Background: During America’s Age of Imperialism in the 1890s, the United States aggressively pursued overseas colonies, holding on to those colonies even in the face of indigenous resistance. Unlike its handling of continental territories, the United States offered the new colonies no pathway toward equal statehood and citizenship.
American Imperialism combined the expansionist ideology that propelled Americans from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans with a desire to become a world power as well as the need for new markets and raw materials to feed the growing industrial base. Inspired by Alfred Thayer Mahan’s concept of sea power, Americans began to look outside their borders for the means to grow their global political influence. Fueled by the technological innovations and cheap labor of the Industrial Revolution, American industry looked abroad for new markets and access to natural resources. An early and vociferous proponent of American Imperialism, Theodore Roosevelt aggressively and effectively promoted the cause through initiatives like the construction of the Panama Canal and the demonstration of American military power embodied by the Great White Fleet. With the articulation of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt claimed the U.S. right to keep European powers out of Latin America through the use of military force.