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Modern America - Essay Example

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Until the nineteenth century, America had been an isolated, agricultural society with no involvement in foreign affairs whatsoever. The beginning of the twentieth century however was a revolutionary period in American history because it was the first step towards imperialisation and modernity lead by urbanization, industrialization and involvement in world economy and politics…
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Download file to see previous pages A widespread process of imperial expansion into Africa and Asia resulted, often with brutal consequences for the indigenous population due to Christian missionaries who wre dispatched to convert the native peoples. Americans became increasingly aware of world markets as developments in transportation and communication quickened the pace of commerce and diplomacy. The automobile and airplane helped shrink distance, and communications innovations such as radio and film contributed to a national consciousness. Throughout most of the nineteenth century, policy makers had sought to isolate America from the intrigues and conflicts of the great European powers but now America was coming out of it's isolationist shell by expanding commercial interests around the world along with the horizons of their concerns. The abundance of industries and cities invited a host of immigrants from all corners of the globe. urban-industrial development also brought along a list of hazards like corporate monopolies, child labor, political corruption, hazardous work ing conditions, urban ghettos that were finally addressed in a comprehensive way by the local, state, and federal governments who sought to rein in the excesses of industrial capitalism and develop a more rational and efficient public policy. A conservative Republican resurgence challenged the notion of the regulatory state during the 1920s when free enterprise and corporate capitalism witnessed a dramatic revival. But the stock market crash of 1929 helped propel the United States and many other nations into the worst economic downturn in history. The unprecedented severity of the Great Depression renewed public demands for federal government programs to protect the general welfare but employment restoration on a whole took place only after World War II.
Captain Mahan argued that national greatness and prosperity flowed from maritime power and that modern economic development called for a powerful navy, a strong merchant marine, a leading advocate of sea power and Western imperialism, foreign commerce, colonies, and naval bases. Mahan, a self-described "imperialist," championed America's "destiny" to control the Caribbean, build an isthmian canal to connect the Pacific and Caribbean, and spread Western civilization in the Pacific. Eager for American manufacturers to exploit Asian markets, William H. Seward Seward believed the United States first had to remove all foreign interests from the northern Pacific coast and gain access to that region's valuable ports. To that end, he cast covetous eyes on the British crown colony of British Columbia, sandwiched between Russian America (Alaska) and Washington Territory.
In 1891, Queen Liliuokalani, ascended the throne, she tried to reclaim a measure of power and to eliminate white control of the Hawaiian government. Hawaii's white population then revolted against the Queen and seized power. The American minister brought in marines to support the coup and within a month, a committee of the new government turned up in Washington with a treaty of annexation. The Hawaiians opposed the annexation but when the Japanese sent warships to take over the islands, McKinley responded by sending American warships and asked the Senate to approve a treaty to annex Hawaii. When the Senate could not muster the two-thirds majority needed ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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