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Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. This should be required reading for all students to understand the basis of US mistaken direction in toward imperialism and global expansion. Teddy Roosevelt's ego took the country into a role which the Founding Fathers never envisioned or sanctioned. Our country would be much safer and secure if we had understood the role of government in protecting our contiguous border.
The words "Manifest destiny" are associated, in the popular mind, with the whole conquering outburst that, in less than a century, managed to expand the area of white English-speaking settlement in what are now the United States of America from a group of thinly settled communities on the East Coast to a continent-wide nation numbering in the hundreds of millions. It associates this conquering outburst with the taint of nationalistic and bellicose arrogance, of chauvinism and brutality; and may therefore be said to taint even further the already inevitably bloody business of conquest and settlement.
At the height of American self-confidence and belief, at the beginning of the sixties, Frederick Merk set out to disprove this popular image; and showed, with a wealth of documentary evidence, that the actual jingoistic "Manifest Destiny" episode was nothing more than a short-lived craze, such as the US are seized with from time to time, peaking, but also falling apart, with the notorious war against Mexico. Merk observes that, while in the light of events the superiority of the USA over Mexico seems obvious, it was by no means so clear to contemporaries: Yet the American army, thanks largely to a stiffening of the officer corps with civilians trained in the numerous American military academies and recalled to arms, proved the more efficient and effectively conquered Mexico.
At that point, the vociferous "Manifest destiny" lobby, which had supported President Polk's cold and deliberate move towards war, was faced, not with the opportunity to spout about unifying in some remote future visible only to rhetoricians and fools a whole continent, but with the real choice: Faced with this choice, the Manifest Destiny lobby fell silent; and that, argues Merk, was by and at large the end of it. Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Omaha, Nebraska, and many communities like them—hamlets when the Civil War began—increased 50 times or more in population.
Railroads were especially important to the expanding nation, and their practices were often criticized. Rail lines extended cheaper freight rates to large shippers by rebating a portion of the charge, thus disadvantaging small shippers. Freight rates also frequently were not proportionate to distance traveled; competition usually held down charges between cities with several rail connections.
Rates tended to be high between points served by only one line. Thus it cost less to ship goods 1, kilometers from Chicago to New York than to places a few hundred kilometers from Chicago. Popular resentment at these practices stimulated state efforts at regulation, but the problem was national in character. Shippers demanded congressional action. In President Grover Cleveland signed the Interstate Commerce Act, which forbade excessive charges, pools, rebates, and rate discrimination.
President Cleveland also opposed the protective tariff on foreign goods, which had come to be accepted as permanent national policy under the Republican presidents who dominated the politics of the era. Cleveland, a conservative Democrat, regarded tariff protection as an unwarranted subsidy to big business, giving the trusts pricing power to the disadvantage of ordinary Americans. Cleveland, narrowly elected in , was unsuccessful in achieving tariff reform during his first term. He made the issue the keynote of his campaign for reelection, but Republican candidate Benjamin Harrison, a defender of protectionism, won in a close race.
In , the Harrison administration, fulfilling its campaign promises, achieved passage of the McKinley tariff, which increased the already high rates. During this period, public antipathy toward the trusts increased. The Sherman Antitrust Act, passed in , forbade all combinations in restraint of interstate trade and provided several methods of enforcement with severe penalties. Couched in vague generalities, the law accomplished little immediately after its passage. But a decade later, President Theodore Roosevelt would use it vigorously.
The revolution in agriculture—paralleling that in manufacturing after the Civil War—involved a shift from hand labor to machine farming, and from subsistence to commercial agriculture. Between and , the number of farms in the United States tripled, increasing from two million to six million, while the area farmed more than doubled from million to million hectares. Between and , the production of such basic commodities as wheat, corn, and cotton outstripped all previous figures in the United States.
But the American farmer grew enough grain and cotton, raised enough beef and pork, and clipped enough wool not only to supply American workers and their families but also to create ever-increasing surpluses. Several factors accounted for this extraordinary achievement. One was the expansion into the West. Another was a technological revolution.
The farmer of , using a hand sickle, could hope to cut a fifth of a hectare of wheat a day. With the cradle, 30 years later, he might cut four-fifths. In Cyrus McCormick performed a miracle by cutting from two to two-and-a-half hectares a day with the reaper, a machine he had been developing for nearly 10 years. He headed west to the young prairie town of Chicago, where he set up a factory—and by sold a quarter of a million reapers. Other farm machines were developed in rapid succession: Mechanical planters, cutters, huskers, and shellers appeared, as did cream separators, manure spreaders, potato planters, hay driers, poultry incubators, and a hundred other inventions.
Scarcely less important than machinery in the agricultural revolution was science. In the Morrill Land Grant College Act allotted public land to each state for the establishment of agricultural and industrial colleges. These were to serve both as educational institutions and as centers for research in scientific farming.
Congress subsequently appropriated funds for the creation of agricultural experiment stations throughout the country and granted funds directly to the Department of Agriculture for research purposes. By the beginning of the new century, scientists throughout the United States were at work on a wide variety of agricultural projects. There he found and exported to his homeland the rust- and drought-resistant winter wheat that now accounts for more than half the U.
Another scientist, Marion Dorset, conquered the dreaded hog cholera, while still another, George Mohler, helped prevent hoof-and-mouth disease. Luther Burbank in California produced scores of new fruits and vegetables; in Wisconsin, Stephen Babcock devised a test for determining the butterfat content of milk; at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, the African-American scientist George Washington Carver found hundreds of new uses for the peanut, sweet potato, and soybean.
In varying degrees, the explosion in agricultural science and technology affected farmers all over the world, raising yields, squeezing out small producers, and driving migration to industrial cities. Railroads and steamships, moreover, began to pull regional markets into one large world market with prices instantly communicated by trans-Atlantic cable as well as ground wires. Good news for urban consumers, falling agricultural prices threatened the livelihood of many American farmers and touched off a wave of agrarian discontent.
Manifest Destiny and American Territorial Expansion
After Reconstruction, Southern leaders pushed hard to attract industry. States offered large inducements and cheap labor to investors to develop the steel, lumber, tobacco, and textile industries. Moreover, the price of this drive for industrialization was high: Disease and child labor proliferated in Southern mill towns.
Thirty years after the Civil War, the South was still poor, overwhelmingly agrarian, and economically dependent. Moreover, its race relations reflected not just the legacy of slavery, but what was emerging as the central theme of its history—a determination to enforce white supremacy at any cost. Intransigent white Southerners found ways to assert state control to maintain white dominance. Several Supreme Court decisions also bolstered their efforts by upholding traditional Southern views of the appropriate balance between national and state power. In the Supreme Court found that the 14th Amendment citizenship rights not to be abridged conferred no new privileges or immunities to protect African Americans from state power.
In , furthermore, it ruled that the 14th Amendment did not prevent individuals, as opposed to states, from practicing discrimination. And in Plessy v. Soon the principle of segregation by race extended into every area of Southern life, from railroads to restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and schools. Moreover, any area of life that was not segregated by law was segregated by custom and practice.
Further curtailment of the right to vote followed. Faced with pervasive discrimination, many African Americans followed Booker T. Washington, who counseled them to focus on modest economic goals and to accept temporary social discrimination. Others, led by the African-American intellectual W.
Du Bois, wanted to challenge segregation through political action. But with both major parties uninterested in the issue and scientific theory of the time generally accepting black inferiority, demands for racial justice attracted little support. In the frontier line generally followed the western limits of the states bordering the Mississippi River, but bulged outward beyond the eastern sections of Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska.
Then, running north and south for nearly 1, kilometers, loomed huge mountain ranges, many rich in silver, gold, and other metals. To their west, plains and deserts stretched to the wooded coastal ranges and the Pacific Ocean.
Apart from the settled districts in California and scattered outposts, the vast inland region was populated by Native Americans: A mere quarter-century later, virtually all this country had been carved into states and territories. Miners had ranged over the whole of the mountain country, tunneling into the earth, establishing little communities in Nevada, Montana, and Colorado. Cattle ranchers, taking advantage of the enormous grasslands, had laid claim to the huge expanse stretching from Texas to the upper Missouri River. Sheep herders had found their way to the valleys and mountain slopes.
Farmers sank their plows into the plains and closed the gap between the East and West. By the frontier line had disappeared. Settlement was spurred by the Homestead Act of , which granted free farms of 64 hectares to citizens who would occupy and improve the land. In Congress also voted a charter to the Union Pacific Railroad, which pushed westward from Council Bluffs, Iowa, using mostly the labor of ex-soldiers and Irish immigrants.
At the same time, the Central Pacific Railroad began to build eastward from Sacramento, California, relying heavily on Chinese immigrant labor. The whole country was stirred as the two lines steadily approached each other, finally meeting on May 10, , at Promontory Point in Utah. The months of laborious travel hitherto separating the two oceans was now cut to about six days.
The continental rail network grew steadily; by four great lines linked the central Mississippi Valley area with the Pacific.
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The first great rush of population to the Far West was drawn to the mountainous regions, where gold was found in California in , in Colorado and Nevada 10 years later, in Montana and Wyoming in the s, and in the Black Hills of the Dakota country in the s. Miners opened up the country, established communities, and laid the foundations for more permanent settlements.
Eventually, however, though a few communities continued to be devoted almost exclusively to mining, the real wealth of Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and California proved to be in the grass and soil. Cattle-raising, long an important industry in Texas, flourished after the Civil War, when enterprising men began to drive their Texas longhorn cattle north across the open public land. Feeding as they went, the cattle arrived at railway shipping points in Kansas, larger and fatter than when they started.
The annual cattle drive became a regular event; for hundreds of kilometers, trails were dotted with herds moving northward. Next, immense cattle ranches appeared in Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakota territory. Western cities flourished as centers for the slaughter and dressing of meat. The cattle boom peaked in the mids.
By then, not far behind the rancher creaked the covered wagons of the farmers bringing their families, their draft horses, cows, and pigs. Under the Homestead Act they staked their claims and fenced them with a new invention, barbed wire. Ranchers were ousted from lands they had roamed without legal title. Ranching and the cattle drives gave American mythology its last icon of frontier culture—the cowboy.
The reality of cowboy life was one of grueling hardship. As depicted by writers like Zane Grey and such movie actors as John Wayne, the cowboy was a powerful mythological figure, a bold, virtuous man of action. Not until the late 20th century did a reaction set in. As in the East, expansion into the plains and mountains by miners, ranchers, and settlers led to increasing conflicts with the Native Americans of the West. But the Sioux of the Northern Plains and the Apache of the Southwest provided the most significant opposition to frontier advance.
Led by such resourceful leaders as Red Cloud and Crazy Horse, the Sioux were particularly skilled at high-speed mounted warfare. The Apaches were equally adept and highly elusive, fighting in their environs of desert and canyons. Conflicts with the Plains Indians worsened after an incident where the Dakota part of the Sioux nation , declaring war against the U.
Rebellions and attacks continued through the Civil War. In the last serious Sioux war erupted, when the Dakota gold rush penetrated the Black Hills. The Army was supposed to keep miners off Sioux hunting grounds, but did little to protect the Sioux lands. When ordered to take action against bands of Sioux hunting on the range according to their treaty rights, however, it moved quickly and vigorously.
In , after several indecisive encounters, Colonel George Custer, leading a small detachment of cavalry encountered a vastly superior force of Sioux and their allies on the Little Bighorn River. Custer and his men were completely annihilated. Nonetheless the Native-American insurgency was soon suppressed. Later, in , a ghost dance ritual on the Northern Sioux reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, led to an uprising and a last, tragic encounter that ended in the death of nearly Sioux men, women, and children.
The Apache wars in the Southwest dragged on until Geronimo, the last important chief, was captured in Government policy ever since the Monroe administration had been to move the Native Americans beyond the reach of the white frontier. But inevitably the reservations had become smaller and more crowded. Most reformers believed the Native American should be assimilated into the dominant culture.
The federal government even set up a school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in an attempt to impose white values and beliefs on Native-American youths. It was at this school that Jim Thorpe, often considered the best athlete the United States has produced, gained fame in the early 20th century. Native-American policy, permitting the president to divide up tribal land and parcel out 65 hectares of land to each head of a family. Such allotments were to be held in trust by the government for 25 years, after which time the owner won full title and citizenship. Lands not thus distributed, however, were offered for sale to settlers.
This policy, however well-intentioned, proved disastrous, since it allowed more plundering of Native-American lands. Moreover, its assault on the communal organization of tribes caused further disruption of traditional culture. The last decades of the 19th century were a period of imperial expansion for the United States. The American story took a different course from that of its European rivals, however, because of the U.
The sources of American expansionism in the late 19th century were varied. Internationally, the period was one of imperialist frenzy, as European powers raced to carve up Africa and competed, along with Japan, for influence and trade in Asia.
Outline of U.S. History/Growth and Transformation
Many Americans, including influential figures such as Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and Elihu Root, felt that to safeguard its own interests, the United States had to stake out spheres of economic influence as well. That view was seconded by a powerful naval lobby, which called for an expanded fleet and network of overseas ports as essential to the economic and political security of the nation. At the same time, voices of anti-imperialism from diverse coalitions of Northern Democrats and reform-minded Republicans remained loud and constant.
As a result, the acquisition of a U. Colonial-minded administrations were often more concerned with trade and economic issues than political control.
When Alaska became the 49th state in , it replaced Texas as geographically the largest state in the Union. The Spanish-American War, fought in , marked a turning point in U. It left the United States exercising control or influence over islands in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific.
The outbreak of war had three principal sources: Most Americans were sympathetic with the Cubans, but President Cleveland was determined to preserve neutrality. Three years later, however, during the administration of William McKinley, the U. More than men were killed. The Maine was probably destroyed by an accidental internal explosion, but most Americans believed the Spanish were responsible.
Indignation, intensified by sensationalized press coverage, swept across the country. McKinley tried to preserve the peace, but within a few months, believing delay futile, he recommended armed intervention. The war with Spain was swift and decisive. During the four months it lasted, not a single American reverse of any importance occurred. A week after the declaration of war, Commodore George Dewey, commander of the six-warship Asiatic Squadron then at Hong Kong, steamed to the Philippines.
Catching the entire Spanish fleet at anchor in Manila Bay, he destroyed it without losing an American life. Meanwhile, in Cuba, troops landed near Santiago, where, after winning a rapid series of engagements, they fired on the port. Four armored Spanish cruisers steamed out of Santiago Bay to engage the American navy and were reduced to ruined hulks.
From Boston to San Francisco, whistles blew and flags waved when word came that Santiago had fallen. Spain soon sued for an end to the war. In fact, the United States found itself in a colonial role. It maintained formal administrative control in Puerto Rico and Guam, gave Cuba only nominal independence, and harshly suppressed an armed independence movement in the Philippines. The Philippines gained the right to elect both houses of its legislature in In a largely autonomous Philippine Commonwealth was established. In , after World War II, the islands finally attained full independence.
The year of the Spanish-American War also saw the beginning of a new relationship with the Hawaiian Islands.
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Earlier contact with Hawaii had been mainly through missionaries and traders. When the government of Queen Liliuokalani announced its intention to end foreign influence in , American businessmen joined with influential Hawaiians to depose her. Backed by the American ambassador to Hawaii and U. President Cleveland, just beginning his second term, rejected annexation, leaving Hawaii nominally independent until the Spanish-American War, when, with the backing of President McKinley, Congress ratified an annexation treaty.
In Hawaii would become the 50th state. To some extent, in Hawaii especially, economic interests had a role in American expansion, but to influential policy makers such as Roosevelt, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and Secretary of State John Hay, and to influential strategists such as Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, the main impetus was geostrategic.
For these people, the major dividend of acquiring Hawaii was Pearl Harbor, which would become the major U.