The Push and Pull of Imperialism

Powerful Essays
Following the Civil War and Reconstruction Eras, Americans began to set their eyes on other shores. With new technology and equipment such as the telegraph and the railroads, the United States had shrunk. No longer was the United States a vast expanse of uncharted territory, but instead, it was a conquered land with a growing population and growing cities. Imperialism was born out of this desire to look across oceans for more land and trade posts for America’s expanding population and economy. Following the Reconstruction Era, the United States debated imperialist policies based on economic, social, military, and political beliefs which ultimately propelled the country to achieving a dominating international reputation.
The movement for U.S. expansion and imperialism was spurred on by political and economic factors such as the desire for a navy, the Spanish-American War, and political parties. Countries began creating established navies by using the new technology and resources of the 19th and 20th centuries. In the international field, England dominated the sea in trading, colonization, and war (1). The U.S. Navy, though, was still experiencing the growing pains of the Civil War and extended periods of peace. There was little motivation to establish a navy as the country was not at war and did not want to provoke one (Palmer). The Spanish- American War grew out of America’s desire for Spain’s land. Many of the causes of the Spanish-American War can be attributed to the imperialist ideas circulating as the desire for Cuba and the Philippines came out of the need for new trading posts and to grow as a world power (Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War). The effects of the war would shape foreign policy and the geography of ...

... middle of paper ... had already achieved international credit through the Declaration of Independence, expansion helped to prove America’s ability to be daring in its foreign policy and, as seen in World War I, a worthy competition to other world powers.

Works Cited

"Bipartisanship: The Age of Imperialism." Encyclopedia of the New American Nation. Advameg, Inc., 2014. Web. 28 May 2014.
Cayton, Andrew. America: Pathways to the Present. Boston: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.
Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War. Dir. Daniel A. Miller. PBS, 1999. Film.
LaFeber, Walter. "Reaction: Depression Diplomacy." The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion, 1860-1898. Ithaca, NY: Published for the American Historical Association Cornell UP, 1963. 201. Print.
Palmer, Michael A. "The Navy: The Continental Period, 1775-1890." Naval History and Heritage. Web. 28 May 2014.
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