Global Expansionism

"If a man continually blusters . . . a big stick will not save him from trouble;
 and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not
 lie strength
[and] power. If the boaster is not prepared to back up his words,
 his position becomes absolutely contemptible."



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  • Josiah Strong
  • Alfred Thayer Mahan
  • imperialism
  • jingoism
  • "noncolonial imperial expansion"
  • "Seward's folly"
  • Alabama claims
  • Geneva Convention
  • Queen Liliuokalani
  • "opening of Japan"
  • treaty ports
  • Open Door notes
  • John Hay
  • Boxer Rebellion
  • Treaty of Portsmouth
  • spheres of influence
  • "Colossus of the North"
  • Pan-American Conference
  • Baltimore incident
  • Hague Conference
  • Roosevelt Corollary
  • Insular Cases
  • "gunboat diplomacy"
  • "dollar diplomacy"
  • "moral diplomacy"
  • Valeriano Weyler
  • "yellow press"
  • Depuy de Lôme letter
  • USS Maine
  • Teller Amendment
  • George Dewey
  • Emilio Aguinaldo
  • Foraker Act
  • William T. Sampson
  • Rough Riders
  • Treaty of Paris
  • Leonard Wood
  • Platt Amendment
  • Guantanamo Bay
  • Clayton-Bulwer Treaty
  • Hay-Herrán Treaty
  • Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty
  • Bryan-Chamorro Treaty
  • Tolls Act
  • Panama Canal Treaty
  • Porfirio Diaz
  • Tampico incident
  • Veracruz occupation
  • ABC Powers
  • Pershing expedition
  • Pancho Villa


  • Alfred Thayer Mahan: "The United States Looking Outward"
    in Atlantic Monthly (1890)


1.  "The closing of the frontier in 1890 had a profound effect on the social and economic
     development of the United States in the succeeding twenty years." Assess the validity
     of this statement.

2.  Outline the arguments presented in the debate over the American acquisition of an
     overseas empire and explain why the expansionists prevailed.

3.  Compare the debates that took place over American expansionism in the 1890s with
     those that took place in the 1840s, analyzing the similarities and differences in the
     debates of the two eras.

4.  "The Spanish-American War is often marked as the date for the emergence of the
     United States as a world power." Evaluate this statement.

5.  "The Spanish-American War was a premeditated affair resulting from a deliberately
     calculated scheme of robbery on the part of a superior power against a weak and
     defenseless neighbor." Assess the validity of this statement.

6.  Compare the "gunboat diplomacy" of President Theodore Roosevelt, the "dollar
     diplomacy" of President William Howard Taft, and the "moral diplomacy" of
     President Woodrow Wilson. Which of the theories do you think was most effective?


  1. The Open Door policy stated that
    1. each country should have its own sphere of influence in China.
    2. Japan should open her ports to the rest of the world.
    3. each nation should receive indemnities for life and property lost in the Boxer Rebellion.
    4. all nations were to have equal trading opportunities with China.

  2. In their policies toward Latin America, Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson differed in their
    1. support for imperialistic actions in the region.
    2. willingness to intervene in the area.
    3. overall philosophy of expansion versus isolation.
    4. stated motives for intervention in the region.

  3. The statement that "chronic wrongdoing" might necessitate the United States acting as an "international police force" was expressed in the
    1. Monroe Doctrine.
    2. Teller Amendment.
    3. Roosevelt Corollary.
    4. Treaty of Paris.

  4. As a result of the Spanish-American War, the United States acquired all of the following except
    1. Cuba.
    2. the Philippines.
    3. Guam.
    4. Puerto Rico.

  5. From the late 1800s up to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, relations between the United States and Great Britain
    1. remained extremely cool and aloof.
    2. deteriorated into deep animosity.
    3. were so poor that at times war seemed imminent.
    4. became increasingly friendly.

As sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski was set to begin preliminary blasting on the Crazy Horse Monument in 1948, a swell of opposition arose to the project being located in such close proximity to Mount Rushmore. South Dakota Governor George Mickelson sternly defended the site selection. He reminded detractors that the Sioux were "...the people from whom we took this beautiful area." Click on the faces to access LECTURE GUIDE for this unit.