The Unfinished Nation: Chapter 20 The Imperial Republic


Chapter 20 Main Themes:


  1. The evolution of the old continental concept of Manifest Destiny to justify a new expansion of America across the seas.


  1. The initial forays of American imperial power into places such as Hawaii and Samoa.


  1. The role of the Spanish-American War in catalyzing these imperialist stirrings into a full-fledged American empire.


  1. The attitudinal, political, and military adjustments forced on the nation in its new role as a major world power.


  1. The American imperial experience in the Philippines and China, and what lessons American leaders took from both.


A thorough study of Chapter 20 should enable the student to understand:


  • The new strand of Manifest Destiny, and its roots in the old Manifest Destiny philosophy.


  • The objectives of American foreign policy at the turn of the century with respect to power in Western Hemisphere.


  • The relationship between American economic and military interests and imperial developments in Hawaii, Samoa, and Puerto Rico.


  • The causes and events leading up to and through the Spanish-American War.


  • The military and political problems encountered in fighting the Spanish and, subsequently, the Filipinos.


  • The motives behind the Open Door notes and the Boxer intervention.


  • The nature of the military reforms carried out following the Spanish-American War.


  • American imperial ambitions in comparison with broader global trends in imperialism at the turn of the century.






The launching of invasions or attacks by private individuals organized as a military force. Anti-Spanish Cubans used the United States as a base for filibustering expeditions against the Spanish government of Cuba.


Monroe Doctrine:  

President James Monroe's declaration in 1823 that the Western Hemisphere was off limits to further European colonization and that the United States would consider any effort by the European powers "to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety." This policy of opposing outside interference in Western Hemisphere affairs has been the enduring cornerstone of United States policy toward Latin America.


Spheres of Influence:

Zones of economic control carved into China by the United States and the imperial powers of Europe