The remnants left over from the Panic of

The
U.S. decided to interfere with the affairs of other nations because of social, economic,
and political reasons. In the global political arena, the U.S. was facing
growing competition among rivals such as Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Russia,
France, and Japan. From an economic standpoint, the U.S. wanted to have access
to foreign markets which they believed would provide them economic stability
and eventually riches to bring them out of the remnants left over from the
Panic of 1873. In addition, there was a desire from political leaders such as
Beveridge for the U.S. to become a global leader in imperial trade. There were
also social factors that led the U.S. to interfere with affairs such as the
belief that Americans were “the chosen people of God” and as such it was their
duty to save vulnerable territories from savagery and extortion. Also, there were
racial ideas that some non-white peoples were not capable of governing
themselves and therefore needed the Americans to save them from their doomed
fates.

 

One
of the main forces for promoting overseas expansion were the issues taking
place in Cuba, particularly famine and brutality caused by the rebellion.
Yellow press was instrumental in spreading American awareness of such issues
and caused the American public to sympathize with the pro-Cuban cause and gain
support for American military involvements. Military victories in Cuba, gave
the U.S. a newfound sense of power, confidence, and a desire to exercise
further efforts of expansion. Americans felt a sense of pride and nationalism
and some such as Beveridge felt that it was their destiny to keep on expanding
until the “whole world was vocal with American loyalty to the American
government.”

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Common
ideas that were pro-imperialism included Social Darwinism and Anglo-Saxon
supremacy. Some pro-imperialists such as Beveridge believed that the white
Americans were far more advanced and superior than the people of the
territories. Beveridge even compared allowing them to rule themselves to “be
like giving a razor to a babe and telling it to shave itself” or “giving a
typewriter to an Eskimo and telling him to publish one of the great dailies of
the world.” Such statements reveal a tremendous amount of self-entitlement and
ethnocentrism, especially when calling people of foreign lands “savage” and
“alien.”

 

Other
significant pro-imperialists include Captain Alfred T. Mahan, Josiah Strong, John
Fiske, James G. Blaine, Theodore Roosevelt, and Henry Cabot Lodge. Captain
Mahan of the U.S. Navy was a military historian who believed that sea power was
the stepping stone to global success. He urged the government to build up the
navy, and expand foreign commerce. In addition, he was an advocate for a
Central American canal for transporting goods more easily. Josiah Strong, a
Protestant clergyman gave sermons in which he claimed that God was “training
the Anglo-Saxon race for an hour sure to come in the world’s future.” Moreover,
author John Fiske wrote of manifest destiny and the worldwide adoption of
American culture. Secretary of State Blaine also pushed for foreign policy that
promoted expansionism through his support of the Pan-American Union and other
similar achievements.

 

Opponents
of imperialism, or anti-imperialists, believed overseas expansion would
threaten domestic affairs dealing with race, morality, and democracy. Such
opponents desperately tried to block the passing of the Peace Treaty in the
Senate. Anti-imperialists also formed a league in 1898 in efforts to unite the
opposition against the president’s expansionist foreign policies.

 

Beveridge’s
consideration of empire was slightly radical for its age. Although some
Americans did agree with his point of view, “by 1900 the consensus was that the
gains of empire should be retained and protected but no increased.” Also, the
work of anti-imperialists had convinced the American public that further
expansion was not a good idea.

 

The
U.S. did not expand further because of the substantial
amount of opposition to imperialism at the time. In addition, foreign policies
such as the Open Door Policy and the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, allowed for
the U.S. to expand into foreign markets without having to expand territorial
gains.