American Imperialism

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What was the reason for American imperialism?

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The late-nineteenth century United States became an imperial power for a multitude of reasons.

The nineteenth-century doctrine of Manifest Destiny was a contributing factor to American imperialism. Manifest Destiny was the idea that American expansionism was both right and inevitable. By the late nineteenth century, the United States had reached its territorial limits in North America. Therefore, further expansion overseas was a natural continuation of Manifest Destiny.

In 1890, Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840–1914) published The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660–1783. Mahan, an American naval officer and instructor, advocated both a strong navy and colonial expansionism. Great nations had strong navies, so an aspiring US needed one too. Mahan's ideas were influential both abroad and in the US America's Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, was influenced by Mahan.

In the late-nineteenth century, Asia and Africa were carved up by European powers. They sent missionaries to...

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

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


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