2.14 – An American Empire

Readings

Digital History, “The United States Becomes a World Power” (& read next 4 sections)
Platform of the Anti-Imperialist League (1899)
Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden” (1899)
Senator Ben Tillman, “The White Man’s Burden as Prophecy” (1899)
Senator Albert J. Beveridge, “In Support of an American Empire” (1900)
Colored Citizens of Boston (1899)
American Anti-Imperialist League, “Soldiers’ Letters” pamphlet (1899)

Discussion questions

Why did the debate over imperialism become so important in the United States in the 1890s?

What changes in global politics influenced the debate over imperialism in the United States?

Why did the United States go to war against Spain?

What arguments did imperialists make in favor of annexing the newly conquered territories as American colonies?

What arguments did anti-imperialists make?

How did ideas of race shape the arguments made by both sides in the debate over imperialism?

Optional extra credit essay question:

Was the establishment of an American Empire in 1899 an aberration, or in keeping with the broader traditions of U.S. foreign policy?

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