What started imperialism in America?  

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In looking at modern day imperialism, the United States became an imperialistic country in the late 1890s. There had been a push for the United States to expand to the Pacific Ocean in the mid-1800s. These feelings had only intensified by the 1890s.

When events in Cuba created an opportunity for the United States to take action, President McKinley declared war on Spain in 1898. As a result of the Spanish-American War, the United States received land beyond its borders making our country an imperial power. While President, McKinley also ensured our ability to trade with China by establishing the Open Door Policy.

While President McKinley may have started us on the path of imperialism, President Theodore Roosevelt took it even further in the early 1900s. President Roosevelt got involved in Panama’s dispute with Colombia that resulted in the United States building the Panama Canal. He also sent our navy around the world to show off our military power. Finally, he intervened in the Dominican Republic when they fell behind in paying their debts to Europe.

As a result of the actions of these presidents, the United States emerged as an imperial power in the late 1890s and the early 1900s.