To what extent was late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century United States expansionism a continuation of past United States expansionism and to what extent was it a departure?
Throughout the history of the United States, America had a desire to expand its boundaries. The United States acquired most of it's land during the nineteenth and early twentieth century with a brief break during the Civil War and Reconstruction. However, the way America went about graining new lands drastically changed from non-aggressive means in the beginning to extremely aggressive means towards the end. This essay will depict the extent to how late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century United States expansionism was a continuation …show more content…
Americans saw their newly formed country as one that needed to expand from sea to shining sea, believing it was their God given right to pursue their dream. Imperialism began when missionaries traveled to foreign lands in order to Christianize its people. They wanted to spread Christianity throughout the world before any other religion could beat them there first, “the unoccupied arable lands of the earth are limited, and will soon be taken...then the world will enter a new stage of its history-the final competition of races, for which the anglo-saxon is being schooled” (Doc.B). Josiah Strong viewed imperialism as the ruling of the highest civilization, which was predicted to “spread itself over the entire earth”. Although imperialism was in many ways a continuation of the expansionism years before, it was more of a departure than it was a continuation.
The departure from expansionist views during imperialism is fairly more apparent then the continuation. For instance, when America was expanding, it had no problems with admitting the new territories as states because the inhabitants were already Americans wandering westward. However, during imperialism, Americans were hesitant to allow the territories statehood because of the fact that the people were foreigners; so, they basically didn’t deserve to be Americans. After Downes v. Bidwell, Congress decided that the United States prescribed upon which terms it received inhabitants of territories taken during imperialism.