Imperialism DBQ

1245 Words 5 Pages
It may seem logical to believe that Americans had kept isolationist beliefs during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as America had always predominately isolationist beliefs, ever since these ideas were stated George Washington’s farewell address in 1796. However, once Americans began to industrialize, there were many people who began to emerge from their shells of anti-imperialism after the brutal fight of the Civil War, due to partly an increase of interest in foreign markets. Americans wanted to wreak more economic benefits; Americans wanted to own places like Hawaii to gain a plethora of money from cash crops like sugarcane. Those who supported pro-imperialism, however, often argued with those who felt it necessary …show more content…
One of the reasons that Americans supported imperialism was that they believed it was a Christian right to civilize those who were “uncivilized.” When Americans annexed the Philippines in 1898, William McKinley stated that we must, for the “greater good” of God, “uplift and civilize and Christianize them”. (Doc 3) Also, when the Philippines was brought into American hands following a victory in the Spanish-American War, many did not want to free the Filipinos because, according to them, as Theodore Roosevelt stated, these people were “utterly unfit for self-government” (Doc 5), and they needed the U.S. government for the purposes of order and protection. In the eyes of many pro-imperialists, if the Philippines to their own devices, the nation would fall into chaos and anarchy, and it was the job of the American to keep the Filipinos safe. Roosevelt’s actions in the Philippines and later in the Caribbean reflected his “Big-Stick” diplomacy, stating that Roosevelt was to get involved in other nations and use force if necessary. If the Philippines were to go against anything Roosevelt said, he would use force, as he did in the Dominican Republic in 1904 to state the Roosevelt Corollary, which justified U.S. intervention in Latin America to prevent Europeans from doing so. Also, keeping the Philippines also was good for the Unites States …show more content…
The debate of isolationism vs. imperialism or expansionism is something that was even touched upon in the founding of the United States itself. When Britain and France were at war with each other, during the 1790s, there was great debate on whether the United Stated should intervene and pick sides. Federalists, like Alexander Hamilton, didn’t want to get involved, as America had been founded only recently and they didn’t want to risk losing the newborn nation. Democratic Republicans, like Thomas Jefferson, thought it was be a good idea to help the French, as they were allies with America from aiding Americans to victory during the Revolutionary War. George Washington, however, took sides with Hamilton and the Federalists by issuing a statement of neutrality during the war; he even wrote about the importance of not getting involved in foreign affairs in his farewell address in 1796, setting the precedent of American isolationism that wouldn’t be fully broken until the imperialism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At the United Stated beginnings, Americans were trying to define the nation’s identity as either one who gets involved in foreign affairs or remains isolated; during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Americans were again trying to define that

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