What was the main driving force with US imperialism? what were some of the differences between US imperialism  and European imperialism? What was the main driving force behind the US " protection"...

What was the main driving force with US imperialism? what were some of the differences between US imperialism  and European imperialism? What was the main driving force behind the US " protection" in Latin America?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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First of all, we have to realize that it is impossible to objectively determine what the “main driving force” behind American imperialism was.  Policies come about because of a variety of motives.  Not everyone who supports a policy has the same motives and it is not really possible to determine which motive is dominant, particularly when we are talking about things that happened 100 years ago or more.  Therefore, it is more feasible to identify a number of driving forces behind American imperialism.

In my view, there were three main driving forces behind American imperialism.  First, Americans wanted to be seen as a world power.  They did not want the Europeans to be the only ones who had empires.  They felt that, by taking an empire, they would become a major world power on par with some of the nations of Europe.  Second, Americans wanted the economic benefits of imperialism.  Americans believed that taking colonies (or “protecting” countries in Latin America) would allow the US to dominate those countries economically.  The US would be able to have preferred access to the markets to get raw materials and to sell manufactured goods.  Finally, Americans wanted to have more military power.  They believed in Alfred Thayer Mahan’s ideas about the need for naval power and so they wanted an empire where they could put naval bases around the world.  All of these factors played into American imperialism and into the protection of countries in Latin America.  

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