Essay 2: American Imperialism
Due February 5
15% of final grade
Module 2 showcases American imperialism at the turn of the century. American intervention in the developing world attracted both supporters and detractors. Many Americans favored overseas expansion for the purpose of exporting American culture and maximizing business opportunities. Other Americans, especially those in the American Anti-Imperialist League, fought against what they considered were the imperial endeavors of a business and political elite. Historians have since written extensively in an effort to account for the rise in imperial efforts. Finally, the tensions in the debate over America’s role in world affairs were captured by popular cartoonists of the period.
For this essay, students will write a thesis-driven essay that addresses the following questions:
Why did Americans engage in imperialism (1890-1914)?
What pushed Americans to drop traditional isolationism and engage a more interventionist, imperialist foreign policy?
Students will also incorporate a discussion of 1 political cartoon that helps demonstrate/illustrate their answer to the above questions.
So, there are two related tasks that students will complete. It’s important for students to follow the organizational instructions carefully.
First, students will need to become familiar with the module readings. The Kruger and Jacobson articles (found in the module) will help students identify some of the motivations that historians have attributed to turn-of-the-century imperialism. The Kruger article discusses the broader interpretations that historians have assigned to better understand why Western nations engaged in imperialist endeavors—the economic, social, political, cultural, etc. Students will select one of the interpretations—economic, social, political, cultural, etc—to account for American imperialism in places like Cuba, China, Hawaii, the Philippines, etc. The Beveridge reading is a primary source that discusses how contemporaries understood American imperialism. Also, the Aguinaldo article offers a critical contemporary review of American intentions in the Philippines.
The essay must begin with a formal introduction that presents a thesis statement. In this case, the thesis will answer what you consider was the primary factor that motivated American imperialism. The thesis statement can be one or two sentences. It must make absolutely clear what the argument of the essay is. The argument is essentially your answer to the above questions. Then, the introduction will also identify the cartoon and discuss in a sentence or two how the image demonstrates your argument (what was the motivating factor behind American imperialism).
After the introduction, in the first 2-4 body paragraphs, students will pick one of the historical interpretations to explain their response the following questions:
Why did Americans engage in imperialism (1890-1914)?
What pushed Americans to drop traditional isolationism and engage a more interventionist, imperialist foreign policy?
The research on the topic has already been done, so just rely on the historians in the Kruger article to help formulate your argument. But remember, to prove your argument you will need to draw on actual historical information. The argument should be at the very center of the discussion in the body paragraphs, accompanied by relevant examples/evidence to prove your argument. You must have evidence to prove your argument. The essay should not be a series of claims or a general discussion of the history of imperialism. You must convince the reader (me) that the factor identified and illustrated with evidence offers the most accurate explanation for why Americans engaged in imperialism.
So, for instance, “as demonstrated in Hobson’s works, imperialism was motivated by economic factors. We see this in American imperialism in historical example 1, 2, and 3.” Then you need to explain historical example 1, 2 and 3, and how exactly they match with the economic explanation.
Next, students have identified an argument and proved the argument with references to actual, factual historical evidence. The last half of the essay (2-3 paragraphs) will identify a cartoon that comports with your thesis. In other words, once you have discussed the factor that led to American imperialism (the argument in the first part of the essay), then discuss the contents/message of a cartoon that helps illustrate why your interpretation is in fact valid. You must select 1 cartoon from the on-line sources listed below. The cartoon must have an obvious connection to your argument that explains the reasoning/justification/interpretation of why Americans engaged in imperialism . The analysis/discussion of the cartoon, in relation to the earlier thesis, fills the remaining 2-3 paragraphs. So, for instance, if you argued in the first part of the essay that American imperialism was motivated by factor X, then the cartoon you select needs to show factor X, and then you explain the details of the cartoon and how they relate to factor X.
The cartoon must align, in a very obvious way, with the argument presented in the first part of the essay.
The cartoon must come from the period 1890-1914.
You should consider the following topics in the second part of your essay:
-How does the cartoon validate/justify/illustrate why your interpretation of American imperialism is historically accurate?
-place the cartoon in the proper historical context. That is, discuss what events are going on in American foreign policy that prompted the cartoonists to complete their work. Background information should not dominate your essay, but you should show that you are informed with the historical events that led to the cartoon.
-identify and explain the perspective(s) of the cartoonist. Is the cartoonist drawing a cartoon in favor of or against imperialism? What is the message the cartoonist is attempting to convey?
-who was the artist?
-where was the cartoon published?
-why was the cartoon drawn?
Use the following resources to identify your cartoon
The essay will be 3-4 pages long (approximately 1200 words.
12 point times new roman font.
In-text parenthetical citations. For example: (Foner, 3), or (Johnson, 25).
The essay needs to reference/cite at least 3 sources from the list of required resources (readings/videos). If the essay does not reference at least 3 sources, the grade will be penalized. The reference to the cartoon does not count toward the 3 source minimum.
All essays need to be submitted to turn-it-in, through canvas. I will not grade the essay if it’s not submitted to turn-it-in.
Proofread the essay. If I can’t understand the writing, the grade will be penalized.
The rubric is posted on the course portal.
Every essay needs a formal works cited page. Remember to cite each individual source. MLA format for works cited page.
There is no need to consult outside sources. All of the information needed to complete this essay is found in the module. Students must reference the Johnson text.
Structure of Essay
-Every essay should have a formal introduction (paragraph 1). The purpose of the introduction for this essay is to identify the thesis about the motivations behind American imperialism and a couple of sentences on the cartoon, as well as to set up a little of the historical context.
-After the introduction, the essay should spend 2-4 paragraphs discussing the argument (the first task). Identify the factor that you think was the leading cause of American imperialism and then explain why. You must reference actual historical evidence to prove your argument. Specific pieces of historical information that validate your argument as to what led Americans to engage in imperialism must be incorporated in your writing. Without evidence you have no argument.
-When addressing the second task, students must clearly identify the cartoon and then discuss why the cartoon helps illustrate your argument about the motivations that contributed to American imperialism. Use the cartoon as a piece of evidence to drive home your point. This task should be completed in the final 2-3 body paragraphs.
-Each essay should contain a short, formal conclusion (final paragraph) that restates the central themes discussed in the body paragraphs, offers broader conclusions about American history, or even tries to connect the paper to contemporary events.
If the essay fails to meet the above requirements the grade will be penalized.
Remember, your essay needs to write about events that took place between 1890-1914.
Do not include information about American foreign policy before or after this period.
You will not be given credit for information that takes the discussion outside of this period.
Due: February 5, 11:59 pm
After completing these tasks and objectives, students will be able to:
· Course Objective 1 (CO1). Assess key events, central themes, and questions pertaining to recent United States history.
· Gain experience reading and analyzing written arguments by engaging with a variety of types of sources.
· Learn and apply the techniques of writing an argumentative, thesis-driven and evidence-based paper
· Students will construct an evidence-based argument demonstrating how local, regional, national, and global events shaped the interactions of two or more groups in the United States. (Global Awareness)
· Students will construct an evidence-based argument that integrates multiple perspectives on an issue in Modern US History. (Global Perspective)
· Students will consider different perspectives on a problem or controversy related to Modern US History and attempt to reach a resolution about it. (Global Engagement)
The United States engaged in imperialism around the time of the Spanish-American War, which began in 1898. The reasons for this are numerous, but one motivation was that Americans thought they had an obligation to spread “civilization” to other countries. They believed they were superior to other nations and could only benefit from conquering foreign lands.
The events that led to American imperialism were all military conflicts. These included:
The Monroe Doctrine, which declared that the United States would not allow European powers to colonize in Latin America, was one of the main causes of American imperialism. The U.S. had been expanding its territory since it was first founded by settlers from England and Scotland in 1776, but this expansion did not stop with the 1803 Louisiana Purchase from France or 1819 purchase from Spain; it continued through wars with Native Americans and other nations such as Mexico (1846-48).
After becoming president on March 4th 1829 at age 36, Andrew Jackson focused on foreign affairs rather than domestic issues like Reconstruction after Civil War ended slavery or economic inequality during depression era when he served two terms (1829-1837). He believed that if Americans didn’t take care of their own business then no one else would do it either because they couldn’t trust each other anymore after previous war; so he decided they needed protection against any threat coming from outside sources–namely European powers like Britain who wanted nothing more than land here at home so they could trade there instead!
The United States was ready for expansionism. Many Americans felt that it was their duty to spread “civilization” to the “backwards” peoples of the world. The United States had a strong belief in Manifest Destiny and saw itself as superior to other countries, especially Europe.
In the late 19th century, there was a strong belief among many Americans that their superiority meant they had a “manifest destiny” to take over lands from weaker countries. This belief was based on the idea of Christian faith, which says that God created Earth for all people and that it is his will for all human beings to live together as brothers under one God. According to this view, Europeans were better than other races because they were more closely related to God; therefore they should rule over them (or at least try).
In addition, many Americans felt that liberal political systems like democracy were necessary for progress because they prevented despots from ruling over people’s lives. Liberalism also represented an idealistic way forward for society—it promoted equality between genders and races/ethnicities in addition to economic independence from rulers who could oppress citizens’ rights or exploit natural resources like gold mines or oil fields owned by foreign companies operating outside U.S territory during its expansion period between 1890-1914 when formal annexation policies began being implemented across Latin America including Mexico where American settlers had already established themselves before 1910 due largely due pressure exerted upon Mexican officials who refused entry permits allowing foreigners onto Mexican soil after WWII ended with Germany losing territory including Alsace Lorraine back into France which happened after WWI ended; however no large scale movement occurred until after WWII when most European powers agreed upon forming what became known as “The United Nations Organization”.
The U.S., like other countries, wanted to expand its territory and control the world’s markets. The U.S. also wanted to be a global power and have more influence in the world.
The three main reasons why Americans engaged in imperialism are:
The United States was ready for expansionism. Many Americans felt that it was their duty to spread “civilization” to the “backwards” peoples of the world. The country wanted new land and resources and therefore invaded a number of countries, including Cuba in 1898, Puerto Rico in 1898 and Hawaii in 1893. This led some people to think that they were an imperial power that should be feared by other nations around them
Calvo essay rubric (1) (12)
|Calvo essay rubric (1) (12)|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOverall Impression||
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeArgument||
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeEvidence||
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSources||
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeCitations||
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganization||
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeClarity and Style||
|Total Points: 100|
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