American Imperialism

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Which of the motives for American imperialism do you think was the most important?

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Scott David eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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With a question like this, I think it's worth considering that the various motivations can intersect and feed off of one another. Economic interests, military interests, and strategic interests, for example, I think all tend to interact with one another, particularly within the context of the industrialized world. That would probably be my answer, actually: the confluence of strategic and economic factors created by the Industrial Age.

The key starting point, then, is the transition into an Industrial Economy (and this transition is much larger than simply economic—it impacts culture, the military, demographics, technology: the repercussions are all encompassing). By the time we enter into the age of American Imperialism , we're also looking at the age of Big Business (where corporations wielded a lot of money and a lot of influence), and imperialism certainly had a very strong capitalist incentive. Large trusts and corporations were eager to access new markets, or to gain control over...

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