The Crucible of Empire Description

TheCrucible of Empire&nbspDescription

Inits development history, America has perfected its expansionistpolicies. However, such expansion has been confined to North Americancontinent countries. Some philosophies of the decree of 1786, 1787,and 1789, as well as Manifest Destiny and Monroe Doctrine, spurredthe process of acquiring the new territories. At the beginning of the19th century, many countries like the US had an immense urge toexpand outside the North American continent due to various reasons.One of the causes of the US expansion was having the mentality ofbeing racially superior to other nations. It also wanted to expandits territories to fulfill the favorable balance of trade as well asaiming at exporting more than what it imported. America was lookingthe fresh lands, such as islands, to conquer and expand its foreigntrade. The US wanted to spread Christianity to the rest parts of theworld and use that opportunity to annex some property. The paper isgoing to focus on the US conquest of the Philippines and scrutinizewhether it acted as an imperial power in this country or not. It isalso going to discuss how some events unfold in the late 19thand early 20thcenturies.

Definitionof Imperialism

Imperialismis the situation whereby a powerful group extends its power with anaim of increasing its wealth by bringing many parts of the worldunder its domination (Dolan89).In spite the fact that the term comes from the Roman times,imperialism has existed for an extended period in most Europeancountries, such as Spain, France, and German. In fact, muchwell-known antique civilization comprised of imperialist power,deploying the armed forces to the foreign region to conquer newterritories. Hierarchical organization is the direct consequence ofimperialism. Corruption and lusting after wealth are some of thefactors that lead to a thirst for more dominance. Because of this,once a given group acquires some power in their realm in thehierarchical society, it starts looking outwards and seeks to expandits influence through imperialism. Such story happened in the 19thcentury, when the US conquered many nations including thePhilippines. In 1895, in the fatal struggle to free Cuba from thetyranny of the Spanish colonization, the Philippines were seized bythe US. Such incident raised many questions about what the US shoulddo with the Philippines. Later, the disagreement proceeded among theUS citizens and in the political platforms. In the mid-nineteenthcentury, the urge to expand to the outside of the continent emergedin the US. When expanding its territories to the Philippines, the USfollowed a policy that was stark and different from the other formsof expansionism that were initially used. Despite much disagreement,The US decided to follow the example of the imperialist countries inEurope to conquer the Philippines (Flint77).

Expansionof the US

TheUS’s expansion turning point happened when it first looked to Cuba.In this era of westward expansion, Young America, a politicalmovement whose most members were southerners, took Manifest Destinyto the next level by looking to Atlantic and southwards, especiallyCuba. Such movement wanted to conquer Cuba due to its highproductivity of tobacco and sugar. During this time, PresidentFranklin practiced expansionist-guiding principles. Franklin saw Cubaas the nation with slaveholding Spanish tenure that would be ifannexed, a slave country. He thought that this kind of slavery inCuba would proclaim independence from Spain. After Cuba’sindependence, Franklin would beseech it to join the Union. In 1854,he sent John Quitman to go and support the revolution (McCoyand Francisco 78).As this was happening, the President mentioned the war against Spainover its hijack of the American ship. Fearing the addition of moreslaves in Cuba, the northern Democrats advised him to back down. Suchaction shows that at this time, foreign expansion was limited bypolitical affairs. Despite the senate’s plea to the president tostop declaring war against Spain, Franklin remained determined toacquire Cuba. For this reason, the US Secretary of State, WilliamMarcy, told Pierre Soule, Spain minister from the US to detach Cubafrom the dominion of the Spanish by purchasing it. Soule gave$140,000 to Spain for the liberation of Cuba. However, Spain regardedthis action as an insult and declined it. Responding to this, Soulewrote the Ostend Manifesto where he said that the inheritance of Cubaby Spain was a threat to the security in the US, and it can bejustified if the US took Cuba by force. The most fertile event thatled America to war was the sinking of the US Battleship Maine. Inthat incident that happened in 1898, more than 260 sailors perishedand the US forfeited a property worth $170,000. Although theinvestigations did not prove the cause of such explosion, Americaputs blame on Spain. President Mckinley did not want any militaryintervention. Nevertheless, he gave Spain an ultimatum where heforced it to grant Cuba its independence, but it refused. The USpresident declared war on April 23, 1898 (Hendley101).

Spain-AmericaWar and Philippines Imperialism

PresidentMckinley had no plan to deal with the Spaniard in the Philippines.Dewey, who was preparing for an attack against the Spanish, decidedto travel to the Philippines alongside Major General Wesley. Becausetheir principal objective was to rout the Spaniards, they requestedfor support of the Emilio Aguinaldo, the Filipino rebel leader. WhenAguinaldo told Captain Edward Wood about the intentions of the US,Wood said that the US was rich and needed no colonies. He also toldAguinaldo that Dewey should put his requesting in writing. Aguinaldoaccepted to help the US if Dewey agreed to provide a writtenstatement and give him a formal request. However, Spencer Pratt, theUS-Philippines Council told Dewey that Aguinaldo was willing tosupport the US. When Aguinaldo asked for the written pledge, Prattsaid that Dewey promised him that the US was ready to recognizePhilippines’s independence under the US marine territory. Prattalso told Aguinaldo that the US Navy officer’s word and Americanconsul could be a pledge. By May 1898, to stop him from making morepromises to the Philippines, the US Department, an action thatdissociated Dewey and Aguinaldo, promoted Dewey. Dewey had theprimary objective of capturing Manila, and he believed that he wouldachieve it with the help of Philippines’ insurgents. At the end ofJuly, the number of the US soldiers was equal to the number of theFilipino rebels and the relationship between the two parties soondiminished. When the war ended, Spain was defeated and allowed the USto occupy Manila until the formation of a treaty. In the Paris Treatyin 1899, the US paid Spain $25 million for the Philippines. For thetreaty to pass, it needed two-thirds of the senatorial votes where itpassed by only one vote. For this reason, the US was unsure how tocontinue with the Philippines (Anne67).

Afterthe Spain-America War, the US was still not sure of how to move onwith Philippine. However, President Mckinley started contemplatingabout imperialism. The US victory in Manila Bay increased itsarrogance in the mid-nineteenth century. It was like the rite ofpassage for the US where it was ranked among the most powerfulcountries in the world. What started as a feeble bid to free theCuban territories that were occupied by the Spanish throughimperialism helped the US to take the Philippines. Later, suchimperialism crushed the movement of Philippines independence. It wasthe US’s first time to allow its soldiers to fight across the oceanand the first time the US took the foreign land outside the continentthrough imperialism. President Mckinley was amused with this conqueras it allowed him to affect the foreign policy decision. The US brokeinto the Philippines, which established its presence in the Far East.Thus, such imperialism expanded the US overseas markets, and theAmerican businesspersons benefited from the Philippines-Asian trade.Such imperialism continued until 1946 when it granted the Philippinesfull independence. The Philippines has been commemorating the twonational centennials the first one occurred in August 1996 and thesecond one occurred June 1998. There has been a considerablecontroversy on this national centennial because there seem to beinappropriate dates that reveal both historical relationships betweenthe Philippines and the US, and the history-making process (Graves90).


Imperialismis the situation whereby a powerful group extends its power with anaim of increasing its wealth by bringing many parts of the worldunder its domination. It was mostly practiced by the Europeancountries, but it was later adopted by the US. The essay has focusedon how the US came into the Spanish colonial regime in Cuba. It alsodiscussed how the US requested for support from the Philippinesthrough Dewey. Aguinaldo betrayed the Philippines by being duped byPratt and Dewey, who gave him void promises that the Philippines wereto be given by the US. The Philippines supported the US in its waragainst Spain at the end of the 19th and the early 20th centuries.Finally, the US imperialized Philippines until 1946, when thePhilippines got independence from the US.


Dolan,Edward F.&nbspTheSpanish-American War.Brookfield, Conn: Millbrook Press, 2001. Print.

Flint,Eric, and K D. Wentworth.&nbspTheCrucible of Empire.Riverdale, N.Y: Baen, 2012. Print.

AnneL. Foster.&nbspTheAmerican Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives.Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.

Graves,Kerry A.&nbspTheSpanish-American War.Mankato, Minn: Capstone Books, 2000. Print.

Hendley,Matthew.&nbspOrganizedPatriotism and the Crucible of War: Popular Imperialism in Britain,1914-1932.Montréal: McGill-Queen`s University Press, 2012. Print.

McCoy,Alfred W, and Francisco A. Scarano.&nbspTheColonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State.Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009. Print.