Week 4 Disc. U.S. Expansionism, Women’s Rights and Foreign Policy

Week 4 Disc. U.S. Expansionism, Women’s Rights and Foreign PolicyThe United States prides itself on support of democracy and the protection of human rights. How did the United States reconcile this view with the annexation of foreign territories during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? Support your response with at least two examples. Part B: Think about American foreign policy today. Compare it to the examples you used in Part A. How has foreign policy changed? Support your response with one current foreign policy issue or action.Women have had the right to vote in the United States for not quite 100 years – since 1920. It took suffragists many years to finally achieve a constitutional amendment giving women this right. Why did men resist the idea of women voting for so long? What issues finally helped the movement gain momentum and succeed? Part B: How did giving women the right to vote influence civil rights and politics in the United States? How might politics today be different if women were not involved?Everything discussed in this week can be connected in some way to current events and issues. Think about your life – potential or current career field, daily activities and interests, freedoms and rights etc. Discuss at least two issues or events we studied this week and explain how they have impacted and/or continue to impact your life today.BONUS (up to 3 points).  Why was the U.S. so much slower than Europe to create a massive, modern military after the Civil War? The most important foreign action by the U.S. between the Civil War and WWI was the Spanish-American War.  This conflict established patterns for future American foreign policy. Taking Cuba, American imperialists argued, would establish the U.S. as an imperial power, albeit a minor one.  The U.S. was not yet a superpower.  Five European nations had just finished dividing the African continent in five, separate colonies.  Europe was also colonizing Asia and parts of the Middle East.  A new generation of politicians, best exemplified by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, demanded that the U.S. government start expanding their own empire.Cuba remains central to U.S. foreign policy through today. Why was Cuba so important?Cuba was geographically close to the U.S., a ferry ride less than an hour from Florida.Money.   Cuba had the potential to make American companies unbelievably wealthy.  Cuba had acre after acre of sugar plantations.  Who cares?In 1900, the average American ate less than eight (8) ounces of sugar annually.In 1959, Americans ate over six (6) pounds of sugar, mostly from Cuba. Americans had economically developed and industrialized significantly by 1898.What did Americans want to develop further?Cheap raw materialsForeign markets for American manufactured goodsAfter T. Roosevelt (helped to) create the Panama Canal, T. America’s economic strength exploded internationally. D.  Proving America’s Early Military Power Internationally.America’s military was comparatively weak, even after WWI.  In the late 1930s, for example, the League of Nations ranked the U.S. military as the 19th strongest in the world. (We were rated after Belgium and the Netherlands, for instance).Political Generational Differences.   Younger, post-Civil War politicians like T.R. desperately wanted war.  The older generation of politicians, like Pres. McKinley, remembered the Civil War violence.  War did not seem glamorous them.The younger generation wanted to compete with Europe in colonization and military strength.E.  The First “Sin City”The Italian Mafia invested early in Cuba, creating complicated and wealthy networks of prostitution, gambling, lavish hotels like the Tropicana Hotel, and all kinds of pornography after 1921.  It was the first Vegas.Cuba was not an American colony; therefore, was not under U.S.         “sin” laws.F.  Government claims of foreign terrorism used to justify war.When the U.S.S. Maine exploded in Cuban waters, the U.S. government blamed foreign terrorism and justified military action.  While the explosion was terrifyingly real, terrorism was not the cause.G.   The Yellow PressTHE SPANISH-AMERCAN WAR WAS THE FIRST FOREIGN CONFLICT WHICH WAS FUNDAMENTALLY AND INTENTIONALLY INFLUENCED BY THE MEDIA.  I AM REFERRING SPECIFICALLY TO THE MAIN OWNERS OF THE YELLOW PRESS, WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST AND JOSEPH PULITIZER. Like today, most Americans were dependent on media coverage for knowledge of foreign affairs.  No one knew what was actually happening Cuba.  The yellow press and politicians like T. Roosevelt said the Cubans wanted the U.S. to go to war with the Spanish.  Hearst and Pulitzer spend weeks telling Americans that Cubans were being murdered, attacked and raped by Spaniards.  (We know now that this was far from true)  “Serious” newspapers and moderate politicians argued that most Cubans had no problem with the Spanish government.  No one really knew which politician and media source was telling the truth.

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