U.S. Rise to World Power Timeline
By: Cynthia Juarez
Spanish American War (April 25, 1898)
- United States declares war on Spain.
- United States gained control of territories that could serve as the coaling stations and naval bases that Mahan had discussed, such as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

Sinking of the Battleship Maine (February 15, 1898)

  • Battleship was sent to Havana in to protect American interests during the long-standing revolt of the Cubans against the Spanish government. In the evening of 15 February 1898, Maine sank when her forward gunpowder magazines exploded. Nearly three-quarters of the battleship's crew died as a result of the explosion.

(July 3,1898)

Destruction of Santiago by U.S. warships

  • The Spanish fleet was destroyed off Santiago by U.S. warships under Admiral William Sampson.

Treaty of Paris ends Spanish-American War (Dec 10, 1898)

The once-proud Spanish empire was virtually dissolved as the United States took over much of Spain's overseas holdings. Puerto Rico and Guam were ceded to the United States, the Philippines were bought for $20 million, and Cuba became a U.S. protectorate.

America – an Imperial Power with a Global Reach (1899)

In 1899 US divided Samoa with Germany, obtaining the island of Wake (Zimmerman, 2002). An invisible line linked US-Cuba-Hawaii-Wake-Guam-Philippines-China. Mahan’s vision became reality in the Pacific; US commanded considerable influence in this most strategic region.

The “Open Door” policy (1899)

State Secretary Hay proposed a fair, for trading relations based on free market
principles. Hay’s message which was to respect the “territorial and administrative integrity of China” was successful because he persuaded Roosevelt that Britain held America’s world-view and had shared interests. Therefore, the U.S. sealed a decisive coalition with the world’s chief colonial power, with positive spillovers to its security and trade.

Roosevelt’s Presidency and the Panama Canal


American and British leaders and businessmen wanted to ship goods quickly and cheaply between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The United States also agreed to guarantee the independence of Panama. Completed in 1914, the Panama Canal symbolized U.S. technological prowess and economic power. Although U.S. control of the canal eventually became irritant to U.S.-Panamanian relations, at the time it was heralded as a major foreign policy achievement.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Deterrence & Diplomacy


In the Dominican Republic Roosevelt used his “corollary” to achieve two ends. To protect and expand US commercial interests in the country and the region. He declared the U.S.’s “mare nostrum”, extending its sphere of influence, security and economic well-being.

Arizona is Admitted to the Union
( February 14, 1912)

Arizona, the last of the 48 contiguous United States, is admitted to the Union, completing the century-long process of conquering and organizing the American West.

WW1 Begins (Aug.1, 1914)

Causes were political, territorial and economic conflicts among the great European powers in the four decades leading up to the war. Additional causes were militarism, a complex web of alliances, imperialism, and nationalism. The immediate origin of the war was the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand.

German Proclamation (Feb.15,1915)

Unrestricted submarine warfare on any ship entering British waters. This hit many US merchant ships.

Sinking of the Lusitania (May 7, 1915)

Germany sinks the British passenger ship because they think it is carrying weapons to Britain. Over 120 Americans were killed.

Sussex Pledge (April 24, 1916)

Germany promises to stop unrestricted Submarine Warfare

Failure of Diplomacy on U-boats attacks (Feb.3,1917)

Germany breaks the Sussex pledge and continues Unrestricted submarine warfare

U.S. ties with Great Britain (1917)

Britain becomes our best friend and we need to support them. We trade with them throughout the war.

Zimmerman Telegram (1917)

Germany wants to ally with Mexico-asking Mexico to attack the U.S. in exchange for TX,NM,and AZ. The telegram is intercepted by the British before it reached Mexico.

United States enters WW1

(April 6,1917)

The sinking of the British Passenger ship Lusitania, where a number of US citizens died was the main reason which caused us to get involved. After submarines sank seven US merchant ships and the publication of the Zimmerman Telegram, Wilson called for war on Germany, which the US Congress declared on 6 April 1917.  

Selective Service Act

(May 18,1917)

  • Power over soldiers.
  • Mandatory for boys to register for military service.

Henry Cabot Lodge (1918)

During World War I, Henry Cabot Lodge backed entry into the war, but was sharply critical of Wilson's prosecution of the effort. In the congressional elections of 1918, the Republicans gained control of both the House and the Senate; Lodge became the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Senate Majority Leader. From his positions of power, he led the fight against ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, largely because of its inclusion of provisions for the League of Nations. Lodge’s motivations appear to have been a combination of deeply held concerns about protecting American interests and an abiding hatred of the president.

Treaty of Versailles

(June 1919)

One of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

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