American Imperialism

Start Your Free Trial

What motivated American Imperialism? Relate the main motivations and events of American Imperialism and foreign policy in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

What motivated American Imperialism? Relate the main motivations and events of American Imperialism and foreign policy in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,107 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Historians have linked US imperialist impulses to what historian Frederick Turner called the closing of the American frontier in 1890. At that point, railroads and settlement had "tamed" the Wild West, leaving the continental United States without new territory for conquest. Under this theory, the United States began to look outward for new regions to control.

This urge for expansion meshed well with US foreign policy ambitions to be the dominant force in the Western hemisphere. Our foreign policy increasingly identified the entire hemisphere (and not just US territory) as our sphere of influence.

This coincided, not surprisingly, with the enormous growth and industrialization of the US economy in the decades after the Civil War. The United States was an increasingly dominant power in the world in the late-nineteenth century and had muscle to flex. It desired to push out the remnants of the weakened Spanish empire from the hemisphere, and this became an impetus for conflicts in places like...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 881 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

geosc eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write233 answers

starTop subjects are History, Law and Politics, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Kelli Beard, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookB.A. from Rutgers University-New Brunswick/Piscataway

bookM.A. from Rutgers University-New Brunswick/Piscataway


calendarEducator since 2014

write152 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial