Describe the forces pushing for American overseas expansion in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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Historians typically cite three main forces that pushed for overseas expansion.  They were:

  • Military and political forces.  The US wanted to become a major world power.  Military people, inspired by Alfred Thayer Mahan, felt that a strong navy was the key to this.  This meant that a wide network of naval bases would be needed.
  • Economic forces.  American industrialists wanted new sources of raw materials and new markets in which to sell.
  • Cultural forces.  People like Theodore Roosevelt wanted to prove America’s toughness and superiority through expansion.  Others felt that the US had a mission to civilize and improve the rest of the world.
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