Worldwide scramble for empire

1. 1890 census declared the frontier "closed."

2. College professor Frederick Jackson Turner: Frontier thesis (The West)

1893: Turner's thesis

3. Many looked to overseas expansion.

4. Great powers measured their greatness by the colonies they acquired

a. Britain, Germany, and France divided up Africa

b. Looked to do the same in Asia

c. America will eventually get in on the act.

5. Alfred Thayer Mahan

a. President of Naval War College.

b. Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power upon History (Historian of the State Department)

In this important book (Influence of Sea Power upon History), Mahan's argument ran as follows:

National greatness and prosperity depended on naval power.
Mahan urged the Navy to shift from wood construction to steel.
Overproduction: More produced than domestic market could absorb.
Overseas markets needed to dispose of surplus.
Overseas markets implied distant ports.
Reaching distant ports required large merchant marine.
Merchant marine needed protection of powerful navy.
Ships needed coaling stations and repair yards.
Coaling stations implied secure stops: colonies.
Canal across Panama needed to link East coast with Pacific Ocean.


Hawaii: Footholds in the Pacific (Small Planet)

1. In 1820, the first American missionaries arrived.

2. Their offspring became powerful sugar planters in Hawaii.

3. By 1875, a treaty between the U.S. and Hawaii tightened the links between the two:

a. Allowed Hawaiian sugar to enter the U.S. free of customs duties;
b. Required Hawaiian monarchy to make no territorial or economic concessions to other countries.

4. In 1890 McKinley Tariff ended special status given to Hawaiian sugar.

5. By this time, Caucasian Americans owned three–quarters of the islands' wealth, though they represented a mere 2.1 percent of the population.

6. In 1891, a strongly nationalistic Queen Liliuokalani ascended to the throne and tried to restore greater power to Hawaiian natives.

7. In 1893, Americans overthrew Queen Liliuokalani, set up a provisional government, and asked to become an American state—so that their sugar would be classified as domestic and would avoid tariffs.

Jan. 17, 1893 | Hawaiian Monarchy Overthrown by America-Backed Businessmen (New York Times)

8. Annexation took place in 1898 during the Spanish–American War.

Spanish–American War (1898-1902)

Key articles to cover:

The Birth of an American Empire (EDSITEment)
Lesson #1: The Question of an American Empire (Background)

The Birth of an American Empire (EDSITEment)
Lesson #2: The Spanish-American War (Background)

A Splendid Little War

Motives for war:

[Underlying versus immediate]
[How does this compare to decision these days whether to go to war?]

U.S. had sizable economic interests in Cuba and a lobbying group of 100,000 Cubans who lived in the U.S.

1868-1878: Ten Years' War in Cuba

1895: Cuban War for Independence

1. Humanitarians. Believed Spain too cruel in fighting rebels.

February, 1896: Reconcentration Policy

March 17, 1898: Senator Proctor Exposes Spain's Brutality in Cuba

2. Hawks (jingoes). Believed America should chastise Spain

3. "Yellow journalism." Circulation war: Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.

Yellow Journalism

Remember Yellow Journalism [written in 1998 on 100th anniversary of the war]

Bio: William Randolph Hearst

4. De Lome letter—Spanish Ambassador to U.S. criticized McKinley

5. Sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine.

Blown up in Havana harbor.
Probably an internal explosion of the boiler.

Remember the Maine

The War Itself

April 25, 1898: Congress Declares War

Teller Amendment: U.S. had no intention of taking possession of Cuba.

1. Short and glorious—"a splendid little war."

2. Major battles:

Excellent map of Spanish-American War:

a. Manila. George Dewey defeated Spanish fleet in Manila.

May 1, 1898: Commodore Dewey's Victory in the Philippines

b. San Juan Hill. Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders.

May 15, 1898: Theodore Roosevelt resigns as Assistant Secretary of the Navy

June 22, 1898: U.S. troops land in Cuba

July 1, 1898: Victory in San Juan Heights

3. U.S. defeated Spain.

4. Beginning of a U.S. empire.

Treaty of Paris (10 December 1898)

January 1899: Senate Debate over Ratification of the Treaty of Paris

February 6, 1899: Treaty of Paris ratified

1. Guam: to the U.S.

2. Puerto Rico: to the U.S.

3. Cuba: granted independence by Spain

4. Platt Amendment permited U.S. intervention in Cuba's internal affairs

Platt Amendment (Historian of the State Department)

5. Philippines: U.S. paid $20 million to Spain.

Debate over acquisition of the Philippines

1. Advocates of empire appealed to motives of
Manifest destiny

2. Those against acquiring Philippines: anti–imperialist case.

Many felt imperialism counter to U.S. principles.
Other felt U.S. could expand markets without ruling other countries.
Labor unions felt they would be undercut by importation of low–wage contract workers.

Readings [blend these into your answer]

The Birth of an American Empire: The Matter of the Philippines

A Gift from the Gods (Small Planet)

Senate Debate over Ratification of the Treaty of Paris (January 1899)

"Aguinaldo's Case Against the United States.

Anti-Imperialism in the United States

William McKinley documents on Imperialism
Read only the “Benevolent Assimilation” Proclamation and Home Market Club portions

Philippine-American War (1898-1902)

1. Emiliano Aguinaldo's army had helped U.S. against the Spanish.

2. Aguinaldo expected to be president of an independent Philippines.

3. U.S. decided not to permit him to be President.

4. Aguinaldo led a guerrilla war against the occupying U.S. military.

5. War foreshadowed tactics and atrocities of Vietnam.

6. Aguinaldo finally captured. The revolt ended.

Readings [blend these into your answer]

Philippine–American war (1898–1902)

Philippine-American War (Historian of the State Department)

The Fight for the Philippines (Walter Lafeber interview)

American soldiers in the Philippines write home about the war

"Civilizing" the Filipinos

Revolt in the Philippines

Open Door in China

As a trading nation, the U.S. opposed barriers to international commerce and demanded equal access to markets.

Secretary of State John Hay
  • 1st Open Door Note (1899): all nations guarantee free trade in China.
  • Boxer Rebellion (1900). U.S. and others rescue foreigners in Peking.
  • 2nd Open Door Note (1900): all nations protect China's territorial integrity

Boxer Rebellion (1900) and Revolution in China (1911)

Readings: [blend these into your answer]

Open Door Notes (Historian of the State Department)

The Birth of an American Empire (EDSITEment)
Lesson #4: Imperialism and the Open Door

American missionaries in China

Boxer Rebellion (Small Planet)

Boxer Rebellion (America 1900): Walter Lafeber interview

Revolution in China

Chinese Revolution of 1911

Theodore Roosevelt takes over from President McKinley

President McKinley Fatally Shot by Anarchist (On This Day, Finding Dulcinea)

Theodore Roosevelt (Miller Center, University of Virginia)
Life Before the Presidency
Foreign Affairs

Defending U.S. international interests

U.S. Intervention in Latin America [read "Teddy's Legacy" and "End of an era"]

Dollar Diplomacy

Roosevelt Corollary (1904)

What was the Roosevelt Corollary [to the Monroe Doctrine]

Roosevelt Corollary (Historian of the State Department)

Speak softly but carry a big stick

President Roosevelt warned Latin American nations to keep their affairs in order or face American intervention.

U.S. would assume the role of an international police power, a 911 number—whether requested or not.

Panama Canal (1904-1914)

Spanish–American War demonstrated need for a Panama Canal
Shift naval forces quickly from Atlantic to Pacific.
Panama originally a province of Columbia.
Columbia rejected proposed canal route treaty with the U.S. in 1903
Wanted more money
Treaty infringed on their sovereignty.
Almost immediately, Panama declared its independence from Columbia
With the help and approval of TR).
U.S. signed a treaty with Panama (1903).
Canal completed in 1914.

Readings: [blend into your answer]

Building the Panama Canal

Panama Canal Opens (On This Day, Finding Dulcinea)

The Panama Canal (Small Planet)

Interview: Walter Lafeber (American Experience)
Read the section on the "Panama Canal"

President William Howard Taft (1909-1913) (Miller Center, University of Virginia)

Life Before the Presidency

Japanese rivalry with U.S.

Japanese-American Relations

Beginnings of a Japanese empire

Russo-Japanese war (1905)

Japan beat Russia: gained Korea
TR helped negotiate treaty. Won Nobel Peace Prize.

Japan became dominant power in Asia
Japan wanted to include China in its sphere of influence.
U.S. resisted.

Portsmouth Treaty and the Russo-Japanese War (Historian of the State Department)

U.S.–Japanese relations in America were touchy.

Anti–Japanese bias in California (school board segregation; Japanese prohibited from land purchase) made relations chilly.

San Francisco school segregation of Asian students (1906)

Segregation of Japanese students in S.F 1906
On This Day, 10 November 1906 (New York Times)

Great White Fleet (1907)

U.S. navy made world tour to impress the Japanese.
Japanese increased their military budget as a result.

Great White Fleet [read "Background and Purpose]

U.S. Troops invade Mexico (1914)

WOODROW WILSON (1913–1921)

Woodrow Wilson (Miller Center, University of Virginia)
Life Before the Presidency
Foreign Affairs [down through Moral Diplomacy]

General Pershing
[stop when you get to WWI: "Named head of AEF"]

The United States Armed Forces and the Mexican Punitive Expedition