WrittenAssignment2_HIS-114_RaymondMilek

WrittenAssignment2_HIS-114_RaymondMilek - Raymond Milek...

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Raymond Milek SID#0483682 10/30/2011 HIS-114 Thomas Edison State College October, 2011 Semester Written Assignment 2 The two questions that I will answer in this essay are the first and third in the assignment. The first question asks why the U.S. turned to imperialism in the late 1800’s, what the benefits of going to war with Spain were, and if Cuba was the main reason for that war. The third question asks why World War 1 was called the Great War, and what the origins of the war in Europe were, as well as what factors led the U.S. to join the war after three years of being neutral. As I see it, the first question has a much more direct answer, while the questions about WW1 seem to be a bit more complex. In the late 1800’s, a more than four year depression put more than half of the labor force out of work. This was a higher percentage of unemployment than the Great Depression of the 1930’s (Roark and others, Pg.497). With many starving Americans, and a belief in Manifest Destiny—the sentiment that the U.S. had a “divine” right to expand its territories—there were set in place strong reasons to add along with the main objective of imperialism: economic benefits. The U.S. saw 1
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the benefits that lie in territories such as Hawaii, Samoa, and Cuba. The U.S. saw the benefits of raw materials and cheap labor in places such as Hawaii and Samoa. Along with commercial gain and a depression, the sense of the “democratic spirit” that went along with the settling of the new frontier was now dimmed by the west being almost completely occupied and explored. Americans needed new territory on which to move. With the support of Americans (being reinforced by “yellow journalism”, named for the colored ink used in a popular comic strip, in the form of newspapers), imperialism and expansionism were well on their way to being carried out. As early as 1890, expansionist leader Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan prophesied, “Whether they will or not, Americans must now begin to look outward. The growing production of the country requires it.” (Roark and others, Pg.501) The war with Spain was ostensibly a war to free Cubans from Spanish oppression, but there was much more to be gained than a nation’s independence. American trade with Cuba dropped from $100 million a year, before the Cuban
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WrittenAssignment2_HIS-114_RaymondMilek - Raymond Milek...

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