By 1900, the United States had created an overseas empire. Was this empire a natural culmination of its expansionist path at home?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For the most part, this overseas empire was a culmination of the expansionism that the US had engaged in at home.  It was caused by many of the same factors as the earlier expansion.

The earlier expansion within North America was largely driven by the idea of Manifest Destiny.  Americans believed that they were destined by God to expand their territory.  They felt that God had chosen them because they had a superior culture, a superior governmental system, and a superior religion.  This made them more deserving than the peoples they conquered.  Of course, the US also wanted to expand for economic reasons and to increase the nation’s power.

The same could be said for the overseas expansion.  The US felt that it deserved to take places such as Hawaii and the Philippines because its people were superior to the natives of those islands.  They felt they were “taking up the white man’s burden” by civilizing these people.  They also wanted to become more powerful militarily and economically.  All of these were the same factors that drove the expansionism within North America.

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