What are the negative effects of Imperialism in America?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Imperialism had some negative effects in the United States. First, it thrust us onto the world scene. This required the United States to deal with situations where the people we were ruling didn’t want us to be there. For example, in the Philippines, we had to put down a rebellion when the people of the Philippines revolted against our presence there. There were American casualties in this conflict.

Another negative effect of imperialism on the United States is how Latin American countries perceived us. We have intervened in Latin America many times to protect American interests. We went to Nicaragua in 1911 to maintain stability and to protect American investments. We helped Panama get its independence from Columbia in 1903. The Columbians were upset with our involvement in this situation. We went to the Dominican Republic to keep the European out when the Dominican Republic fell behind on debt payments to Europe. To this day, many Latin American countries and people refer to the United States as a “big brother” implying that we don’t trust Latin America and must watch over them.

Some of the concepts of imperialism are viewed as racist. The idea that our way of living is the best and must be spread implies that the way other people live is inferior or bad. This creates tension between the majority of Americans and people from the countries we are colonizing that currently live in the United States. For example, if we say we need to show the people of the Philippines how to live, the Filipinos that live in our country may take that a statement that the Filipino way of living here and in the Philippines is inferior.

Finally, there is an economic cost to imperialism. We must protect our colonies. We must govern our colonies. We may have to quell uprisings in the colonies against our rule. All of these actions require funds. Thus, we must spend money to make sure things run smoothly in the colonies.

There were some negative effects of imperialism in the United States.