Imperialism is the creation and nurturing of the country’s power and its considerable influence on other countries through coercive force and military intervention. It is seen as a vice not only by historians but also by the general population. It is viewed in the negative light. It is a process of benefiting a remarkably small number of people at the expense of the majority. Native people are exploited to enrich the few imperialists. Imperialism can take different forms. Both regressive imperialism, as in the case of the Nazi Germany, and progressive imperialism, the most common one, are interrogated. Most European countries took part in the imperialism agenda. The United States was not left out and took part in this enterprise (McCartney).
In the late 19th and early 20th century, U.S., Germany, Spain, Italy, Britain, and France were some of the countries who either harbored the spirit of conquest or implemented it. It brought about the spirit of competition amongst the imperialists. The great question to ask would be: was the US a true imperial power at that time or not?
Documented history and facts about the US imperialism paint a picture of resilience and triumph against all odds. Although in the late middle 20th century through the late 20th century, the supremacy has been declining, the case was different in the earlier times. The US imperialism was supreme in comparison to the competitors.
Before the real conquest for newer lands began, US had opted to distance themselves from unnecessary foreign interventions. The US seemed to be contented with the then status quo. During all this time, other imperialists like Spain had continued to adventure outside their borders. The Spanish in Cuba had deteriorated the life and general conditions of the Cubans as claimed by the US. The US picked this as an excuse to launch a fight with Spain. This was done to fulfill the hidden selfish agenda of fighting for dominance in the imperialist arena. The US feared being at equal levels or behind the rest imperial masters in terms of political, social and economic power. The killing of 260 crew men who sunk into the Havana harbor near Maine on the evening of February 15th 1898 prompted the declaration of war on April, 24th. The war was between the two imperial masters: the US and Spain. The war supported by the US congress through a request of President McKinley. He believed that it was their right to expel all the force of the Spain from Cuba (Scriabine).
In addition to a well-organized troop, the US press helped to perpetuate its dominance and superiority as an imperial master. During the war between the Spain and the US, the print media in the US, for example, played a significant role in encouraging and nurturing the spirits of fierce war against the enemies. Some dailies were written in red color agitating for a no-nonsense war against all those undermining their potential. Why had Spain failed to mobilize its citizens in a similar spirited fight? Could this have been one key reason why Spain had surrendered after engaging in the war for only four months? US considered it as a “little war” which facilitated Rico, Philippines and Cuba to come under its control. This was an extremely clear sign that US was an immensely powerful imperialist.
The US taking over the control of the Philippines from the Spanish disillusioned the natives further. It waxed a just a change of guard and not independence. The US felt that it was their sole duty to civilize the islanders. The Philippine only managed to enjoy the light of independence in the mid-20th century. The influence of the US was to remain in the form of neo-imperialism later.
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During all this time, other imperialists just watched as the US exercised the art of conquest. They were left to assume the second positions and not the first one. Although this supremacy started to diminish as time elapsed, it is good to note and appreciate the position of supremacy that US enjoyed in the late 19th century and late 20th century.