A.P. U.S. History Notes
Chapter 29: “The Path of Empire”
~ 1890 – 1899 ~
From the end of the
to the 1880s, the United States was very isolationist, but in
the 1890s, due to rising exports, manufacturing capability, power, and wealth, it began to
expand onto the world stage, using overseas markets to send its goods.
William Randolph Hearst
influenced overseas expansion, as did missionaries inspired by Reverend
Our Country: It’s Possible Future and Its Present Crisis
People were interpreting
’s theory of survival of the fittest to mean that the
United States was the fittest and needed to take over other nations to improve
Such events already were happening, as Europeans carved up Africa and
China at this time.
Alfred Thayer Mahan
’s 1890 book,
The Influence of Sea Power Upon History,
, argued that every successful nation had a great navy, starting a naval race
among the great powers.
James G. Blaine
pushed his “
” policy, which sought better relations with Latin
America, and in 1889, he presided over the first
, held in
However, in other diplomatic affairs, America and Germany almost went to war over the
Samoan Islands (over which could build a naval base there), while Italy and America
almost fought due to the lynching of 11 Italians in New Orleans, and the U.S. and Chile
almost went to war after the deaths of two American sailors at
The new aggressive mood was also shown by the U.S.-Canadian argument over
seal hunting near the
off the coast of Alaska.
Monroe’s Doctrine and the Venezuelan Squall
had been disputing their border for many years, but when
gold was discovered, the situation worsened.
Thus, the U.S., under President
, sent a note written by
Secretary of State
to Britain informing them that the British
actions were trespassing the
and that the U.S. controlled things
in the Americas.
The British replied four months later saying that the Monroe Doctrine didn’t exist.
Uproar resulted, and the two nations almost went to war, but after second thoughts by both
sides, the issue was settled with the British getting most of the land that they had wanted
in the beginning.
Britain didn’t want to fight because of the damage to its merchant trade that could
result, as well as the vulnerability of Canada; plus, after the Dutch
Africa captured 600 British, Germany’s
congratulations, sending British anger to Germany, not to America.