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9/30 Blog Post

In Zinn’s chapter “The Empire and the People” he discusses American Imperialism. During this time period American government, action, and policy was still controlled by the wealthy elite white men, “upper circles of military men, politicians, businessmen…” (298). The capitalist basis that America was structured around made the elite men greedy. This is seen in not only American imperialism but also through the monopolies that formed at the time. A quote that stood out to me about American Imperialism was, “ It is the movement which makes for civilization and the advancement of race” (299). This shows that not only was American Imperialism deeply greedy it was also racists. American’s just stole the ideology of other European powers. The ideology that the white race was superior and people of other cultures and religion should assimilate to American culture. Religion played a massive role in this ideology. When deciding whether or not to take the Phillipines President McKinley, “prayed Almighty God for light and guidance … That there was nothing left for us to do but take them all and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them…by God’s grace”(313) This again displays how we used religion and our race as justification for our ideology and wrongdoings.Americans enjoyed the economic benefits of countries like Cuba without the responsibility. I am left with a few questions. What would America look like today if it weren’t for American imperialism/expansion? Do the positives of American imperialism outweigh the negatives at all? Why did religion, specifically, get used over and over again for justification of horrific behavior?

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One Comment

  1. Zariah Chiverton Zariah Chiverton

    If it weren’t for American imperialism, we wouldn’t have much of a country, if anything at all because there wasn’t a piece of land that wasn’t already claimed by another group. Despite this, in the name of expanding America, early imperialistic took lands away anyway. In my personal opinion, the positive of imperialism do not outweigh the negatives, especially regarding American imperialism. Imperialism is already intrusive and harsh but American imperialism is a lot worse because, from the start of our growth, we have taken it to a new unnecessary level of violence. The casualties on both sides are never worth the expansion of a nation that wasn’t wanted in the first place.

    I think religion got used as a way to diminish the violence of America. If you say your actions are in the name of God, it makes it seem a lot better than saying these orders are coming from some random elite white guy.

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