to form societies
pledging to rid the country of “foreign devils” (Boxers)
• Boxers killed missionaries, foreigners, and Chinese converts to
Christianity.
• International forces put down the Boxer Rebellion.

Second series of open door notes – fearing Europeans would
use the victory of the Boxer Rebellion to take even greater
control of China.
• U.S. would protect the idea of equal and impartial trade in all parts of
China (ulterior motives? Greater American influence in Asia)

Open Door policy reflected 3 beliefs of industrial capitalist
economies (bedrock of American foreign policy):
• Growth of U.S. economy depended on exports
• U.S. had a right to intervene abroad to keep foreign markets open
• Closing of an area to American products, citizens, or ideas was a threat
 1900
– William McKinley (imperialist) is
elected to a second term, confirming that
the majority of Americans favored his
policies.
 Anti-Imperialist League – different
opinions/reasons for opposition but they
were all in agreement that it was wrong for
the U.S. to rule other people without their
consent.
 Under Roosevelt and Wilson, the U.S. would
continue to exert its power around the
globe…

Roosevelt took office in 1901 (after McKinley was
assassinated), not willing to let Europe control the world’s
political and economic destiny.
• Roosevelt mediated a settlement in war between Russia and
Japan to increase America’s influence in East Asia.
 In 1904, imperialist countries Russia and Japan were competing for
Korea.
 Japan attacked the Russian Pacific fleet and destroyed it along with the
reinforcement second fleet and secured Korea and Manchuria in a series
of land battles.
 Japan was running out of men and money, so they approached Roosevelt and asked
him to mediate peace negotiations – he agreed.
 Treaty of Portsmouth (won Roosevelt the Nobel Peace Prize) – gave
Japan half of the Sakhalin Island (and forgo a desired cash payment from
Russia), while Russia agreed to let Japan take over Russian interests in
Manchuria and Korea.
 U.S. and Japan continued diplomatic talks and in later agreements,
pledged to respect each other’s possessions and interests in East Asia
and the Pacific.

Many felt the U.S. needed a canal cutting across Central
America, reducing travel time for commercial and military
ships (shortcut).
• In the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, Britain gave the U.S. exclusive rights to
build and control the canal.
• In 1903, the U.S. bought French Company’s route through Panama for $40
million.
• Panama was then a province of Colombia, so the U.S. had to get permission
from Colombia before building
 The negotiations broke down, so a Panamanian rebellion was organized to free Panama
from Colombia (1903).
 Upon, declaring its independence, Panama and U.S. signed a treaty stating the U.S. would
pay Panama $10 million plus an annual rent of $250,000 for an area of land across
Panama (to begin in 1913).
• Work began in 1904 and was completed in 1914 – it was one of the world’s
greatest engineering feats and very dangerous to build
 The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are at different levels, requiring locks.
 Feeding and housing issues for all workers was difficult – leading to disease (but was
positively dealt with by chief engineer, John Stevens.
 U.S.-Latin American relations were damaged due to the American support of the
rebellion in Panama (despite Congress paying Colombia $25 million to compensate for
its lost territory).
 Roosevelt
feared that Europe might step
into help Latin American countries
financially, taking away our power in the
Caribbean and Central America.
• Reminder of the Monroe Doctrine (1823) –
demanded that European countries stay out of the
affairs of Latin American nations.
 Added the Roosevelt Corollary – U.S. would use force to
protect its economic interests in Latin America
 Taft continued this by using the U.S. government to guarantee loans
made to foreign countries by American business people (dollar
diplomacy) – keep European powers out of the Caribbean.
 Wilson
gave the Monroe Doctrine
more of a moral tone (“missionary
diplomacy”)
• U.S. had a moral responsibility to deny
recognition to any Latin American
government it viewed as oppressive,
undemocratic, or hostile to U.S. interests.
 Mexican
policy…
Revolution tested Wilson’s

The military dictator of Mexico was a friend to the U.S., allowing
for them to be dominant foreign investors (leaving the common
people poor).
• In 1911 a group under Francisco Madero rebelled and overthrew Diaz,
promising democratic reforms.
 But he couldn’t please everyone and was taken over by General Victoriano Huerta
– Madero was killed within days of Huerta taking over (Wilson would not
recognize the “government of butchers”).

Wilson developed a plan of “watchful waiting” looking for a time
to act against Huerta.
• 1914 – mistaken arrest of American sailors gave Wilson an excuse to
intervene in Mexico.
• Mediators (Argentina, Brazil, and Chile) proposed that Huerta step down
and the U.S. troops withdraw without paying Mexico for damages.
 Mexico rejected the plan and Wilson refused to recognize a government that had come
to power as a result of violence.
 Huerta’s regime collapsed on its own and a nationalist leader came to power so Wilson
withdrew the troops and formally recognized the Carranza government.

Carranza struggled – rebels under Francisco “Pancho”
Villa and Emiliano Zapata opposed the provisional
government.
• Despite Villa’s friendship talks with the U.S., when Wilson
recognized the Carranza government, Villa threatened to viciously
murder Americans in Mexico.
• American public wanted revenge, so Wilson ordered General John
J. Pershing into Mexico to capture Villa dead or alive (forces
remained for almost a year upsetting Carranza’s Mexicans)

Both forces backed down before going to war
• U.S. was facing war in Europe and needed peace with its southern
border.
• Pershing was brought home in 1917 and Mexico adopted a
constitution giving the government control of the nation’s oil and
mineral resources and placed strict regulations on foreign
investors.
 Carranza failed to carry out its measures and instead ruled oppressively until
1920 when Alvaro Obregon came to power – beginning reform.

U.S. intervention in Mexico was a model of American
imperialist attitudes – superiority of free-enterprise
democracy, would extend our economic and political reach,
even by armed intervention.
• U.S. expanded access to foreign markets to ensure economic
growth.
• U.S. built a modern navy to protect its interests abroad.
• U.S. exercised its international police power to ensure
dominance in Latin America.

The Russo-Japanese War, the Panama Canal, and the
Mexican Revolution added to America’s military and
economic power.
• Involvement in conflicts around 1900 led to involvement in
World War I and later to a peacekeeper role in today’s world.

Chapter 10: America Claims an Empire