US becoming a Global Power
Learn about US history!!! Part 2
Becoming a World Power
The U.S. believed in the policy of isolationism, so they weren't dragged into European wars; but they also believed in the policy of expansionism, to extend their national boundaries. They opened trade with Japan by intimidating them with their huge boats (Treaty of Kanagawa) and bought the state of Alaska from Russia, 2 cents per acre (7.2 million total).
History of Territorial Expansion of the United States
When powerful countries seek to control the economic and political affairs of weak countries or regions, it is called the Policy of Imperialism (Everything was a policy back then). This was mostly to compete for power against Europe. The U.S. expanded their markets and was soon becoming the world leader in both industries and agriculture.
Taking Over Hawaii
When the U.S. looked over at the Pacific Ocean, something caught their eye, Hawaii. At first, American missionaries began arriving in Hawaii, but soon they were eager to convert the Hawaiians to Christianity and take over the plantations. In 1887, the U.S. forced the Hawaiian king to accept a new constitution, to lower his power and increase the plantations.
The U.S. annexed Hawaii in 1898, after taking down the new Hawaiian Queen, Liliuokalani. It became the fiftieth U.S. state in 1959.
Trade with China
During the late 1800's, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Japan carved spheres of influence in China. The U.S. , who was eager to share trade with China too, made all the other countries agree on the "Open Door Policy". This permitted any nation to trade with others in the spheres of others.
War with Spain
For many years, the U.S. looked longingly at Cuba, and seized a chance to involve in it when the Cubans rebelled against the Spanish, which lasted 10 years. Some of of the revolutionaries fled to the U.S. and convinced many Americans to support Cuban independence. The Spanish sent a brutal leader to Cuba to crush the revolts by putting Cubans in reconcentration camps. About 100,000 died from starvation and disease.
Americans Call for War
With American trade in Cuba worth about $100 million a year, the U.S. didn't want to hurt foreign trade. But on the other side, they empathized Cuban desires for freedom. The papers started talking about the Spanish atrocities or wartime acts, they knew that the upcoming war with Spain would boost sales for their newspaper. With yellow journalism, the newspapers attracted many readers and more supporters for the war.
The Spanish-American war lasted for 2 months. At first, the Americans realized that this war would include fighting with other Spanish colonies, like the Philippine Islands. They took the Spanish for surprise in there and took over the capital, Manila. Meanwhile they also set the Rough Riders, a band of people willing to fight for their country, in Cuba, were the Spanish were defeated easily. Only 379 Americans were killed in this war, but about 5,000 died of malaria and other sicknesses in this foreign country.
Debate over Empire
The Spanish, finally gave the Cubans freedom, and gave the U.S. two islands, Puerto Rico in the Caribbean and Guam, in the Pacific. Finally, in return for $20 million, Spain handed over the Philippines too.
Ruling an Empire
The U.S. did not keep the promises they made to the countries they took over. The U.S. , who was unsure about Cuban independence, decided to make Cuba an American protectorate. The U.S. established an American government in Puerto Rico, with American laws and schools. One problem was when the U.S. tried to govern the Philippines, the Filipinos fought for freedom. This war ended in 1901 when their leader was captured, and later on in 1946, the U.S. gave Filipinos independence.
The U.S. in Latin America
A Canal Across Panama
The President of the U.S. decided that there should be a faster way of traveling form the Atlantic to the Pacific, and decided to build a narrow canal connecting both in Panama. He sent troop to fight the Colombians in that land and soon the Panamanians declared independence, letting the U.S. built the canal. Even though mosquitoes stopped the construction of the canal for a while, the U.S. found a way to keep on going. With 40,000 people working hard and 200 million cubic yards of earth out of the way, the first steamship traveled across the Panama Canal in 1914.
U.S. in Latin America
The U.S. didn't want the Europeans in Latin America, so the president announced that the U.S. had the right to intervene in Latin America to preserve law and order. The U.S. had a rough time in Mexico, when the president was overthrown and a dictatorship was made. But once the dictatorship was over and everything in Mexico was settled (after some inconveniences), everything went back to normal.
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