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SS.912.A.4.1 U. S. Imperialism

Research and Inquiry Skills

late nineteenth and early twentieth century

global military, political, and economic challenges

the united states and the defense of the international peace

What you need to know...

  • You will need to know the literary works, government policies, social philosophies, geographic factors, and/or economic incentives that motivated American imperialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
  • You will need to know the imperialist and anti-imperialist viewpoints from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
  • You will need to know the role of the media in promoting the Spanish-American War.
  • You will need to know the origin, course, and/or consequences of the Spanish-American War.
  • You will need to know the issues, challenges, and/or problems that were raised in the governing of a United States overseas empire.
  • You will need to know the motivations and/or obstacles faced by the United States in the construction of the Panama Canal.
  • Items assessing the economic, military, and security motivations of the United States may reference the growth of the United States Navy or refer to The Influence of Sea Power upon History by Alfred T. Mahan.
  • You will need to know the impact of key events and peoples in Florida history.

Terms to know include, but are not limited to: big stick, expansionism, imperialism, Open Door policy, Panama Canal, Philippines, Platt Amendment, Roosevelt Corollary, Spanish- American War, Teller Amendment, Treaty of Portsmouth (1905), yellow fever, yellow press.

Example 1

Which factor is most closely associated with the decision of the United States to declare war on Spain in 1898?
a.  isolationist policy
b.  labor union pressure
c.  yellow journalism
d,  unrestricted submarine warfare


Example 2

The United States issued the Open Door policy (1899–1900) primarily to
a. bring democratic government to the Chinese people
b. secure equal trade opportunities in China
c. force China to change its immigration policies
d. use China as a stepping stone to trade with Japan


Example 3

The diagram below provides details about United States involvement in China during the late 1800s and early 1900s.



Which phrase completes the diagram?
A. United States Develops Interest in Chinese Markets
B. United States Makes Commitment to Free Elections
C. United States Plans Establishment of Military Bases
D. United States Supports Democracy in Chinese Communities


Example 4

The political cartoon below depicts William McKinley at the onset of the Spanish-American War. Use your knowledge of U.S. history to choose the statement below that most accurately summarizes the drawing.


A. McKinley looked for any provocation from Spain since he eagerly wanted to go to war so that the U.S. could secure new territories such as Cuba.

B. McKinley wanted to secure new territories, but took cautious steps before proceeding to war with Spain.

C. McKinley cared little for new territories; rather his major concern was furthering the labor union movements within the U.S.

D. Imperialism played only a minor role in U.S. policies during the late 19th century.


Example 5

Use the map and your knowledge of U.S. history to answer the question below.


Which of the following best explains why the building of the Panama Canal supported United States’ efforts to become a world power?

A. It gave the U.S. a colony in Central America

B. It prevented Japan and China from attacking Hawaii.

C. It opened up a new avenue for trade with China.

D. By providing a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, it opened up new trading opportunities.


Example 6

Which of the following was NOT a factor in U.S. imperialism?

A. the desire for increased military strength

B. the desire for new markets overseas

C. competition with Japan for control of China

D. the belief that the U.S. had a duty to spread Christianity and civilization


Example 7


In 1898 the relatively moderate sized town of Tampa Bay, Florida, acquired the title of “on the map”. Which of the following events lead to this once sleepy-little town becoming an area of vast importance?

A. Sight of U.S.S. Maine explosion and cause for declaration of war between the U.S. and Spain

B. Military port for soldiers and supply point for food, ammunition, and medical supplies that were destined for Cuba

C. Base used Cuban revolutionaries to secure shipments of uniforms and ammunition in their fight for independence

D. Port of cultivation for numerous battleships used throughout Spanish-American War


FLDOE Tutorials

Imperialism Graphic


Territories Graphic

courtesy of FL Department of Education


spanish american war.gif

In Your Textbook

book cover

Chapters 9 and 10

Pages 304 - 368

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Roosevelt and the Panama Canal
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Additional Resource Links

Teaching Assessments