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Expansionism In American History         The Expansion That Took Place In

851 words - 3 pages

EXPANSIONISM IN AMERICAN HISTORY The expansion that took place in America in the early twentieth-century in many ways was a departure from the expansion of Jefferson?s Manifest Destiny. U.S. foreign policy has always been based upon expanding westward, protecting U.S. interests, and limiting foreign influence in the Americas. However after the development of a huge industrial economy, the U.S. started to focus on the rest of the world. This happened because it needed worldwide markets for it's agricultural and industrial surpluses, as well as raw materials for manufacturing. Americans extended the idea of Manifest Destiny to the rest of the world to find the needed materials and markets. Some people in the U.S. believed that they had to compete with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and even Japan in the grab bag game (doc A) or fail to remain a global power. Expansionism was also fueled by a feeling of imperialism that few Americans had before 1890s. Despite these significant changes, the root motivations for expansion - protection of U.S. interests and economic growth - remained the same from one century to the next.Thomas Jefferson?s Louisiana Purchase opened up a golden era for westward expansion, and the territories gained from France in 1803 and would prove vital to America?s economic future. As textile, steel and oil industries began to boom so did the need for the raw materials grown and mined in the west. In order to provide the growing industries with the needed ore, oil, and crops, the government encouraged expansion with the Homestead Act and subsidized railroad companies laying down track in the new frontier. Expansion had contributed to U.S. becoming the economic super power that it was, and the continuation of such prosperity raised the demand for expansion into the twentieth century. ?Americans must now look outward. The growing production demands it!? cried Alfred Mahan (doc C). Arguing that if America were to compete with the imperialist activities of the European powers, depicted in Thomas Nast's cartoon as plundering thieves (doc A), and control trade through the western hemisphere, then expansion was imperative.A good example of the new expansionism was a concept called International Darwinism. Many people accepted the theory that the Anglo-Saxon United States had to be the strongest and spread the highest civilization, it?s own, across the earth (doc B). The Spanish-American War is an excellent example of International Darwinism. The Caribbean islands had been a target for American imperialists for a long time. However presidents Cleveland and McKinley did not wish to use...

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