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The Evolution Of American Expansionism. Essay

772 words - 3 pages

The Evolution of American ExpansionismThe United States that had existed from the landing on Plymouth in 1620 to the Reconstruction period in the late 19th century was a country dependent on expansionism for survival. Among the imperial powerhouses of Western Europe, this blossoming country was forced to practice expansionism merely to keep its head above water. However, as the country neared the beginning of turn of the century, ambitions grew from survival to conquest as the underdog country gained more political, military, and industrial power than anyone had dreamed. Inevitably, as societies do when faced with newfound power, this one became selfish, and once again in the cycle of world power, expansionism evolved into imperialism because of a national superiority complex, and economic greed, but also continued with the expansionist ideals by spreading American culture.American expansion since the Revolutionary War had had already taken into the nation's grasp vast amounts of land from purchasing the Louisiana territories from the French, pushing the Natives out of westward country, taking several states from Mexico, and more. After the Civil War, the locus of purely American culture - the Eastern half of the nation - spread their culture, including Christianity and governmental ideals, throughout the world wherever possible. Lottie Moon, for example, was one of many missionaries sent to the Orient to spread the American culture. Similarly, many missionaries where also sent to the places of Africa often seen as uncivilized. As the cartoon in Document A represents, the American attitude after the civil war was that the other powers of the world were engaging in blatant and unabashed imperialism, snatching up every country possible, while the U.S. was left out of the picture. This passive spread of ideals will remain throughout the coming decades, but to a lesser extent, and will also be the only continuance of pre-imperialist American expansionism.The newly empowered United States soon began to feel the national attitude of superiority that so often follows the success of a nation. For example, for centuries the Chinese empire shut itself off from the rest of the world, living in isolation simply because they felt superior to any other culture. However, the example that relates closest to the American situation would be that of Britain, that took it upon itself to "civilize" the rest of the world after it had gained power. A...

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