Imperialism maintain its control. European countries, by the late

Imperialism is
the policy in which stronger nations extend their economic, political, and/or
military control over weaker nations.  Imperialism
usually results in the stronger nation creating a colony in the weaker nation
to maintain its control.  European
countries, by the late 19th century, had established colonies on the
following continents:  Africa, Asia,
South and Central America.  The US had a
tradition of expansionism long before it become imperialistic.  In 1803 the US purchased the Louisiana
Territory from France, doubling the size of the country.

In 1819 Spain
ceded Florida to the US.  In 1823
president Monroe issued the Monroe Doctrine, warning European countries to stay
out of the Western hemisphere (Latin America) because it was our “sphere of
influence”.  As well, during the 1840s
most Americans believed in the Manifest Destiny of the US.   That it was our destiny as a country to
expand from sea to sea.  In 1845 the US
annexed Texas which at that time considered itself independent.  In 1846 Great Britain ceded the Oregon
Territory (WA, OR, ID and part of WY) to the US.  In the treaty that ended the US-Mexican War
(1846-48) the US paid Mexico $15 million (about $350 million today) for the
Mexican Cession – CA, NV, UT and parts of CO, NM, AZ & WY.  The year 1853 the US purchased the southern
parts of AZ and NM from Mexico for $10m. 
In 1867 the US purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million.  Most Americans thought it was a bad deal, but
it ended up being a great decision. 
Then, in 1867 the US annexed the Midway Islands in the Pacific (two
small atolls)

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Some of the key
factors that fueled the new American Imperialism were the strong desire for new
markets to sell US goods and the desire for military strength to compete with,
and gain the respect of, other world powers. 
There was also the belief in our cultural superiority and the benefits
it could bring to less civilized people. 
The US wanted a new frontier to settle in order to maintain America’s
identity and prosperity.  In the late 19th
century the US advanced in technology enabled American farms and factories to
produce far more than American citizens could consume.  The US had suffered a depression in 1893 –
unemployment was high and farmers were suffering greatly from overproduction, under
consumption and low prices.  Overseas
territories would provide the US with access to cheap raw materials it could
use to fuel its factories to recapture its prosperity.  Overseas territories would provide US
businesses and farmers access to new markets (places) to sell their surplus
(extra) goods leading to higher prices, more profits and more jobsIf the US was
to become a respected and influential world power (like Great Britain and
France) it too would need to establish a global military presence and acquire
overseas territories.  American leaders,
like TR and Alfred T. Mahan of the US Navy, urged government officials to build
up the U.S. Navy in order to complete with other powerful nations and extend
its influence globally.  Overseas
territories needed to support the new navy (coaling stations, repairs, military
bases).  Navy needed to protect new
territories and merchant ships trading near new territories.  Some
Americans combined the philosophy of Social Darwinism – a belief that the strongest
economic nations would “survive and thrive” in a global free market – along
with a belief in the racial superiority of Anglo-Saxons (white Americans of
Northern & Western European descent) – to justify American Imperialism.  How
Social Darwinism was used to justify overseas expansion:  Each
race has a distinct mission and place in God’s plan.  It is God’s plan that English speaking
Anglo-Saxons rule the world and uplift inferior races (in Africa and
Asia in particular)