American Imperialism Then And Now: Diffusion Of The American Culture

1745 words - 7 pages

The imperialist spirit of the United States was inherited from England after the U.S. broke away from its mother country in 1775. The young country wanted to spread its ways of living across its landscape, creating defined boarders on both sides that separated it from its English predecessors. Thus America’s New Frontier was born. America built up its imperialistic nature throughout the 19th century and on into the 20th century, flexing its muscles and establishing itself as a new world superpower. The modern United States no longer finds land to claim, but instead is involved with a Cultural Imperialism, which has affected how other countries around the world feel about the United States.
Americas need to find a new frontier has long been a part of the American identity. Finding the new was important to a growing country in the early 1800’s. St. Jean de Crèvecoeur described the American as “a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas, and form new opinions” (Crèvecoeur 3). Manifest Destiny, a term popularized by John O’Sullivan, describes the social push by the United States to span its boarders from east coast to west coast. This would indoctrinate people all across the U.S. in the “American Way”, which was held by Americans as the right and just way to live. Fredrick Jackson Turner describes in his essay “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” the way that the frontier takes a modern man and acutely regresses him into a savage, and then as the settlement moves forth, the now-savage man is slowly and steadily progressed back into a modern American; and thus the frontier moves on. Turner writes, “As successive terminal moraines result from successive glaciations, so each frontier leaves its traces behind it, and when it becomes a settled area the region still partakes of the frontier characteristic” (Turner 2). The frontier never leaves an area; it just becomes more modernized to the American identity. The American frontier required progress to survive as an ideal concept, so it spread across United States boarders and across oceans to new territories, bringing the “American Way” with it.
Between 1857 and 1917, the United States gained all but two of its states, and several overseas territories due to the completion of a large navy by Theodore Roosevelt, who had been appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897 by President McKinley. Roosevelt said in his Autobiography, “too many of our politicians, especially Congress, found that the cheap and easy thing to do was to please the foolish people by keeping us weak, and to please the violent people by passing denunciatory resolutions…which would have been improper even if we had been strong” (Roosevelt 1). The U.S. was effectively split on what to do regarding foreign nations. Assistant Secretary Roosevelt believed that the only way to prepare for war was to begin strongly in order to create fear within neighboring peoples; if an overseas...

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