1890 1900 Essay

1450 words - 6 pages


The United States’ Progressive Era, a time of reform and corporate reconstruction, occurred in the 1890s (Sklar intro). Before the decade, Americans identified with the idea that the country should stay out of any other countries concerns, especially European affairs (Britannica 1). The new thinking of the 1890s soon changed these convictions. Foundations of foreign policy, political liberalism, and a corporation-capitalist economy were among developments of this era. As the U.S. became a "great power" after post-Civil War economic growth, the public soon believed the nation should begin to "act like one" (Britannica 1). In addition, Social Darwinists of the 1890s theorized only strong nations could survive, for "the world is a jungle" (Britannica 1). Finally, idealists and religious leaders added their reasoning, for America had a duty to "take up the white man’s burden" of spreading its "superior culture and the blessings of Christianity" to the so-called "backward peoples of the world" (Britannica 1). Along with the new ideology of American supremacy, citizens were enjoying the expansion into the west at a quickening pace. Leaders of the United States during the 1890s included Presidents Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893), Grover Cleveland(1893-1897), and William McKinley (1897-1901). The nation celebrated President George Washington’s centennial anniversary inauguration during this time (Klapthor 54,56).

World events in the 1890s included the Spanish-American War. Ignited by Spanish rule in Cuba, Spain soon faced a brutal revolution with rebels upset about a depression caused by a decline in U.S. sugar purchases from Cuba. Once a submarine mine sank the USS Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, Congress authorized President McKinley to send forces to expel the Spanish from Cuba, beginning the Spanish-American War (Britannica 2). Fighting concluded on the condition that Spain had to "sell" the Philippines to the U.S (Britannica 2). Thus, the Spanish-American of 1898 political consequences were great, for its consequences on Spain depict the imperialistic attitude of the United States as a whole that still continues today.

The globe continued to experience change through colonization. By the end of the nineteenth century, a large part of the African continent had been colonized by powers like France and Great Britain (Gilbert 26). Both countries found even more success, for Great Britain was the most advanced in democracy and industrialization (Gilbert 28) while France continued as a prosperous country of small businesses and rich agriculture (Gilbert 46). The prevalent form of world government during the 1890s was a monarchy but republics such as France and Switzerland continued to work toward success (Gilbert 2). Nationalism during the decade was expressed through violence, as experienced in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 in China (Gilbert 27).

Immigration from 1890-1900 also affected not only the U.S. culture but also...

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