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Uncle Sam's War of 1898 and the Origins of Globalization

Thomas D. Schoonover

Publication Year: 2013

WITH A FOREWORD BY WALTER LAFEBERThe roots of American globalization can be found in the War of 1898. Then, as today, the United States actively engaged in globalizing its economic order, itspolitical institutions, and its values. Thomas Schoonover argues that this drive to expand political and cultural reach -- the quest for wealth, missionary fulfillment, security, power, and prestige -- was inherited by the United States from Europe, especially Spain and Great Britain. Uncle Sam's War of 1898 and the Origins of Globalization is a pathbreaking work of history that examines U.S. growth from its early nationhood to its first major military conflict on the world stage, also known as the Spanish-American War. As the new nation's military, industrial, and economic strength developed, the United States created policies designed to protect itself from challenges beyond its borders. According to Schoonover, a surge in U.S. activity in the Gulf-Caribbean and in Central America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was catalyzed by the same avarice and competitiveness that motivated the European adventurers to seek a route to Asia centuries earlier. Addressing the basic chronology and themes of the first century of the nation's expansion, Schoonover locates the origins of the U.S. goal of globalization. U.S. involvement in the War of 1898 reflects many of the fundamental patterns in our national history -- exploration and discovery, labor exploitation, violence, racism, class conflict, and concern for security -- that many believe shaped America's course in the twentieth and twenty-first century.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky


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Uncle Sam's War of 1898 and the Origins of Globalization

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pp. vii-8

List of Illustrations

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pp. viii-9

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pp. ix-xii

In 1904, Halford Mackinder arose to present a paper before the Royal Geographical Society in London. Extraordinarily learned, lengthy, and dry, the paper turned out to be one of those few documents that helped unlock the dynamics of twentieth- and twenty-first-century international relations. ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

In early 1996, Walther Bernecker and Thomas Fischer of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, invited me to address a special conference of the Latin American Section of the Central Institute planned for June 1997. The conference's title, "1898: The Year that Marked an Epoch," set me to analyzing the meaning of the 1890s. ...

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pp. 1-8

Over a decade ago, historian Peter Novick in That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession described one central quandary that confronted me in writing this book. Novick addressed the tension between the general and the specific in doing history. ...

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1. Exploration and New Territories, 1780s–1850s

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pp. 9-17

Throughout the era of exploration, discovery, and colonization of the New World, expeditions searched for water or land routes to Asian wealth. The quest had always had plural objectives: China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands. The chief problems in the Pacific region related to the geographical vastness; ...

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2. The Great Powers in the Caribbean Basin, 1800–1890s

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pp. 18-34

Throughout the colonial period and in the early decades of U.S. independence, North Americans and Europeans had clashed repeatedly in the Caribbean area. The British, Spanish, French, Dutch, Swedes, and Danes had all established Caribbean colonies to support trade, to find gold or a passage to Asia, to acquire cane sugar and other tropical products, and to trade slaves. ...

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3. The Great Powers in East Asia and the Pacific, 1840s–1890s

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pp. 35-52

Early western visitors to Asia embellished the impressive realities with exotic and fantasy images. Adventure, beauty, and wealth lured them into deeper involvement and a search for a fortune. A major role in Asia seemed essential for great power status. The British, German, French, Russian, and U.S. governments expanded aggressively in the Pacific basin between the 1840s and World War I. ...

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4. U.S. Domestic Developments and Social Imperialism, 1850s–1890s

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pp. 53-64

Two developments marked the U.S. political economy during the late nineteenth century. The steady incorporation of the west and the rapid growth of a technologically and industrially based economy shaped modern America. These urban, industrial centers demanded ever more labor, so immigrants (and domestic migrants) helped form an urban society. ...

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5. Three Crises: The 1893 Depression, China, and Cuba

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pp. 65-87

Three overlapping developments shook U.S. society in the 1890s. U.S. leaders pondered the need for military responses to the world economic crisis of 1873-1898 (especially difficult in the United States from 1893 to 1897), to the preliminary division of China (1894-1898), and to the revolts in Spain's Cuban and Philippine colonies. ...

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6. The War of 1898 in the Pacific Basin

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pp. 88-101

From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, European powers did not produce enough to conduct more than modest trade. But in the late nineteenth century, the highly productive, resource-consuming industrialized powers needed industrial and consumable raw materials, labor, markets for overproduction, investment opportunities, ...

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7. The Legacy of the Crises of the 1890s

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pp. 102-122

As the new route from the North Atlantic to Asia was set, many areas vital for the transit were immersed in turmoil. U.S. self-interest fed, then repressed, revolutions in Santo Domingo, Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Hawaii, and the Philippines. Washington officials have steadfastly maintained that these areas "benefited" from U.S. military occupation or protectorate status. ...


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pp. 123-152

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 153-164


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pp. 165-180

E-ISBN-13: 9780813143354
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813122823

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2013

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Subject Headings

  • Spanish-American War, 1898.
  • United States -- Territorial expansion.
  • World politics -- 19th century.
  • Globalization -- Political aspects -- United States.
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