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Discussion 2: American Imperialism

Discussion 2: American Imperialism


American Imperialism started in 1790s during the war between Spanish and American. Economic is one of the things that lead to American Imperialism. During this period, the US had already gained industrial power thus was trying to search for new markets to sell their commodities. Military power motivated American Imperialism, it helped to make America more powerful and to show rest of the world that they were important and strong. It was also meant to promote nationalism thus America became a point of pride which ensured they have colonies all over the world (Field, James A., Jr. 1978).

Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism

Manifest destiny is a 19th century belief that America needed to grow and expand westward across North American continent. Americans felt that they need to expand so as to spread their freedom, democracy and its culture. Many American viewed manifest destiny as an obvious thing since they all needed growth and expansion. It has become a historical term and recently it is being used to refer to territorial expansion of U.S.A across North America.

America exceptionalism refers to the belief that United States has a unique character as a free nation, historical evolution, political systems and unique religious institutions. America sees itself as an exceptional country since its fulfilling American dream and is viewed as the most powerful state in the whole world (Smith, Ashley 2006).

Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism application to U.S. foreign policy at the turn of the 20th century

Manifest Destiny and American exceptional were applied to United States of America foreign policy by creating a protectorate in Cuba, going to war with Spain, annexing Hawaii, and buying Alaska from Russia and taking control over Guam, Philippines and Puerto Rico. Positives and negatives of American Imperialism


American Imperialism paved away to global modernization- this lead to technology advancement and high innovation levels such as creation of transistors which helped people to listen to the live broadcast of trending issues, events and news. Robotics was also introduced in America, all this lead to economic growth and development.

Development of global defense support- America established more than 650 military bases which help to protect people around the world, to provide defensive support and provided training, and necessary equipment to improve defensive mechanism in United States.

Industrialization- due to expansion and globalization, America Imperialism lead to advancement of machinery and infrastructures thus helping the colonized nations to progress. Also resources were used effectively and efficiently for manufacturing, businesses and improving economic sectors around the world (Ignatieff, Michael. 2005).

American Imperial also led to the exchange of cultural ideologies, traditions and customs thus leading to broadening nation’s horizons.


Political feud- there is no country, person or even an organization like to be controlled by another organ or entity. America colonized different countries and as a result there was political conflict between nations.

Discrimination- America forced some countries to adapt to their cultures and traditions and leave behind their ways of living thus discriminating their way of life.

Exploitation- citizens of American colonies who rejected America’s beliefs and acted against its rules and regulations were punished and exploited for doing so.


America Imperialism played critical roles in economical development and growth. It is partly based on American exceptionalism. America benefited a lot from America Imperialism but their colonies suffered a lot, low social and economical development, political conflict as well as citizens’ discrimination and exploitation


Field, James A., Jr. (1978). "American Imperialism: The Worst Chapter in Almost Any Book". The American Historical Review. 83 (3): 644–668.

Smith, Ashley (2006). The Classical Marxist Theory of Imperialism. Socialism 2006. Columbia University.

Ignatieff, Michael. (2005). American Exceptionalism and Human Rights. Princeton University Press

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