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The Age of Imperialism: Spanish American War and Manifest Destiny

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The Age of Imperialism originated, from the 1890s through the 1917s, strong nations were in a persistent fight to extend their influence around the world. Imperialism is introduced as the domination of a stronger nation over weaker territories, stronger nations would expand their economic, military, and political control over their territories giving them more influence. European nations were advancing rapidly by establishing colonies in which they would use extractive economies that would let them extract raw materials from the colony and also use their ports for trade. The United States then began to consider the benefits of being an Imperial country which encouraged the country to begin the quest for colonies. The taste of Empire is in the mouth of the people even as the taste of blood in the jungle means that nations are looking at the making of empires as a necessity for surviving. The comparison expresses that the nations are savages for the empire to survive as if it was in the jungle. It displays the theme of every man for himself, the fittest survive, and by the fit, it means the stronger nation.

In the 19th century, the New Manifest Destiny was a belief that the destiny of Americans was to travel across the continent to spread their traditions and culture to the people that they considered inferior. They believed that they were destined, by God, to govern over to who they consider inferior. Imperialists used ideas of national, racial, and cultural superiority to justify imperialism. One of the ideas was Social Darwinism which is the belief that the fittest will survive and the weak will not, Social Darwinists thought that some nations and races were superior to others and therefore should govern over them. One reason that justified the American expansion, the New Manifest Destiny is Social Darwinism. Americans believed that the Filipinos were inferior and therefore needed for someone to look after them. They argued that the United States had a responsibility to govern the Filipinos, President McKinley believed that America had no choice but to “take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize them.” Another reason that justifies New Manifest Destiny is military strength, Alfred T. Mahan wanted to transform the United States into a naval power. To spread and look after their interests in the world, Imperialists nations needed to strengthen their military. Mahan urged American leaders to have naval bases in Cuba, Hawaii, and the Philippines. For example, during the Spanish-American War, the U.S. navy was well-built and could easily protect their territories. Its U.S. naval blockades around Cuba, Havana Harbor, and Puerto Rico, San Juan put the Spanish in a corner obligating them to surrender. The last reason that justifies American expansion is America’s need to access raw materials, new ports to open trade since there was a surplus. The growing importance of overseas trade gave the United States a need for natural resources and raw materials for its industries at home but most importantly wanted to have ports so their goods could also be sold. In contrast to other countries, the United States was more concerned with selling its goods since they had a surplus of goods.

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