Free «The Imperialist Impulse and the Spanish-American War» Essay

The Imperialist Impulse and the Spanish-American War


This paper is meant to clarify the imperialist impulse, noting the inspiring factors, which led to the Spanish-American War. In 1898, the USA defeated Spain in one of the shortest and most sadly one-sided battles in current history. This battle represented a powerful renaissance of the policy of Manifest Destiny, which had led the USA to evolve westward by beating Mexico in 1846-1848. This impulse toward the imperialism occurred as the main European countries were establishing colonies in Africa. After the Spanish-American War, the USA received a power, which controlled an empire from the Far East to the Caribbean Sea.

The 1890s: Decade of Crisis and Social Anxiety

The last ten years of the 19th century found the US citizens experiencing social crises that fostered concern regarding the nation’s future. People worried about a “closing” of frontier, the onset of extraordinary numbers of refugees, the increasing tide of irrefutable class disagreement and the convoy of economic despairs, which disturbed the economy. Beginning from the 1890s, the USA started to apply some of the imperialistic policies that it had prior criticized the main European powers for. Spurred on by the sugar planters, the USA expanded the impact in Hawaii and in 1896. occupied the isles. US citizens also pushed for “Open Door” trafficking policyin China. Attempts to expand the nation’s impact abroad were motivated by political, religious, economic, and also social factors; the “white man’s burden” disagreement was impacted in Europe and the USA. Also, there were enemies to the imperialism who usually focused the resistance on the moral basis. US imperialistic impulses increased during the Spanish-American War; newly evolved US marine power was one crucial factor in a beat of Spain. After controversial discussion within the country, America ultimately made a decision to seize the Philippines; it took approximately three years for the US army to beat Filipino rebels, who instead of struggling with the Spanish now opposed the new occupiers, the US citizens. Americans finished creating the Panama Canal in 1914; Roosevelt Corollary to Monroe Doctrine further augmented the US impact in Latin America (McWilliams 28-35).

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Cultural Impulse to the Imperialism

US citizens also suffered from an impulse to the “cultural imperialism”. Part of it was as ancient as a notion of “Manifest Destiny,” whilst much of it emerged from new resources, suggested, probably, by the anxious rivalry among European nations for colonial property. A powerful model was the instance set by England, whose defenders claimed to be members of a progressing society with every novel territorial achievement. 

The Military Impulse

The US military supporters and policy-makers claimed the USA should grow or disappear. The main advocate of this way of thinking was marine officer Thayer Mahan who argued that vast nations existed in just one of two conditions: they were growing or they were disappearing. Therefore, nation continued its existence and growth, hence, requiring better protection, which depended on military forces growth. Logically, this growth required a development of the nation’s marine force. And large marine navies needed off-shore areas as marine bases, else America’s vessels would be mere “earth birds” not capable to complete long-distant assignments expected of late 19th century vessels (Williams 54-86).

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Beginning of the Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American War is regarded as a short war when comparing to the wars worldwide. Its first day was on April 25, 1898, and its last day was August 12, 1898. Nevertheless, needless to mention that the resulting conflict in the Philippines was going on for many years, known now as the Philippine – American War. It is interesting to mention that this war was mainly brought about by the U.S. expansionists’ efforts; however, there were a number of Americans who, in fact, supported the idea of making free the oppressed people forced by the Spanish.

In 1895, Cuba citizens seeking the sovereignty from Spain courted US support through pages of U.S. newspapers, for instance, the New York World and the New York Journal, issued by Hearst and Pulitzer. These newspapers inflamed the populace with bright histories of Spanish slaughters in Cuba. Responding to public and press, the Congress pushed the occupant to interfere Cuba. Military leaders started planning for battle with Spain, counting plans for an assault on the Spanish settlement of Philippine Isles off the coast of China. President Grover Cleveland declined the push. But his successor, McKinley, proved more pleasant to the pro-war powers in the Congress.

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Before the Spanish-American War, the US citizens experienced the impulse toward “cultural imperialism.” Beginning in the 1890s, the USA started to apply the imperialistic policies that it had prior criticized the main European powers for. The US military advocates and policy-makers asserted that the USA should grow or disappear. The Spanish-American War started in 1898 against Spanish over treatment of Cubans by the Spanish army, which controlled the isle. After the Spanish-American War, the USA became a world power, which controlled an empire from the Caribbean Sea to the Far East. The struggle represented a powerful resurrection of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. 

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