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From Relative Isolation to Global Involvement

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Janice Chiou

IAH 201 Dr. Magee


From Relative Isolation to Global Involvement

In the late nineteenth century, the United States showed great increase in global involvement, where the United States went from relative isolation to development of global dominance. The Spanish American War provided the US government the opportunity to expand America's role of the world. This revolutionary turning point reflected the attempt of showing dominance of Anglo-Saxon race, for opportunities of seeking new frontiers as resource supplies or stopping point for trading and military purposes and additionally, economical and political benefits from global trading and diplomatic interactions. The consequences on American society were racism against foreign immigrants, workers, students, etc and impact on small business in the country that raise problems of greater inequality in wealth distribution.

American policy makers were forced to consider a greater global involvement because of the Big Businesses and corporate capitalism expansions around the 1900s that resulted political challenges of governing these big business corporations'' reach and power around the world . Paul Krugman, professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, reports the US exports rose from about 5% to about 12% of world domestic product . Furthermore, the US government revenue from taxes, fees, and business revenue has increased substantially in the 20th century since 1900--there have been remarkable changes of a 7% increase of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the statistic used to measure the country's total output and reflects a country's economic condition and activity, in 1902 to over 35% today .

Before the United States government decided to extend globally, the Spanish American War American's was American's first engagement with a foreign country . Cuba not only served as a geopolitical aberration, where harbors were used by the colonial administrators of Spain as stopping points between other countries , but was also the world's leading sugar producer during the 1820's ; their economy was closely linked to the United States in the late nineteenth century based on the tobacco and sugar industry . Sharp price drop of sugar in the early 1884 facilitated U.S. penetration of the Cuba economy. Business leaders in America also agreed that the country requires International action. The tension between the Spanish and the Cubans have started since the1880s, where a group of Cubans emerged and agitated for independence from Spain, which provided perfect opportunity for the Americans. This action was not only the President's attempt but also supported by the Secretary of State, John Hay, but also and other key figures of the country. Aiming at breaking decisively at the tradition of nonintervention and neutrality in foreign affairs, the Spanish American War was a stepping-stone for the Untied States going from relatively isolation to increased global involvement.

President McKinley's decision on starting the war was the ultimate key of the Spanish war in 1898, America's first engagement with the world . Following with the annexation of Hawaii and attempt of taking control over the Philippines, these engagements reflected the public belief and general opinions of leading official at that time. The interview with President McKinley suggested a few explanations on his reasons and motivations of globalization:

"When I next realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I confess I did not know what to do with them . . . And one night late it came to me this way. . .1) That we could not give them back to Spain- that would be cowardly and dishonorable; 2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany-our commercial rivals in the Orient-that would be bad business and discreditable; 3) that we not leave them to themselves-they are unfit for self-government-and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's wars; and 4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died ."

McKinley's speech reflected the social conscious and belief of Americans at that time. During the growing industrialization, strong ideas of individualism in both work and the salvation of souls were strongly instilled. Their dominant attitudes in social and economic life proclaim the glories of American dream. However, the trend of Traditional Victorian rules and the American dream that were part of most Americans believe was challenged. Along with the huge amount of migration during the late 1890s, new trends of ideas from immigrants affected the system of beliefs in American society. Immigrants brought along a variety of European Christian traditions that differed from the American Protestantism and striking discipline of biblical criticism and theories from the scientific revolution (Darwin's theory for example) that shook the Americans thought of God's words and creations and resulted the rise of new and modified ideology later on, where Americans took form on domestic cultural assimilation of countless immigrants to the U.S. This sense of superior institution extended towards other nations and forged a trend of spreading Anglo-Saxon dominance and Americanization of new frontiers.

Force of Americanization applied Darwinism in explaining the progressive development in the late nineteenth century: old institutions and doctrines had to perish if they were not fit to survive . Americanization at that time, where among the world's inevitabilities, was the global dominance of the Anglo-Saxon



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