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American Imperialism

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Since its inception, America as a nation has developed and progressed according to trends of change that collectively define an era. Like all other eras, the time period of 1875-1925 experienced growth, changes, movements, and new ideals. It is the way that these changes came about that defines this era. Americans started to push for changes in many arenas of life that were previously unchallenged. New experiences and opportunities were also presented to America that caused tributaries in the former American ideal. These pressures for change could not be ignored and thus America continued its maturity in a new and unique manner. The changes in the American sphere of life and the development of greater organization, the largest underlying theme of the time period, facilitated the surgence of new foreign and military policies, urban reform policies, economic reform policies, neo-federalism especially in dealing with business, social reform policies, and the quality of life. The period from 1875-1900 was considered the "Gilded Age". On come the no-name presidents. There is a reason though, why these presidents were no-name presidents. It is because all the power that the presidency gained from Lincoln, was lost during reconstruction. Most things in American life were considered to be things that the government, especially the president, should not touch. The laissez-faire philosophy was in full force. The lack of interference allowed the giants like John D. Rockefellar, Andrew Carnegie, and J. Pierpont Morgan to rise to almost divine status. This is where organization comes to play. Business began to realize that by organizing their power and joining together in bonds such as cartels, later pools, and finally trusts, that they could maximize the exploitation of the growing American population. With this fusion of power and the creation of megacorporations, abuses in the course of industrialization concerning labor and the environment developed. This reaction to the weak central government led to the opposition of these abuses. It is a natural pattern that opposition would occur, but the fact that organized opposition began to grow is what separates these resistences from the oppositions of the past. Immigration reaches its peak during the gilded age and shifts from the "old immigratio... ... middle of paper ... ...an frontier for the first time in history, no longer existed. The frontier symbolized the freedom of a place to go when things got boring. The frontier was a safety valve for people to go settle new territories, and to find raw materials. Now with the frontier gone, the idea of taking foreign territories looked like the best way to replace that frontier. Increasingly, the Americans had started to flex their muscle in the affairs around the world. Finally, it became clear that an imperialistic stance for America would be necessary in order to keep up with all the other western powers. In conclusion, many changes in American life especially industrialization forced America to react to the new situations being presented to it. The people developed opinions on certain issues and actively pursued change. This forced America to experience things that it never had in the past. It marked the rise of America as a substantial world power, the removal from isolationism, and the changing of the quality of life. The organized responses of the era, are its stamp on American history, and are responsible for all the changes of the era.
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