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Battery A in Spanish-American War
Battery A in Spanish-American War

Filipino casualties during the Spanish-American War in 1899.
Filipino casualties during the Spanish-American War in 1899.

primary_sources.PNGThe Monroe Doctrine of 1823 was James Monroe's speech toward U.S. policy toward the Western Hemisphere.
  • The doctrine warns European nations that the United States would not tolerate further colonization or puppet monarchs.
  • The doctrine was conceived to meet major concerns of the moment, but it soon became a watchword of U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere.

See also The Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary

Spanish-American War and acquisition of the Philippines 1898
  • The United States emerged as a world power at the turn of the 20th century.
  • The struggle between the Spanish and Americans for the rights to Cuba and the revolting Pacific islands marked the first strategic commitment to the far East from the United States. It was also the first time that the United states sought land that was not for statehood and committed itself to policing the Caribbean and Central America.
  • In 1898 and 1899, the United States annexed Hawaii and acquired the Philippines, Puerto Rico, parts of the Samoan islands, and other Pacific islands. Expansion raised the fateful question of whether the newly annexed peoples would receive the rights of American citizens.
The sinking and deaths of U.S. sailors aboard the Maine rallied American opinion toward armed intervention.
The sinking and deaths of U.S. sailors aboard the Maine rallied American opinion toward armed intervention.

external image Red_apple.jpgWhy Did the United States Invade Cuba? Resources on the Spanish-American War from George Mason University

primary_sources.PNGThe U.S.S. Maine
  • The loss of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898 was a critical event on the road to the war. Tensions between Spain and the United States continued as did Cuba's constant pressure toward liberation.
  • The battleship appeared to have sunk do to an internal explosion on the ship. After several weeks of inestigating with the little technology that was available, it was concluded that an underwater mine caused the explosion.
  • Despite heroic efforts from the Spanish to save stranded crew members, the American public blamed Spain for the disaster, motivating Mckinley to mobilize troops and prepare for war.

The extension of the Treaty of Nanjing and China's Open Door Policy

  • The Treaty of Wangxia (Wang-hsia) was the first formal treaty signed between the United States and China in 1844.
primary_sources.PNGIn 1899, John Hay wrote a letter to the other foreign trade powers insisting that all countries will receive equal trade rights within China.
  • Foreign governments other than Great Britain were unwilling to support Hay’s “Open Door” policy. A peasant revolt against the heavy-handed foreigners, known as the Boxer Rebellion, swept China’s coast in 1900, prompting each country to consider expanding its sphere. In July of that year, Hay sent another circular, emphasizing the importance of respecting China’s territorial integrity and restating the need for open trade, a policy that guided Sino-American diplomatic relations for the next fifty years.
  • The United States' involvement in China marked one of the first attempts by country to establish trade relations in the Western hemisphere and "opened the door" to America's future as an imperial powerhouse.

Allied troops during WWI. (Attributed to http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatsthatpicture/)
Allied troops during WWI. (Attributed to http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatsthatpicture/)

World War I (1914-1918)

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See United States History II.6 for more on American participation in the war
See also WHII.18 for more on WWI and the lasting effects that it caused

  • The war took a heavy toll on European economies and opened up a new path for the United States to become the leading creditor and the world's greatest industrial power.
  • In general, Americans felt closer ethnic ties to Britain and France than to Germany and Austria. It became apparent in 1917 that British and French soldiers were reaching the point of exhaustion, and resulting American sentiments drew them closer toward joining the war.
  • In 1915, the Lusitania was the first large ship sunk by German submarines that resulted in a loss of 115 American lives. Woodrow Wilson demanded that German submarines give way to American ships and not to sink any ships without fair warning. After this request was violated, Wilson was driven to enter the war on the side of the British.
  • The American home-front became a rallying point for the war. Women and African Americans took new roles in industrial and agricultural jobs that provided foods, weapons, and clothing for the war.
  • For more, see a review of recent books: 'The Greatest Catastrophe the World Has Seen", R.J.W. Evans, New York Review of Books, February 6, 2014.

primary_sources.PNGResources for Teaching about World War I from the Federal Resources for Educational Excellence project. Materials include a lesson plan on the Zimmerman Telegram, interviews with historians, historical photographs, and material on Woodrow Wilson.

English soldiers in trenches with tank in background.
English soldiers in trenches with tank in background.

primary_sources.PNGWoodrow Wilson War Message to Congress, April 2, 1917

podcast icon.pngVoices of the Men at War features podcasts of British soldiers recounting their experiences.

Multimedia.pngAmericans at War: World War I from the Smithsonian features resources for learning about America's role in the war.

external image Red_apple.jpgWorld War I Poetry Analysis and Creation features a student writing activity using the famous poem "In Flanders Fields."

See also, A Fire Waiting to be Lit: The Origins of World War I from the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Woodrow Wilson, World War I and the League of Nations

rotating gif.gifSee Massachusetts History Standard USII.7 for mmaterial on Wilson's postwar diplomacy including the Fourteen Points, the League of Nations and the Versailles Treaty.

Ellen Axson Wilson, First Lady (1913)
Ellen Axson Wilson, First Lady (1913)

Multimedia.pngFor background on Woodrow Wilson and the War, see resources from the PBS film, Woodrow Wilson. This site also includes material on Ellen Axson Wilson, the first lady who advocated for child labor laws, help for the mentally ill, and better working conditions for women. She died in 1914.
Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, First Lady 1915-1921
Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, First Lady 1915-1921

Female_Rose.pngClick here for material on Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, Woodrow Wilson's second wife who assumed many duties during the President's second term after he suffered a stroke in 1920. She has been called America's First Woman President.