Essay on Imperialism: United States Annex

Submitted By brenden470063
Words: 1256
Pages: 6

Beginning in the 1880s, many American’s wanted to make the United States a worldly power due to economic and military competition from other nations, as well as the ever increasing feelings of cultural superiority. In order to further the United States’ worldwide hegemony, America began looking at Imperialism—the economic and political domination of a strong nation over other weaker nations—as a way to reach this supremacy. These feelings of superiority and desire for global dominance were prompted by the ideas known as: Anglo-Saxonism, the belief that white Europeans were destined to dominate the planet, Manifest Destiny, the belief that it was God’s intent that American’s would dominate the planet, and Jingoism, a form of hyper-nationalism fostered by promoters and newspaper editors. The commencement of foreign involvement began in 1853 when a naval expedition was led into Tokyo bay in order to negotiate a trade treaty with Japan by Commodore Matthew C. Perry. A treaty was established and signed by both sides, which helped to Westernize Japan and usher in the enhancement of the Japanese navy. As trade with Japan and their close neighbor, China, flourished, many Americans became interested in Hawaii due to the fact that ships traveling between China and the United States regularly sojourned there. When American settlers learned that the climate and soil of Hawaii were apt for yielding sugarcane, Hawaii’s fate was sealed. A group of planters (with the help of marines from Boston) forced Queen Liliuokalani, queen of Hawaii, to give up power and set up a provision government. The planters requested that the United States annex Hawaii, but President Cleveland contradicted imperialism. Five years later, William McKinney approved of the annexation; it was carried out. In 1889, a conference was held in Washington, D.C. where seventeen Latin American nations were in attendance. This assemble was in large part due to the exploits of James G. Blaine, who served as secretary of state in two administrations and strongly believed in Pan-Americanism—the idea that the United States and Latin America should work together. The conference failed to accomplish any of Blain’s goals, but it did create the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics, an organization that advocated for mutual collaboration among the nations of the Western Hemisphere. Later, the organization would be known as the Organization of American States (OAS). In the late 1800s, three pending conflicts opened the American peoples’ and Government’s eyes to the involvement in transoceanic affairs: Germany’s attempt at usurping the Samoa Island, Chilean mob attacking American sailors, and the backing of Venezuela against Great Britain. Although, these conflicts were solved peacefully, it helped to show the United States weakness; it’s navy. In 1890, Captain Afred T. Mahan—an officer in the United States navy who taught at the Navel War College—made the argument that America needed a stronger and more modern fleet in a bestselling, rhetorical opus called The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. After making his argument, Mahan, recognized that building a modern navy meant that the United States needed to acquire territory overseas for naval bases. Naval bases would allow ships to refuel and resupply before they were sent onward to their destination. In congress, two paramount senators, Henry Cabot Lodge and Albert J. Beveridge, fostered the idea of reconstructing of the navy—as did President McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. By 1890, the United States of America was well on its way to attaining the title of one of the world’s top naval powers. One of the most renowned ships of this era was the U.S.S. Maine, even though it was for a pernicious reason. On February 15, 1898, the U.S.S. Maine was anchored in Havana harbor when it exploded for a perplexing reason. Two-hundred and sixty-six of the three-hundred and fifty-four officers and sailors were killed in the blast.