United States Foreign Policy Near The End Of The 19th Century
This nation, from its inception had a lust for real estate. From the original chants of "manifest destiny" to the calls for the annexation of Indian territories, our nation has been driven to acquire land. In this country's youth land was needed for economic expansion; however, by the end of the 19th century the entire continental United States was in our possession and the citizenry of this country turned their eyes out to sea.
no longer sought new lands to farm and work nor did they need new areas for their geological resources. The United States was now driven by the temptations of world power and political one-ups-manship. The self-absorbed citizenry looked upon their intrusion into foreign areas as a moral obligation; to spread the words of democracy throughout the world. The Spanish - American War in the final years of the 19th century perfectly demonstrate this "new" Imperialism. In addition the American intrusion into Chinese affairs during the Boxer rebellion is also a proof for the new motives which governed our international attitude. By the end of the 19th century Spanish forces in Cuba were in all out battle with nationalist rebels. The Spanish army had tortured and killed thousands of innocent Cubans in their efforts to maintain control of Cuba. The American "Yellow Press" under the leadership of Pulitzer and others wrote horrific articles about the war in Cuba and called for the imposition of the United States into the matter under the flag of moral obligation. President McKinley and his war hungry Congress saw this as a perfect opportunity to have a "nice little war" and bolster the status of the United States in the international community. The war with Spain also gave McKinley am excuse to invade the Spanish controlled Philippine Islands, an important naval site which would give the United States a voice in the far east. After, the United States Navy massacred the meek Spanish Armada and defeated the Spanish forces at San Juan hill, the little war was over. In the process the United States acquired the Philippine Islands, a strong voice in Cuban affairs, and most importantly, status. The political support that McKinley received after the Spanish - American War was "worth" the loss of a few American lives. In addition the control of the Philippine Islands gave the United States clout in the Far East and a chance to spread the dreams of democracy. Clearly the forces working behind the Spanish - American War were far different than those that led our forces, only a few decades earlier, into the western frontier. Once the United States had established its presence in the Far East, it felt obliged to oversee all that went on in the area. When Chinese nationalists rebelled against the controlling government, the United States was most eager to get into the action. At the time the United States had issued the "Open Door Policy" which called for the equal financial treatment of all foreign governments. The Boxer rebellion, as it would later be called, gave the United States a chance to strengthen the unpopular policy. 2,500 United States troops were eventually sent into the area and gave the United States the power to push ahead its own personal agenda in China. The threat of political instability and the chance to further outstretch its political sphere of influence were the driving factors behind the United States' involvement in this affair. The Imperialistic McKinley government was not going to sit idly while the other nations of the world edged the United States out of China. These two isolated incidents, when analyzed from a historical frame of reference reveal a growing change in the Imperialistic tendencies of the United States towards the end of the 19th century. The United States was determined to gain a voice in the international arena for the political status it would generate and the strategic benefits it would foster. This country was settled as a satellite to its mother country, , and now it would spread out its own Imperialistic wings to cover the globe with its own political motivations and moral conscience.