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Robert Kennedy's United States History Class

Learning Objective IV


Discuss the contradictory feeling and actions in the United States in regards to the acquisitions of the Philippians and the main results of the Spanish American War


Read Arguments for US IMPERIALISM AND AGAINST (Use this here to offer examples of the "contradictory feeling and actions..."). At least two examples from the "pro-empire" and two from "contra-empire":

Although the war was imperialistic in result, it was not so in motive for many of its supporters. Yellow journalism had created a sense of awareness and humanitarian concern for the Cuban people. This was apparent in the Joint Resolution of April 19, 1898, authorizing the use of American armed forces to liberate Cuba. At this time the famous self-denying Teller Amendment by Senator·Henry M Teller declared: "The United States hereby disclaims any disposition.or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction or control over the said island... and will leave the government and control of the Island to its people." The final component for war. a just and idealistic cause. is now firmly in place.


In The Conflict With Spain. published in 1898 the quick change in attitude by American politicians and businessmen becomes apparent.

"Indeed, the war had not been a week old, when the official expression was common, that the end of the war must see Puerto Rico part of the territory of the Union! Yet in the declaration of war, uttered by Congress, it was expressly stipulated, that unlike greedy and egotistic European powers, we were embarking on war, for the high motive of human rescue; that no ulterior craving for gain incited us to that last barbarous resource, the killing of our fellow man."


Discuss the PRO or Con arguments of Imperialism.