Imperialism and America
Let’s start off with the joke today. Everybody, the joke is this: Why did King Arthur sit at a round table? The answer? Because he didn’t want anybody to corner him! (Ba dum ching) Imperialism and America No direct correlation between the joke and the ideas for today, but let’s go to the concepts. What is imperialism? What impact had imperialism have on America for most of the 19th century until 1898? What did the acquisition of Alaska and Hawaii, not to mention the winnings in the Spanish-American War, say about the position on imperialism for the United States. Key vocab today, imperialism and expansionism. And we can say this about expansionism – expansionism is kind of a takeoff of what manifest destiny was to the United States in the 1800s. That’s what expansionism and imperialism is, basically, as we begin the 20th century, (at the turn, [rather] beginning of the 1900s) and two best understand why the United States is going to transition to become an imperial power we need to understand what’s happening in the world at this time. This map gives us at least an introduction to what’s happening, or what has been happening, throughout much of the 1800s and into the early 1900s, and that is this fight over land and the land’s resources that makes a country, another country even more powerful. And Africa is a great illustration of this. Africa’s imperial struggle, I guess you could say, is really going to finish up, at least the collection of land, is going to finish up around 1914 and we’ll see that on a map coming up shortly, but in this map you see that the continent of Africa is being tugged at by all these different people. And each person represents a country and if you take a look at the different countries—France, Belgium, Holland, Great Britain, so on and so forth— hopefully you notice that all of these countries are western European powers of the late 19th/early 20th century, and they all want a piece of Africa. We will get to understand why that is the case as we move through the slideshow. But, let’s look at the next map of Africa. This map of Africa….., notice it says 1880, so… at the time of 1880, there’s influence and everywhere you see these lines, you’ll notice that it has a country name or a region name of Africa, but next to that it has a European abbreviation. If you go down to the south the cape colony, that’s a British influenced area. Mozambique, that’s a Portugal influenced area and by 1880, there’s influence of these European powers, but nothing truly truly solidified. That changes by 1914. 1914: Africa has literally been divided up, sliced up among the European powers headed by the British and the French. You can see the British are in red, the French in Green, and close to somewhere between a third and a half of Africa has been divided up between those two nations, along with many other nations like Germany, Belgium, so on and so forth. These (European) countries have been seeking out resources, land, they believe they’re stronger than (countries) there, and they’re in a race against these other European powers to make this all happen. The United States is simply late getting into the game because they are such a young country. So, I mentioned the United States is late getting into the game of imperialism, and it’s because they were working on becoming a regional power first and we start to see signs that they may be inching toward (becoming) a global power as we move out of the 19th century and a couple of thoughts on whether or not….[rather] indicators as to why that might be true and the first one is Alaska, west of Canada and east of Russia. Pay attention to the date 1867. That’s when the United States purchases Alaska from Russia, and it becomes a territory of the United States; not a state, a territory. The second is the Hawaiian Islands. Basically in the middle of your screen, and, from the trade routes, all those lines, red lines, you’ll notice it (Hawaii) is a very important trading route and in 1898, the United States just happens to decide that the Hawaiian islands are going to become a territory of the United States. Furthermore, if you look really far east on the map you’ll notice Puerto Rico, which is southeast of Florida, Puerto Rico becomes a territory of the United States in 1898 as well and if you go to the other side of the map, the far west, southwest of China, you’ll see the Philippines. Also, in 1898, Guam in 1898 as well, they become territories of the United States. Those last three that I mentioned, they are all all part of the Spanish-American War and along with some of these other islands you seen the Pacific Ocean, taken by the United States, you start to see this idea that the United States, this trend, that the United States starting to move away, or not move away, but move into becoming a global power. So now the question is why? Why are they becoming a global power? Why have other European nations decided that they are going to become a global power? So, to answer the question as to why America would want to expand, it falls back on that idea of global competition and United States is going to join the race. The first reason why they do this is—or any country for that matter these European powers in the United States The first reason why they would choose to expand and become an imperial power is their desire for military strength. For the United States, Alfred T. Mahan, he is the one who is going to suggest that the United States needs to become a global power, be a strong sea power, and often the reasoning behind this is because it’s what’s best to protect the United States from other global powers and these other global powers at the time, they do have a lot of military strength. Military buildup is becoming more and more common, and it is a huge problem that ends up…[rather] a huge cause for the start of World War I and the bloody battles that take place in that war. Another reason to join this global competition called imperialism is the thirst for new markets or, better yet, when you take over these lands and you take them over by way of military force, you’re not having to pay for any resources that you find there. So, you take these free work resources, essentially, you bring them back to your country, you produce something good out of it, and it’s really cheap, there’s a lot of profit to be made. Hence, a large reason why so many countries are taking part in imperialism. Finally, the the moral justification behind taking part in imperialism and expanding has to do a cultural superiority. If you think your people are better than other people, then it’s much easier to allow yourself to take them over and, better yet, if you believe that they are inferior then you might choose to help them out. You are doing them a service by taking them over and as weird as it sounds, you’re taking them over, you exploit their goods, and you teach them your better way of life. And, for the Americans, that’s Americanization, to teach them about what we believe in and we often see this cultural superiority take place in the form of religion and teaching what religion the United States believes in. That’s imperialism. We certainly can tie this into the Spanish-American War and we’re going to start to see how this plays out for the United States as we continue to move through this unit. See ya tomorrow!