American Imperialism

American imperialism:

Chapter 19, what do these documents reveal about the motives and mixed feelings about US War with Spain in 1898 and subsequent expansion overseas?

Your essay should be 750 words long (minimum), well-written, and refer to specific primary source documents.

The primary site for reference:19. American Empire | THE AMERICAN YAWP 

American Imperialism-Sample Solution


Since independence, the United States has exerted itself in the majority of the world through its foreign policy for various reasons, with economic interests being the primary one. America has expanded its political, economic, cultural, and media influence beyond the boundaries, serving American interests. The US is considered an imperial power after abandoning its long-term commitment to isolationism, exercising massive control in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam islands, Hawaii, and Cuba. In addition, the US supported organizations, countries, and groups that revolved against other powerful nations like Spain to maintain its regional and global influence. The primary causes of American imperialism are economic competition from powerful nations, political and military competition, and the perception of racial and cultural superiority over other nations and people, particularly in the Middle East. This paper aims to discuss motives and mixed feelings about US War with Spain in 1898 and subsequent expansion overseas.(American Imperialism Essay Example)

American War with Spain

Spain sailed westward across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, becoming the first European nation to colonize American territories in the Western Hemisphere. Spain occupied a large territory, from Virginia East Coast to Tierra del Fuego, except Brazil. It also conquered the Philippines and other islands in the Pacific.[1] However, the territories shrunk, and by 1895, Spain only controlled Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippine Islands, Mariana, and the Marshall islands after declaring the independence of the regions that are in the present-day United States. From 1895 to 1898, Cuba and the Philippine Islands fought back against Spain, culminating in United States interventions in both incidences.[2]The US reinforced military groups in Cuba and the Philippines Islands and, at some point, participated in counterrevolutionary conflicts in the Philippines to expand its global outreach. The war with Spain was revolutionary for American Imperialism as it sought increased involvement in the affairs of other nations[3]. As a result, America stretched its hand into international politics, especially in Latin America. [4](American Imperialism Essay Example)

The US adopts multiple ways of exercising imperialism and luring or forcing countries into treaties and friendships. No matter the approach, there is always a motive, and American interests will always come first. For instance, to expand its influence in neighboring nations like Cuba and Mexico, the US indulges in helping the countries solve their problems and sometimes aligning with a particular leader against the leader opposing American ideologies.[5] Taking Cuba as an example, the country had tried but in vain to gain independence from Spain. Spain’s military superiority could not crumble even after multiple uprisings and Gorilla war fairs[6]. The United States was aware of the atrocities Spain committed in Cuba and ordered a military engagement, although not a confrontation with Spain. The concern was not primarily for the Cuban people but for the safety of American lives and property in Cuba. In this case, American interests were a priority, serving as the primary motive for offering to help Cuba.[7] The fall of the battleship Maine forced a military confrontation between the US and Spain in Cuba, leading to the crumbling of Spain’s military. The American victory was celebrated and considered a “providential act of God,” but some saw it as an opportunity for expansion. The US considered itself to have a mission to accomplish and a duty to deliver globally, and it has been referred to as the American empire.

The US offered a helping hand in various regions, one, to establish a positive image, and two, to use the positive political image to hide the primary motive of helping these nations. For instance, the US fought against Spanish oppression in the Philippines, industrial slavery in Hawaii, and Spanish York in Puerto Rico and Cuba. It helped these regions achieve business prosperity, self-governance, better education, and sanitation.[8] The US posits that various regions were oppressed before it came to the rescue, which is an exaggerated depiction of reality and a way to cover the primary motive behind the help. People believed American influence and expansion brought growth and prosperity because the US government and apprentice spread propaganda.(American Imperialism Essay Example)

The Cubans and the Filipinos had fought for independence against Spain for a long time, and, with the American help, it was long due because the US did not relinquish the territory to the locals but continued with the occupation until 1902, engaging in multiple confrontations with the Filipino insurrectionists, leading to more deaths than the Spain war.[9] Filipinos began fighting for freedom against a nation that had claimed to liberate them from Spanish oppression. The American mission was uncertain among the Filipinos, but the war and the American troops were brutal, raising public attention to the events and debates regarding American imperialism. The primary motive emerged as the continued westward American expansion and an opportunity to show prominence and power worldwide. However, the issues of immigration and American purity raised anti-imperialists who perceived immigration as a threat to American racial identity.

American imperialism, although a controversial topic, accelerated with the US becoming a reckoning force around the globe, especially under President Theodore Roosevelt.[10] The United States Shifted attention to global power, given its military strength, territorial expansion, and economic influence. The president focused on strengthening the navy and considered Latin America an important strategic area to apply US foreign policy. The technological advancements and the development of new battleships encouraged the United States to project its foreign policy overseas and expand its influence. Examples include the advocacy for Hawaii annexation, claiming it was within the American sphere of influence, denying Japanese expansion, and reducing threats to the West Coast, which was a strategic trade area, serving as a fueling station to support Asian trade.[11] No matter which approach was adopted to exert itself in other countries, the primary motive was protecting and promoting American interests overseas. Military interventions in different circumstances galvanized its objectives, using its might to impose its will in the Western Hemisphere. The federal government and its policies justified the continued military interventions, including establishing military bases to help Cuba and the Cubans’ best interests, which was simply a cover show.(American Imperialism Essay Example)


American imperialism is a controversial topic that promoted various debates over the centuries regarding the primary motive for expansion. Nonetheless, the primary driving forces remain economic competition, political and military competition, and perception of racial and cultural superiority. The US adopted various ways to exert its presence in neighboring and overseas territories, in most cases offering help against the “oppressor” to cover the main motive. American imperialism and foreign policies continue to live on, as seen in wars the US engages in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, raising mixed reactions and attitudes. (American Imperialism Essay Example)

American Imperialism Essay Example



Library of Congress. The World of 1898: The Spanish American War. 2022, June 22.

The American Yawp. 19. American empire. Stanford University Press, n.d.

[1] See Library of Congress (2022) for more information about the American war with Spain.

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] See The American Yawp (n.d.) for more information regarding American imperialism.

[7] See The American Yawp (n.d.) for more information regarding American imperialism

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

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