Roots of Imperialism

U.S. History Chapter 9
Essential Question
 How and why did the United States take a more active
role in world affairs during the Age of Imperialism?
 By the late 1800s the U.S. began to abandon
isolationism and become a global power.
 With the Western Frontier now closed, Americans
began to acquire influence and territory outside its
continental borders.
Causes of Imperialism
 Mid 1800s – Early 1900s powerful nations raced to
extend their influence and territory across the globe.
 Europeans added to colonies acquired during the Age
of Exploration, claiming new lands in Africa and Asia.
 Japan and U.S. saw the success of Europe and began to
explore the benefits of imperialism for themselves.
Economic Causes
 Desire for raw materials and natural resources
 Tea, rubber, iron, petroleum
 Extractive Economies
 Imperial country extracted raw materials and shipped
them to the home country
 U.S.
 Resource rich & surplus of goods
 American Industrialists wanted to expand trade into
foreign markets
Military Causes
 Imperialist Nations began to stress military strength as
a means to protect their interests around the globe.
Alfred T. Mahan
 U.S. Navy Officer and
Military Historian
 Called for strong U.S.
Navy to protect overseas
 Called for foreign bases
for U.S. ships to resupply
and refuel
U.S. Navy
 U.S. Navy began to
modernize its fleet
 Built new steel-plated,
steam powered
battleships like the U.S.S.
 By 1900 the U.S. had the
3rd largest navy in the
Cause: National Superiority
 Imperialists justified their actions by claiming their
racial, national, and cultural superiority.
 Social Darwinism “survival of the fittest”
 Social Darwinists believed they were destined to ruled
over inferior nations/peoples.
American Causes
 Americans believed they would not survive if
European nations took over the rest of the world.
 “Manifest Destiny”
 God-given right and responsiblity
 Spread Christianity and Western Values
 Western Frontier was closed
 Americans needed a new place to seek fortune and have
a fresh start
U.S. Power Grows in the Pacific
 1853 Commodore
Matthew Perry sailed a
fleet of American
warships into Japan
 He impressed the
emperor and established
trade between the U.S.
and Japan
U.S. Power Grows in the Pacific
 1867 U.S. took Midway
 Treaties in 1875 & 1887
increased U.S. trade with
Hawaii and gave U.S.
right to build a naval
base at Pearl Harbor
Seward Purchases Alaska
 1867 Sec. of State, William
Seward, bought Alaska for
$7.2 million from Russia
 Journalists referred to
purchase as “Seward’s
Folly” or “Seward’s Icebox”,
 1,000 miles north of border
 Doubled country’s size,
resource rich, & expanded
reach across the Pacific
U.S. influence in Latin America
 1889, Sec. of State James
Blaine held the first Pan
American Conference
 U.S. and 17 Latin
American Countries
 Economic Cooperation
 Pan American Highway
system to connect U.S.,
central, and south
 Economic ties to U.S.
since 1790s
 Constitution put in place
by King Kalakaua limited
voting rights to wealthy
land owners (mostly
 Many white sugar
plantation owners in
U.S. Acquires Hawaii
 Hawaiian Nationalist,
Queen Liliuokalani takes
thrown and does away
with constitution
 White planters revolt
with the help of the U.S.
 New government led by
white planter Sanford B.
Dole asked to be
annexed by U.S.
U.S. Annexes Hawaii…FINALLY!
 President Harrison couldn’t get senate approval before
leaving office
 President Cleveland refused to sign because majority
of Hawaiians didn’t want to be annexed
 President McKinley’s administration finally passed in

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