American Imperialism

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Why did Americans increasingly support imperialism during the 1880s?

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During the 1880s, many Americans supported imperialism. One reason for this was to find new markets for American goods. American industry was producing goods faster than American consumers could buy them. Many looked to Asia as a new market. This meant acquiring coaling stations in the Pacific.

Another reason was for national pride. By the 1880s, the Western frontier was starting to close. Frederick Jackson Turner in the next decade would write that Americans would lose their frontier ethos if there were not new places to explore and settle. Already Britain, France, and Germany had major holdings in Africa. Some in the United States believed that a colonial empire was synonymous with national pride. There was also the possibility of gaining raw materials from these colonial possessions—raw materials that could help feed an industrial machine with unlimited production potential.

Finally, there was the issue of spreading American culture and democracy. Americans were aware of the poor...

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