Expansion In American History Essay Research Paper

Expansion In American History Essay, Research Paper

Patrick Daley


The expansion that took place in America in the early twentieth-century in many ways was a a departure from previous the expansion of the previous century. On the most basic level, the land to be acquired was different. No more uninhabited (or nearly uninhabited considering the Indians) tracts of contiguous land remained to be gobbled up and made into states. The territories in question were now islands in the Caribbean and south Pacific, areas with established governments seemingly unsuitable for state hood, bringing up another departure. America now focused more on spreading its influence through the western hemisphere, ensuring that it maintained a stronger presence than its old world competitors, than on simply adding more acres to the Union. Despite these significant changes, the root motivations for expansion – protection of U.S. intrests and economic growth – remained the same from one century to the next.

Thomas Jefferson s Louisiana purchase opened up a golden era for westward expansion, and the territories gained from France would prove vital to America s economic future. As textile, steel and oil industries began to boom so did the need for the raw materials grown and mined in the west. The government, in order to feed the growing industries with the needed ore, oil or crops, encouraged expansion with the Homestead Act and subsidized rail road companies laying down track into this new frontier. Expansion had contributed to U.S. becoming the economic super power that it did, and now the continuation of such prosperity would raise a demand for expansion. Americans must now look outward. The growing production demands it, Cried Alfred Mahan (document C). Arguing that if America were to compete with the imperialist activities of the European powers, depicted in Thomas Nast’s cartoon as plundering thieves, and control trade through the western hemisphere, then expansion was an imperative.

The U.S. government, however, received its own share of criticism for undertaking imperialist type activities during its occupation of the Philippines: Whether the ruthless slaughter of the Filipinos shall end next month or next year is but an incident in a contest that most go on until the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are rescued from the hands of their betrayers. (Document D) This behavior on the part of Uncle saw, however, was nothing new. In the earlier century the U.S. had annexed Texas and occupied much of what was Mexico during the Mexican American war.

The spirit that inspired the Expansion of the later of the early Twentieth Century was in many regards the same as it had been since the Nation s birth, and in many ways is the same today. Our countries modern leadership has no compulsion about going to war to protect or interests (desert storm), just as Theodore Roosevelt had no problem fighting in the Philippines, and it is hard to imagine that there is any change to the countries general out look to come in the near future.


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