U.S. Imperialism

Cartoon from the Boston Globe, May 28, 1898.

Below please find some questions pertaining to the U.S. and its annexation of overseas territories after the Spanish-American War (1898). These were written by your classmate, George Papageorgiou. Please answer at least one of these with a response of a paragraph or more. You can find the text of the Platt Amendment and the platform of the Anti-Imperialist League on pp. 238-243 of The Shaping of the Modern World.

  • After Cuba obtained independence, how did the Platt Amendment (1901) define the relationship between the U.S and Cuba?
  • As a result of the Spanish American War, was the U.S considered a imperialist nation? Why or why not?
  • What arguments did the American Anti-Imperialist League make against the annexation of the Philippines?
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7 Comments

  1. Josephus Tudtud

     /  November 19, 2012

    After the Spanish American War, the U.S. became imperialistic in a global scale. For the first time the U.S. was to expanding its power overseas. Spreading the idea of civilization and to prove to other nations that U.S. has dominance. The Monroe Doctrine established this intent of imperialism then further reinforced it with Roosevelt’s Corollary of Monroe Doctrine.
    When U.S. starts to intervene in foreign affairs because it threatened U.S. interest, then it opens the doors to all sorts of possibilities in projecting it’s power. After the Spanish American War, the U.S. could have just been content with taking Cuba. However, it wanted the entire package of what Cuba stood for, the Spanish power. Knowing that Spain would be unable to protect all of its possessions, the imperialistic of the U.S. then moved on to claiming the rest of what was once Spanish territory.
    To ensure that U.S. would protect its territory in the Pacific, it justified creation of the state of Panama, so it’s naval power can be quickly deployed to any threats in either oceans.

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  2. moshberm

     /  November 25, 2012

    The Platt amendment was a legislative motion on the part of the United States Government to keep its interests and to a large extent the interest of the Cubans protected in Cuba. It reaffirmed Cuba’s right to independence and declared that the United States was to leave Cuba to the devices of its own people.

    However, there was a catch. The United States also stated its right to intervene in Cuba’s affairs for the sake of preserving Cuba’s independence. This move can be seen as imperialistic because the US was effectively leaving a loophole for itself to station military in Cuba against its will. (The US could claim to be protecting the “greater good” of Cuba, while in reality serving its own interests.)

    This, and the intention to annex the Philippines, could be seen as imperialistic, in that the USA was, after all was said and done, imposing American control over the islands in the Gulf of Mexico and the Northern Atlantic ocean. The American Anti-Imperialist League claimed that this was against the principle of “consent of the governed” which was one of the pretenses for the American Revolution against the British in the late 1700s. The people of the Philippines were against this annexation and so the US, the American Anti-Imperialist League felt, had no right to make any moves towards annexation.

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  3. Davin M. Alexander

     /  November 30, 2012

    The Platt Amendment (1903), I think just made the world aware of the intentions of Monroe Doctrine. To keep the Western Hemisphere to the America’s business, more so USA’s business and keep Europe to England, France, etc. It kept the best interest of America in Cuba, the big issue of the spread of Communism.

    In the terms of what “Imperialism” means, then yes America was an imperialistic nation. They took control and acted as a defender of the smaller western hemisphere nations like Cuba, and Puerto Rico. This was seen with Russia acting as the leader of all the slavic nations before WW1.

    The anti-imperialists believed that the United States would struggle to uphold the Declaration of Independence as an empire. Anti-imperialists supported the old beliefs of what the core of America was built on such as self government, and laws that helped everyone and freedom. Anti-imperialists argued that the annexation of the Philippines violated the constitutional precept of government through the consent of the governed.

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  4. Aroosa Altaf

     /  December 4, 2012

    #2. Yes, the United States is considered an imperialist nation as a result of the Spanish-American War. For the reason being, after defeating Spain the U.S. took control over Cuba and Puerto Rico. Apart from establishing colonial government on their possessions, the U.S. played a vital role intervening the affairs of those that were not even possessed by the U.S. It is quite reasonable to consider U.S. as an imperialist power especially after what they did to Philippines.

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  5. Max Barlow

     /  December 15, 2012

    #2
    The U.S. was considered an imperialist nation after the war due to the fact that they were victorious after a series of major battles in Cuba and in the Pacific Ocean. The Treaty of Paris, signed by both nations, ended the war and Spain gave Cuba their independence. The United States remained in Cuba even after the war was over. The Platt Amendment stated that the U.S. government held the right to intervene in Cuban affairs to maintain peace. Also, it demanded the Cuban government to lease military bases to the America. Once the U.S. was in Cuba, they weren’t going to leave because no one could force them out.

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  6. Dimitri Antonopoulos

     /  December 19, 2012

    The U.S. indeed can be considered an imperialist nation after the Spanish American War. After they won the battle they took over all of Spain’s holdings. They gain control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the phillipine islands. Even though they gave independence to them they still wanted play a role in their affairs somewhat giving some type of power.

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  7. talal eid

     /  December 19, 2012

    As a result of the Spanish American War,The U.S was considered a imperialist nation.The US switch to imperialist behavior that occurred in 1898 has been a topic of great historical attention.The U.S. played a vital role intervening the affairs of those that were not even possessed by the U.S. After all, the US has generally claimed to stand in opposition to the practice of taking colonies, to be an advocate of freedom, democracy, and self-government for all. Some historians believe that this imperialist period was a “Great Aberration”, a mistake that the US would never repeat, and one that goes against everything the US stands for. Others think that America really continued to have a kind of “informal colonial” influence throughout the twentieth century.

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