“The expansionist foreign policies of the US were driven by economics rather than ideology.” Discuss during the Emergence of the Americas in global affairs (1880–1929).

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The United States emerged as global power between 1880 and 1929. This occurred for a number of reasons. Economic reasons were part of it, but there were other factors, too. By the end of the Spanish-American War of 1898, the US was an imperialist power.

One reason for the American...

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The United States emerged as global power between 1880 and 1929. This occurred for a number of reasons. Economic reasons were part of it, but there were other factors, too. By the end of the Spanish-American War of 1898, the US was an imperialist power.

One reason for the American imperialism of this era was the closing of the western frontier. By around 1890, the West was largely settled. The completion of transcontinental railways created national markets and contributed to the country's economic development. Alaska had been bought by this time as well, so it seemed the country needed to look overseas for additional economic resources.

Second, the late nineteenth century was an era of fervent international imperialism. European nations were busy colonizing both Africa and Asia; they sought new markets and raw materials as well as greater national prestige. The United States, already a large and powerful nation, did not want to be left behind.

Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan was a proponent of American imperialism. He believed that naval power was the key to national greatness. A strong navy insured that routes to foreign markets remained open. Among Mahan's followers was Teddy Roosevelt, who later became president.

Hawaii was colonized by the United States. Its sugar industry was important to the United States. Also, Hawaii served as a base to trade with Asia.

The Spanish-American War was caused, in part, by American economic interests in Cuba. In fact, Cuba had more trade with the U.S. than with its mother country, Spain. By winning the war with Spain, the US became a full-fledged imperial power.

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