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History of the United States by Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard

«·American Policies in the Philippines and the Orient · CHAPTER XX·»

Summary of National Growth and World Politics

The economic aspects of the period between 1865 and 1900 may be readily summed up: the recovery of the South from the ruin of the Civil War, the extension of the railways, the development of the Great West, and the triumph of industry and business enterprise. In the South many of the great plantations were broken up and sold in small farms, crops were diversified, the small farming class was raised in the scale of social importance, the cotton industry was launched, and the coal, iron, timber, and other resources were brought into use. In the West the free arable land was practically exhausted by 1890 under the terms of the Homestead Act; gold, silver, copper, coal and other minerals were discovered in abundance; numerous rail connections were formed with the Atlantic seaboard; the cowboy and the Indian were swept away before a standardized civilization of electric lights and bathtubs. By the end of the century the American frontier had disappeared. The wild, primitive life so long associated with America was gone. The unity of the nation was established.

In the field of business enterprise, progress was most marked. The industrial system, which had risen and flourished before the Civil War, grew into immense proportions and the industrial area was extended from the Northeast into all parts of the country. Small business concerns were transformed into huge corporations. Individual plants were merged under the management of gigantic trusts. Short railway lines were consolidated into national systems. The industrial population of wage-earners rose into the tens of millions. The immigration of aliens increased by leaps and bounds. The cities overshadowed the country. The nation that had once depended upon Europe for most of its manufactured goods became a competitor of Europe in the markets of the earth.

In the sphere of politics, the period witnessed the recovery of white supremacy in the South; the continued discussion of the old questions, such as the currency, the tariff, and national banking; and the injection of new issues like the trusts and labor problems. As of old, foreign affairs were kept well at the front. Alaska was purchased from Russia; attempts were made to extend American influence in the Caribbean region; a Samoan island was brought under the flag; and the Hawaiian islands were annexed. The Monroe Doctrine was applied with vigor in the dispute between Venezuela and Great Britain.

Assistance was given to the Cubans in their revolutionary struggle against Spain and thus there was precipitated a war which ended in the annexation of Porto Rico and the Philippines. American influence in the Pacific and the Orient was so enlarged as to be a factor of great weight in world affairs. Thus questions connected with foreign and “imperial” policies were united with domestic issues to make up the warp and woof of politics. In the direction of affairs, the Republicans took the leadership, for they held the presidency during all the years, except eight, between 1865 and 1900.


J.W. Foster, A Century of American Diplomacy; American Diplomacy in the Orient.

W.F. Reddaway, The Monroe Doctrine.

J.H. Latané, The United States and Spanish America.

A.C. Coolidge, United States as a World Power.

A.T. Mahan, Interest of the United States in the Sea Power.

F.E. Chadwick, Spanish-American War.

D.C. Worcester, The Philippine Islands and Their People.

M.M. Kalaw, Self-Government in the Philippines.

L.S. Rowe, The United States and Porto Rico.

F.E. Chadwick, The Relations of the United States and Spain.

W.R. Shepherd, Latin America; Central and South America.


1. Tell the story of the international crisis that developed soon after the Civil War with regard to Mexico.

2. Give the essential facts relating to the purchase of Alaska.

3. Review the early history of our interest in the Caribbean.

4. Amid what circumstances was the Monroe Doctrine applied in Cleveland’s administration?

5. Give the causes that led to the war with Spain.

6. Tell the leading events in that war.

7. What was the outcome as far as Cuba was concerned? The outcome for the United States?

8. Discuss the attitude of the Filipinos toward American sovereignty in the islands.

9. Describe McKinley’s colonial policy.

10. How was the Spanish War viewed in England? On the Continent?

11. Was there a unified American opinion on American expansion?

12. Was this expansion a departure from our traditions?

13. What events led to foreign intervention in China?

14. Explain the policy of the “open door.”

Research Topics

Hawaii and Venezuela.—Dewey, National Problems (American Nation Series), pp. 279-313; Macdonald, Documentary Source Book, pp. 600-602; Hart, American History Told by Contemporaries, Vol. IV, pp. 612-616.

Intervention in Cuba.—Latané, America as a World Power (American Nation Series), pp. 3-28; Macdonald, Documentary Source Book, pp. 597-598; Roosevelt, Autobiography, pp. 223-277; Haworth, The United States in Our Own Time, pp. 232-256; Hart, Contemporaries, Vol. IV, pp. 573-578.

The War with Spain.—Elson, History of the United States, pp. 889-896.

Terms of Peace with Spain.—Latané, pp. 63-81; Macdonald, pp. 602-608; Hart, Contemporaries, Vol. IV, pp. 588-590.

The Philippine Insurrection.—Latané, pp. 82-99.

Imperialism as a Campaign Issue.—Latané, pp. 120-132; Haworth, pp. 257-277; Hart, Contemporaries, Vol. IV, pp. 604-611.

Biographical Studies.—William McKinley, M.A. Hanna, John Hay; Admirals, George Dewey, W.T. Sampson, and W.S. Schley; and Generals, W.R. Shafter, Joseph Wheeler, and H.W. Lawton.

General Analysis of American Expansion.Syllabus in History (New York State, 1920), pp. 142-147.

«·American Policies in the Philippines and the Orient · CHAPTER XX·»