US Imperialism and Core Democratic Values
"'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world." - George Washington
Following the Civil War, the United States began to involve themselves in foreign affairs to expand trade, improve the economy, and to gain power. In the process of this the United States abandoned some of its fundamental democratic beliefs and principles.
These democratic values found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. they were there to unite the United States and to explain to Great Britain that they are beginning their own nation apart from them. These values are the basis of our entire government system of laws. They are a standard for the government and must be followed in order for there
People in the US believed in "exceptionalism" and nationalism; they wanted to compete with others to gain more power. With these ideas, the theory of social darwinism emerged. This applied the biological concepts of natural selection to the theory that persons, groups, and reaches are subject to similar laws, only the strongest survive. This goes against the democratic values because it does not allow equality to life to everyone. Different races were not all granted the same opportunity to success.
In 1898 the Spanish American war broke out. Both Spain and the United States wanted control over Cuba. The USS Maine exploded and Americans were quick to blame Spain. Newspapers published headlines blaming the enemy for this accident. After this was the development of Yellow Journalism, the business of publishing stories with no researched background or truthful facts. These newspapers were an example of freedom of speech and freedom of press, however they were not publishing the truth. If the newspapers were not publishing truthful news, Americans did not know what to believe.
When the United States realized that Japan and Germany wanted the Philippines, they decided that they wanted to annexed the Philippines before other did, despite arguments against it. During this time the Philippines consisted of 7,100 islands and a population of 7.5 million people with 43 different ethnic groups and 87 different languages, making it more difficult to obtain the islands. After the Spanish-Amerian War and the Philippine-American War, the US gained control. This caused an uproar with the anti-imperialists because the different races were not getting treated equally. According to the democratic values, the different races and ethnicities are to be treated the same and allowed the same opportunities.
The United States were allowing the citizens of the new territories the benefits of being an American but the black citizens were not treated equally, the US was not protecting their rights.
During this era, imperialists forgot about how they were affecting the country. They did not allow equality to all the races; they let the elite white men take control of the government. By doing this they did not have a diverse pallet of opinions. Newspapers advertised false information and social darwinism did not give equal opportunity to everyone. Making these decisions for the sake of world power and improving the economy was selfish for the imperialists in the 19th century because they left behind the core democratic ideas and values.