The late 1800’s was a watershed moment for the United States, during which time the Industrial Revolution and the desire for expansion brought about through Manifest Destiny, began to run parallel. Following the end of the Spanish-American war, the United States found itself with a wealth of new territory ceded to it from the dying Spanish empire. The issue of what to do with these new lands became a source of debate all the way up to the U.S. Congress. Men like Albert J. Beveridge, a Senator from Indiana, advocated the annexation, but not necessarily the incorporation of these new l...
United States expansionism in the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century is both a continuation and a departure of past United States expansionism. Expansionism in the United States has occurred for many reasons. Power (from land), religion, economics, and the ideas of imperialism and manifest destiny are just a few reasons why the U.S. decided to expand time and again throughout the course of its 231 year history. Expansionism has evolved throughout the years as the inhabitants of the country have progressed both socially (the Second Great Awakening, the women's suffrage movement, the populist party and the early 19th and 20th century social reformers) and economically (factories, better farms, more jobs, etc.) Expansion changed from non-interference policies to the democratic control of the government as the United States grew in both size and population. Through the use of the documents and events during two major-expansion time periods (1776-1880) and 1880-1914), I will display both the continuation and departure trends of United States expansionism.
For many year, the American boundaries expanded as people moved, at the governments urging, westward for new economic opportunities and later imperialist expansion was no different. While many factors contributed, economic possibility was a driving factor in the expansionist aspirations. The U.S., along with countries like Britain
The United States, as a young nation, had the desire to expand westward and become a true continental United States that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Various factors, strategic and economic, contributed to the desire to expand westward. According to John O’Sullivan, as cited by Hestedt in Manifest Destiny 2004; "the U.S. had manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence to the free development of our yearly multiplying millions" (¶2). As Americans ventured westward to settle the frontier, their inherent superior beliefs, culture and the principles of democracy accompanied them. America’s ruthless ambition to fulfill its manifest destiny had a profound impact on the nation’s economy, social systems and foreign and domestic policies; westward expansion was a tumultuous period in American History that included periods of conflict with the Native Americans and Hispanics and increased in sectionalism that created the backdrop for the Civil War.
The development and expansionism of the American West was far more aggressive than that of New England. By the early nineteenth century, countries from all over the world were attempting to claim a stake in the rapidly evolving continent. As is described in Major Problems in Environmental History,
Before World War I an expansionist fever battled its way through the government after the Depression. Tension between idealism and self-interest that had trotted alongside Americas domestic history had also guided its’ foreign policy. When the Europeans came and settled, in what they believed to be India, their motives included greed, glory, and god. Similar to the intentions of the early Europeans, expansionism brought with it reflections of profit, patriotism, piety, and politics. (Nash and Jeffery 604) One of America’s main goals was to create a model society for which others would follow by example. Since the beginning of the 17th century Thomas Jefferson had begun the expansionist movement with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in the early 1800’s. The goal of expansionism was mainly for soil rich with nutrients for agriculture but also included self-profiteering and natural resources such as coal and oil. Not until the end of the 17th century did America expand beyond Central and South America caused by increasing conflict with Europeans, and the pressure to stop imperialism and communism, took Americans over to Europe in inevitable conflicts that continue today.
Manifest Destiny is the idea that the U.S. will eventually own and govern all of North America. We will not achieve this through military conquest, but through a natural flow of events. This idea surfaced during the time when James K. Polk was president. The benefits of westward expansion outweighed the negative consequences because of the economic development, opportunities, and decrease in travel time.
From 1800 to 1850, there was an increased interest in territorial expansion in the United States. During this time the United States found itself in a position to acquire more land, starting with the Louisiana Purchase all the way to the Mexican Cession. Upon reviewing the documents, it became clear that documents A, I, and H, were against the expansion the the United States while the rest documents were mostly for the expansion of the United States. However, each of the documents were conveying different views from various people spread out over the span of 50 years. Numerous amounts of debates emerged arguing if the United States should obtain the new land, and people’s thoughts on the matter were influenced by the different wars and activist groups, and
The concept of aggressive expansion sometimes also, somewhat ironically, called American Imperialism is being recognized as a phenomena of the 19th century by most historians. However some credit its start with the first colonization of the Northern American continent. For example the historian Paul Kennedy wrote; "From the time the first settlers arrived in Virginia from England and started moving westward, this was an imperial nation, a conquering nation." (P. Kennedy, 2002) Meaning that even the Western expansion should be considered an act of aggressive expansion which makes sense considering the land was already inhabited by Native Americans. While true that the Early US foreign policy is described as isolationist in its behaviour to other recognized nations, the reason for it is the view of western expansion as a discovery, not conquest. This is due to the difference in culture, specifically the concept of ownership of land, between the Indians and the white colonists. This “exploration” is the main reason for the later changes and cultural acceptance of aggressive expansion; there of course were other contributing factors, such as Manifest Destiny, Louisiana Purchase and the developing Nationalism, which will be analysed in the next part of this essay. The presented terms are frequently used as an argument to explain the US cultural mind-set in the 19th century and its continued tradition. While the concept of conquest can still be found even in today’s US, it was a partial failure in the 19th century. This paper will analyse the individual cultural concepts that developed in this time period and will answer what was the cause for its failure, and what the consequences were.
Following the events of the American Civil War the United States resumed its expansion across the the western part of the continent. Having Claimed uncivilized land as according to America, not yet colonized. Although this would not be met with a peaceful protest of the Native American’s who had previously laid claim to this land.
Roosevelt, T. (n.d.). "Obstacles to Immediate Expansion" Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/trmahan.htm
Expansionism in America during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century shared many similarities and differences to that of previous American expansionist ideals. In both cases of American expansionism, the Americans believed that we must expand our borders in order to keep the country running upright. Also, the Americans believed that the United States was the strongest of nations, and that they could take any land they pleased. This is shown in the "manifest destiny" of the 1840's and the "Darwinism" of the late 1800's and early 1900's. Apart from the similarities, there were also several differences that included the American attempt to stretch their empire across the seas and into other parts of the world.
It is possible to argue that the 1840s represented a quite challenging period of America’s political and socio-economic development. With James K. Polk’s political progress in terms of the Democratic Party, Manifest Destiny was proclaimed to officially set America’s deep expansion to the West. However, this expansion was a quite radical and categorical political decision; which is why the opposition of the Whig party was arranged, bringing an ideological and political split within the rows of Democrats. Indeed, expansion was the main political controversy within the United States’ political system: on the one hand, Democrats sought mainly positive aspects from expanding country’s borders; on the other hand, Whigs and other oppositionists of