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What are reasons for American imperialism?

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Quick Answer

In the United States, imperialism exists because of a desire to demonstrate and extend the scope of American power overseas. The motives for imperialism are primarily the same for nations around the world. Imperialism happens when countries seek to expand their scope of influence and assert power and control on certain nations.

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Full Answer

Imperialism occurs sometimes without the use of military forces, such as through political diplomacy. However, militaries also enforce and carry out acts of imperialism. In the U.S., imperialism emerged primarily during the 19th century. Prior to the late 1800s, the U.S. existed as an isolationist nation, taking measures to stay out of international affairs. The isolationist policy enforced by early American presidents, including George Washington, ended with the involvement of the U.S. in World War I. Several motivating factors led the U.S. to change course in pursuit of imperialism. Economic incentive to expand its market internationally and bring in additional revenue was a primary contributing factor. The U.S., like other nations, experienced a growth in technology that greatly improved the production of goods and services. Following the Great Depression of the 1920s, the U.S. saw a crucial and immediate need to fix a damaged economy, and resorted to imperialist policies and tactics to bring that change.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are three factors that spurred American imperialism?

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    Three factors that spurred American imperialism were the need to expand even after the frontier had vanished, with industrialization warranting further claim to more resources, the growing importance of foreign trade to the American economy and the desire to compete with European empires for power. Because of this mixture of cultural, economic and political factors, the U.S. was influenced to practice imperialism, particularly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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  • Q:

    What is the goal of imperialism?

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    The goal of imperialism is to exercise economic and political control over a dependent territory. Such control is often accomplished through settlement, sovereignty or less direct methods.

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  • Q:

    How was imperialism justified?

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    Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, imperialism was justified through the theory of Social Darwinism. This theory sought to apply the theory of biological Darwinism, as proposed by Charles Darwin in "Origin of Species," to human societies. Imperialists justified invading a foreign territory by citing the improvements their culture and innovation had on the occupied territory.

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  • Q:

    When did imperialism begin?

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    The origins of imperialism date back to ancient China and western Asia; the practice then spread to the Middle East and Mediterranean nations during the 6th-4th centuries BCE. The term imperialism refers to a policy, typically implemented by a nation or strong central government, featuring the extensive use of power, often through military means. Imperialism usually diverts power to the hands of a few leaders, and often results in harsh treatment of citizens.

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