In the aftermath of the Spanish-American War the United States collected its first international territories; Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. These seizures initiated the rapidly emerging force of American Imperialism, which was described as a American foreign policy to gain control of distant lands for military and economic benefits. This policy is practiced to this day as the United States completes construction of pro-America governments in Afghanistan and Iraq.
What were the Positive Effects of american Imperialism?
American imperialism’s best quantities are the naval strengthening, reaction of armed forces, and protection of American business interests. American navy greatly benefited from imperialism; it allowed them to establish ports around the world to service the fleet. To this day there are still major American ports in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Both bases were established as a result of American imperialism; without these key ports American ships range would be limited because they would have to rely on exclusively American ports or the benevolence of competing nations to be able to send ships outside of the local hemisphere. Pearl Harbor later played a key role in American defense; preventing World War Two from spreading to the American mainland. National defense of America benefited in more ways than just the naval powers, American influence expanded greatly thanks to imperialism. Troops were able to be quickly deployed to counteract emerging threats around the world since the troops could be stationed in these territories. Being able to deploy American troops around the world was key in American foreign policy; it was the American army who were first landed to counteract the Boxer Rebellion. They were able to arrive so quickly because they had been stationed in the Philippians. Finally, financial interests were the third to benefit from American imperialism; both the foreign countries and the United States benefit in this case. Thanks in part to the protection of American business in Cuba after the Spanish American war investments in the territory quadrupled, benefiting Americans and the locals. Puerto Rico greatly benefited from its semi-unique position of being under tax-exempt status, which greatly bolstered the economy.
What Were the Negative Effects of American Imperialism?
Anti-American resentment, unnecessary conflicts, and under effective or counterproductive use of resource were the negative results of American imperialism. In every nation that American annexed or was sold there was native resentment for having a foreign power ruling over them; there was a sizeable population that pressed for independence of their own country and the ruling Americans disagreed. This stifled anger solidified over time, harming American relations with the countries with distrust and bitterness. Cuban’s resentment of American annexation of the country doubtlessly played a role in the conversion of the country to communism and endangering American lives by housing Soviet nuclear missiles during the Cuban Missile Crises. Unnecessary conflicts emerged from American annexation of territories around the world; natives who believed they had switched one oppressor for another were eager to take up arms to take back their homeland. The Philippine-American War resulted from this cause, 24000 men died in the conflict and $400 million dollars was expended on securing a distant island that played not significant role in domestic issues. Finally, resources were wasted on these territories and foreign interests that could have been better utilized benefiting the American homeland directly. Following the Philippine-American war 540 educated and motivated Americans were sent to the Philippines to educated the population and sweeten the sour relations the territory had with America. These individuals greatly benefited the island increasing elementary student numbers by 20,000 percent; these individuals did improve the countries relationship but did not directly benefit America. Monumental effects of this nature would have been greatly appreciated in America, who was undergoing a progressivism revolution that need motivated individuals just like these men to educate students and help pass favorable legislation.
In Retrospect, Is American Imperialism Beneficial to the United States?
Overall, the results of American imperialism were positive. American territories have remained prosperous, Puerto Rico prospers under its tax-exempt status and the Philippines are a stronghold of democracy in Asia. Only Cuba remains with a low standard of living; they are also the only territory whose government is actively anti-American. American military supremacy was maintained thanks to the territories, it is unquestioned today that American military is amongst the elite of the world. One core reason for this is that troops can be deployed to almost any region quickly. American troops counter coups in Grenada and more recently Haiti thanks to nearby American troops. Taiwan and South Korea remain free countries because of American involvement in the region, thanks to the pioneering claim of the Philippines. The local populations of the territories might have been resentful of being dominated by a foreign power, but the end result is financial security and prosperity, along people controlling their own countries which are not in the case of regions that were not made American territories such as China. Perhaps if America had played a more dominant role during this time period China would not have later emerged as the communist threat that terrorized Americans in Korea and Vietnam, extending the Cold War and killing hundreds of thousands. A stronger Imperialism policy might have resulted in fewer innocents dying.
Source -Danzer, Gerald A. The Americans Reconstruction through the 20th Century. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 2002. 375-81. Print.