Imperialism (1900 - 1914)
  • most European nations and the US begin to expand

Roosevelt

  • after McKinley was assassinated, Roosevelt took over
  • he inherited McKinley's policies, and promised to continue them
  • by continuing McKinley's prosperous policies, he hoped to increase that prosperity
  • public is sceptical of Imperialism - they want "sea to shining sea", but not overseas
  • but, Roosevelt feels that the US needs to expand to keep up with other nations

China

  • key issue of the McKinley administration
  • 1894 - 1895: Japan badly defeated China at war
    • Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Russia began to take control of China and her substantial resources
    • the US worries that these other nations will grow beyond the US's growth
  • John Hay, American Secretary of State, wants to be sure that the US is involved
    • requests an open-door policy from the European nations to promote competition and allow fair trade
    • didn't talk to China, just to the European nations
    • Britain, France, Germany, and Japan agree; Russia declines
    • Hay declares an open door anyway
  • Boxer Rebellion
    • the Boxers were patriotic Chinese rebels
    • they killed about 200 foreigners in a revolt against foreign occupation
    • a multinational force was sent to put down the rebellion
    • the US joins this force, despite Washington's Farewell Address's warning against foreign entanglements
    • this was the first time the US sent troops to join a multinational force
    • these nations issue a $300 million fine to China to punish and stop future rebellions
    • as an act of friendship, the US uses their $18 million to send students to study; try to Westernise China

Spanish-American War

  • International Darwinism
    • enthusiastically promoted in Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis (Josiah Strong)
    • strong countries will dominate weaker ones, and Anglo-Saxons are superior
    • calls for the spread of American culture and values to "backward" nations
  • many leaders are concerned that the US isn't advancing like Europe is
    • Europe is going into Africa and the Pacific
    • they fear being frozen out of regions that could enhance their fortunes
    • encourage the government to spread American values
  • 1895: Cuban citizens rebelled against Spain
    • widespread poverty/depression blamed on Spanish tyranny
    • also, US tariff on Cuban sugar (versus no tariff on Hawaiian sugar) hurt their economy
    • Spain sent General "Butcher" Weyler, who herds Cubans into concentration camps, where they die of disease, starvation, etc.
    • in the US, there is a newspaper competition between Hearst and Pulitzer, resulting in the rise of "yellow journalism", or sensationalised reporting
    • the "yellow journalists" pick Cuba as a target and report on horrific situations there
    • Hearst published a letter written by a Spanish diplomat (Dupuy de Lôme), who was critical of McKinley and called him "weak"; de Lôme was forced to resign
    • the public is outraged, and the newspaper call for armed intervention
    • the US has always had its eyes on Cuba (Manifest Destiny_
    • McKinley orders the USS Maine to be stationed in Havana Harbour to monitor the situation and keep the peace
    • the Maine blew up on 15 Feb 1898
      • 260 lives were lost
      • the Spanish investigation concluded that it was caused by an internal malfunction
      • the (quick) American investigation concluded that the cause had been a Spanish mine
      • Spain attempts to pacify, and offers arbitration
      • the yellow press called "Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!"
      • in 1976, a more thorough investigation concluded that it was an accidental explosion
    • 11 Apr 1898, Congress declares war on Spain
      • the yellow press and the imperialists get their way
      • the war lasts until 12 Aug 1898: the "Splendid Little War"
      • to pacify non-imperialists, Congress passed the Teller Amendment, stating that the Cubans will gain their freedom after the Spanish are defeated
      • Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, in the absence of the Secretary of the Navy, ordered Commodore George Dewey to Manila Harbour, where the Spanish fleet is (before the official declaration of war)
      • in July 1898, the US had annexed Hawaii for use as a naval base
      • they were confident of what could be accomplished, even though Spain has a good army and the US Navy isn't too big
    • the US easily destroyed the Spanish navy in Manila
      • 400 Spanish casualties, 0 US casualties
      • however, no land forces to go to Cuba - not prepared for war
      • the Spanish navy in Cuba was also easily defeated
      • after a while, the US did invade Cuba
      • Roosevelt left the office of the Navy to become a "Rough Rider", where he developed his reputation
    • Emilio Aguinaldo
      • the US collaborated with him in the Philippines to capture Manila and secure the Philippines for future endeavours
      • he'll later turn against the US, seeking full political liberty
    • the biggest US problem was being unprepared for war
      • heavy wool uniforms were worn in tropical Cuba
      • no knowledge of tropical disease
      • lost more men to disease than to battle
    • Pact of Paris (1898)
      • Cuba is freed, per the Teller Amendment
      • the US gains control of Guam and Puerto Rico
      • US buys the Philippines for $20 million (the islands had only been captured after the war was over)
        • causes consternation - should the US buy other lands?
        • much money and men will be lost in the Philippines
        • more costly than the entire Spanish-American War
      • Platt Amendment
        • forced to be added to Cuba's constitution
        • prohibits Cuba from contracting debts, and allow US to intervene militarily at its discretion
        • the US doesn't want Cuba, but doesn't want anyone else to have it either - that would violate the Monroe Doctrine
      • Guam and Puerto Rico
        • they can be independent, but the US uses them for naval bases
        • not really acquired

Anti-Imperialism

  • Mark Twain, Jane Addams, Andrew Carnegie
  • Filipinos wanted freedom
  • in the "insular cases", including Downes v Bidwell, the Supreme Court decided that the Constitution doesn't follow the flag
    • products imported from US territories were subject to duties
    • occupied territories don't have Constitutional rights
    • territories that could legitimately seek annexation would be treated differently (Guam/Puerto Rico/Hawaii given more privileges than Hawaii)
  • US annexes the Philippines
    • essentially, fight a three-year war with them (similar to Vietnam)
    • Emilio Aguinaldo led the insurrection; he thought he would be in charge after the Spanish-American War
    • they were eventually given their independence, on 4 July 1946
    • Taft was made governor of the Philippines to create a stable democracy

Panama Canal

  • after the Spanish-American War, the US realised that a new way was needed to connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans
  • need to protect new lands in the Pacific and Caribbean
  • as an economic power, need faster shipping routes
  • Roosevelt had a dream of a canal through Central America, so he uses his "big stick"
  • initially, Nicaragua and Panama were both looked at as potential locations; concern over Nicaraguan volcanoes decided for Panama
  • however, the Clayton - Bulwer Treaty of 1850 (between the US and Britain) had asserted that no one nation could have sole control over such a canal
  • the British, seeing World War I on the horizon, are anxious to gain American friendship, so they agree to a new treaty
  • Hay-Pauncefote Treaty (1901) allowed the US to build and fortify a canal, so long as it could be used freely by all
  • Hay-Herran Treaty (proposed, not accepted; 1903)
    • Panama is controlled by Colombia, so the US needs to negotiate
    • Panama is also looking to become independent, to enliven their economy
    • the treaty calls for the US acquiring a 6 mile wide Canal Zone
    • the US will pay $10 million in cash and $250,000 per year
    • the US Senate approves, but Colombia rejects it, wanting $25 million in cash
    • Roosevelt was upset, even though the property probably was worth more
  • Philippe Bunau-Varilla
    • a group of Panamanians met in the US
    • they suggested that they wanted to be independent of Colombia
    • not sure if they would be successful on their own - want US help
    • US "officially" rejects them, but offers support - they will see the Panamanian revolt as a "fortunate development"
    • Colombian soldiers were poised to crush Panama, but US naval vessels "happened" to be in the way
    • within 3 days, the US recognised the new, independent nation of Panama
  • Hay - Bunua-Varilla Treaty (1903)
    • Bunua-Varilla is the new Panamanian ambassador
    • the offer is the same as previously, but the Canal Zone is now 10 miles wide
    • so, Roosevelt gets his canal
  • Latin American nations are leery of US control of Puerto Rico, and "control" of Cuba, so they're not happy about Panama
  • construction begins in 1904, but problems arise with landslides, labour, bugs, disease, etc.
  • by 1914, the canal will be completed
    • heralded as the greatest technological achievement of its time
    • $400 million cost
    • loss of goodwill with the people of the region continues today

Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine

  • "banana republics"
    • many Latin American nations begin to default on massive loans to Europe
    • they had borrowed heavily, without a real intent to return the money
  • Roosevelt sees that threats to Latin America, resulting from European intervention to regain their loaned funds, could be threats to the US
  • he is determined to keep Europe out - so they won't be able to collect debts
  • sees the US as the "policeman of the Caribbean"; resolves on a policy of preventive intervention
  • the US becomes the bank for Latin America, as well; wants to make sure debts aren't rebuilt
  • had hoped that the US could gain allies in Latin America and the Caribbean
    • teach them how to govern, then give them local control
    • however, most of them go back to their old ways - warlords, corruption, instability
    • the US military will establish semi-permanent bases in the area
  • this becomes known as "Cowboy Diplomacy"
  • Roosevelt wants the US to become a significant world power that isn't just ignored

Dollar Diplomacy (Taft)

  • most believed that Taft would follow Roosevelt's direction
  • Taft began to use America's growing economy as a diplomatic tool
  • encourages American investors to invest in foreign markets, to increase American influence abroad
  • he focuses on the Far East and the Panama Canal region, for their strategic advantage
  • critics call it "Dollar Diplomacy", buying friends and influence
  • pre-empt foreign investors from gaining control over key markets
  • primary focus was in Manchurian region of China
    • Roosevelt believed that control of the railroad meant control of the Chinese economy
    • Secretary of State Phillander C. Knox tried to negotiate with Russia and Japan to gain access to Chinese markets
    • they flatly refuse - want to keep control of the region
  • because of political turmoil in Honduras, Haiti, and Nicaragua, the US is forced to send American troops in to protect American investments; for example, 2500 troops spend 13 years in Nicaragua
  • once the US became involved in the affairs of the world, they weren't able to turn back
    • began to pick sides in international conflicts
    • the question arose of where to draw the line in taking over
    • when some nations nationalised, they took investors' money to build, and then didn't pay it back
    • began to commit forces in foreign nations, against traditional policy
    • countries that don't get money will also cause problems - why did the others get money, and not us?
  • Central America and the Caribbean
    • the Spanish-American War, Panama Canal, Roosevelt Corollary, Dollar Diplomacy, ensure that the US is extremely involved in Latin America
    • high frequency of revolutionary and political upheaval in the area
    • due to close proximity, the US feels compelled to intervene, to protect US citizens and investments
    • "non-colonial imperial expansion"
      • the US intervenes without taking control
      • at the discretion of the President, they can invade other nations
      • a few nations did actually request US help; most were just invaded

Moral Diplomacy (Wilson)

  • in 1912, the Wilson government ended government support for investments in China, Latin America; he wanted to reverse the Big Stick and Dollar Diplomacy
  • Wilson wanted "moral diplomacy" to counteract the mistrust that the US had built up
  • wanted to stabilise the region without much US intervention
  • felt that the Panama Canal was dubious
    • seeks repeal of the Panama Canal Toll Act, which required all countries except the US to pay to use the canal
    • he felt that this violated the original declaration that the canal would be for the world to use
    • other countries feared that the US would cut off use of the canal
    • Wilson wants all to pay - it's morally correct
    • Panama used the toll money to help build their economy; it wasn't about US income
  • Wilson would be forced to send the most troops into the region, however, despite his sincere intentions

Mexican Revolution

  • Mexico was rick in resource, but had weak, ineffective, corrupt governments
  • the governments tried to exploit the people, mismanaged resources - the government was rich, but most people were poor
  • high US-Mexican tensions
  • Mexican leaders sold many resources to foreign investors, at the expense of the Mexican populace
  • Porfirio Diaz
    • ruthless, oppressive dictator; his cruelty leads to a surge of nationalism
  • Francisco Madero leads a 1910 revolution, gains control, and is appointed "President"
    • he's popular, a "man of the people"
    • short-lived regin
    • assassinated by Victoriano Huerta, who took over the government
  • Victoriano Huerta
    • feared the mass migration of Mexicans to the US in the early 20th Century
    • Americans living in Mexico began to be concerned for their lives
      • they seek the support of the yellow journalists, much as had happened during the Spanish-American War
      • Wilson wants to stay out, but he has a moral streak and objects to Huerta's killing to take over
    • two others also vie for power in Mexico
      • Venustiano Carranza
      • Francisco "Pancho" Villa
      • the US began to supply them with weapons in an (unsuccessful) attempt to unseat Huerta
    • April 1914: Tampico affair
      • a group of American sailors on shore leave were arrested while partying (rather enthusiastically)
      • the US government was outraged, and the sailors were quickly arrested, with apologies
      • however, the commander of the vessel demanded a 21-gun salute, and was refused
      • Wilson used this as an excuse to ask Congress for permission to use force
        • he ordered the navy to seize Veracruz
        • upsets both Huerta and Carranza - viewed as exceeding boundaries of informal Carranza-US deal
        • war seems inevitable, but the "ABC Powers" of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile intervene
        • attempt to negotiate a US-Mexico agreement; helped the US to undermine Huerta, although this wasn't intentional
        • Huerta was ultimately forced to step down, and the President's seat was filled by Carranza
        • Carranza resented the US intervention, and Wilson doesn't trust Carranza
  • Pancho Villa
    • resented Carranza taking over, as he felt that he was the better leader
    • initially attacked a Mexican town with American citizens; when that didn't get a reaction he moved across the border and killed 19 in New Mexico
    • Wilson ordered General John J. Pershing to capture Pancho Villa with 1000 troops
    • essentially, he thus told Carranza that Carranza wasn't strong enough (which he wasn't)
    • Carranza doesn't like the US, but doesn't like Pancho either; he hadn't yet solidified himself as the Mexican leader, so he let the US enter without too much of a fuss
    • Pancho was never found; he was very popular, and the people hid him
    • tensions rise and there's more resentment as the US stays longer and longer
    • eventually, Carranza tells them to leave; this doesn't happen until World War I, Jan. 1917

Taft and Wilson: Summary

  • mixed results
  • short-term allies, but long-term animosity
  • eventually, Wilson's approach is seen as unrealistic for the Western Hemisphere
  • ultimately, as seen in World War I, his ideals don't work out well
  • he won't be able to "sell" his worldview at home or abroad
  • he pays the ultimate price: stress and concern cause him to die of a strike in 1919, and the Republican Party takes over
  • starting about 1900, the US begins to step out of Washington's isolationist policies and enters global society
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under GNU Free Documentation License.