There were many causes of imperialism, from the noble to the economic to the arrogant. So many and so complex are the reasons that there is no consensus among historians as to why the European powers engaged in a great land grab so that when it was over some of them had vast overseas empires whose size dwarfed that of the home country. In 1898, the United States suddenly took control of large land masses not contiguous with the North American continent. These places were also populated by people of different race and ethnicity and there was no consideration that the native peoples would ever be granted American citizenship. The primary lands that were wrested from Spain in a very one-sided war were the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico. The purpose of this book is to present some explanations as to why the United States declared war on a very second-rate European power and took the large territories. One argument that I reject is that the American acquisition of the Philippines was unexpected and unusual in that the United States had not before then expanded into the Pacific. This is false because the United States was strongly linked to the Hawaiian Island chain by the 1880's and had earlier warned off the European powers. Although this book was published in 1955, most of the papers were published in the 1930's, allowing for over thirty years of historical perspective. However, the looming threat from the three countries that came to be known as the Axis powers are mentioned, perhaps skewing some of the expressed beliefs. One aspect of the American acquisition of the Spanish territories is the rapid change in American public opinion regarding the prospect of a war with Spain.Read more ›
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