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Compare And Contrast America’s “Manifest Destiny” Of The Mid 19th Century With Its “Imperialism” Of The Late 19th Century

1301 words - 6 pages

The United States of America was founded on the basis that we should be a free and independent country from Great Britain and its empire. Rather than simply being a part of its empire, America wanted to become its own country to fend for itself. Great Britain, after the American Revolution, realized that maybe it was the best idea to let America set off and accomplish their own endeavors. After America gained its independence from Great Britain, the Manifest Destiny became a popular idea to follow; it was God’s will for America to expand their land to the West Coast. However, after this was accomplished, Imperialism came about a short time period later. Imperialism is much like the Manifest ...view middle of the document...

The reasons for these motives were more of the grey-area. Manifest Destiny was mainly referred to as the message that God sent to America—that they should settle the West because they owned and they should be able to explore it and live in it as they pleased. The Imperialism era could be compared to this example easily. An article was made during the late 1800’s, when the Spanish-American war was almost ending, and it was entitled Shall Cuba be Taken for Christ. This article basically personified the idea that if America were to take Cuba under their wing after the war is over, that they should send missionaries to the island and spread the word of Christianity through the ‘uncivilized’ island and teach the natives about God. God’s word was a very important factor in expansionism in the Manifest Destiny era, it’s only logical that this factor was carried over, into the next expanding era, Imperialism.
The Manifest Destiny Era and the Imperialism era also have the similarity that they are mainly gaining land. Other rewards are just as important, obviously, but what America mainly gained was land area. While the West was gained and a rich cultural background began to form in the culture, all the things gained in the Manifest Destiny era was material land that Americans could settle upon. There wasn’t much else when it came to rewards other than material land when it came to American settling in the West. After the Spanish- American war, Americans gained the territories of the Philippines, Guam, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. The only thing that a missionary could possibly argue Americans gaining from this war, other than land, would have to be the idea of civilized citizens, based on the religious outlook on expansionism. By gaining civilized citizens, America has a better outlook on the world powers, but that’s the only gains we got from Imperialism.
While there aren’t as many similarities between Manifest Destiny and Imperialism as it would seem, there are differences to mention between the two eras as well. Manifest Destiny had a dead set purpose that was simple enough to explain: get to the west coast. Imperialism, on the other hand, had no real set purpose that was agreed upon by enough people. The purpose of Imperialism could arguably be to expand America, but the true purpose of Imperialism seemed to be the greediness of America to become a world power. This might not have been the purpose at first, but after the Spanish-American war, America seemed to have a realization that they had just beat up a world power. The ending of the Spanish empire put America on the map as a world power, which America seemed to take and let it make them into a pompous, greedy...

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