Why was the U.S. more anti-imperialist than the other Great Powers were?

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,324
The US, along democratic, has similarities to large contiguous empires, such as Russia/USSR, and the former Austrian and Ottoman Empires. Not all empires had lots of overseas territories.

I wonder if all the remaining native Americans and everyone in Britain, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Hawaii, the Philippines, Haiti, Guatemala, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan appreciates the US's wonderful anti imperialistic record?
 
Jun 2017
2,958
Connecticut
Why was the U.S. more anti-imperialist than the other Great Powers were?

In the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a lot of opposition to imperialism. For instance, William Jennings Bryan ran--in part--on an anti-imperialist platform and got 45.5% of the total nationwide vote. Also, opposition to imperialism in the U.S. was not limited to the Democratic Party--for instance, Republican U.S. Senator George Frisbie Hoar had this to say about the Philippine-American War:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Frisbie_Hoar#Political_and_legal_career

"You have sacrificed nearly ten thousand American lives—the flower of our youth. You have devastated provinces. You have slain uncounted thousands of the people you desire to benefit. You have established reconcentration camps. Your generals are coming home from their harvest bringing sheaves with them, in the shape of other thousands of sick and wounded and insane to drag out miserable lives, wrecked in body and mind. You make the American flag in the eyes of a numerous people the emblem of sacrilege in Christian churches, and of the burning of human dwellings, and of the horror of the water torture. Your practical statesmanship which disdains to take George Washington and Abraham Lincoln or the soldiers of the Revolution or of the Civil War as models, has looked in some cases to Spain for your example. I believe—nay, I know—that in general our officers and soldiers are humane. But in some cases they have carried on your warfare with a mixture of American ingenuity and Castilian cruelty. Your practical statesmanship has succeeded in converting a people who three years ago were ready to kiss the hem of the garment of the American and to welcome him as a liberator, who thronged after your men when they landed on those islands with benediction and gratitude, into sullen and irreconcilable enemies, possessed of a hatred which centuries can not eradicate."

Even the U.S.'s acquisition of the Philippines and Puerto Rico were extremely controversial in the late 1890s.

Why was the U.S. more anti-imperialist during this time than the other Great Powers were?

Was it because of its own history being a British colony, or was there another reason for this?
Distinction needs to be made between imperialism and foreign intervention. Imperialism in the 19th century was a super popular policy that tended to win elections. As long as the imperialism was in the America's and was against Canada, Mexico or Spain imperialism and expansionism polled incredibly well in the US. This is probably because there was actually something in it for average Americans who could take the land but wars where this wasn't a prize were popular to. You make a good point with the Spanish American War though much more popular to think we were freeing the Cubans from the Spanish than to think we were stealing Spain's colonial empire and leaving Cuba technically free to give the impression we had another more benevolent(and more importantly popular) objective. Once we got to the Pacific and had the Civil War think the zeal for colonization died.

Foreign intervention in Europe and across the world is another story altogether. Washington started a tradition of neutrality and isolationism that America's politicians but not people have abandoned. These wars tend to be fought overseas for more intangible goals and the US public has either been led into these wars by politicians who said they said they wouldn't do that but did or briefly supported these conflicts in a brief euphoric wave of patriotism. The product has been many conflicts from the Cold War to the present being fought without the public being alerted as you don't need to face democratic approval/consequences for the wars your constituents don't know are occurring.
 
Oct 2016
1,154
Merryland
I wonder if all the remaining native Americans and everyone in Britain, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Hawaii, the Philippines, Haiti, Guatemala, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan appreciates the US's wonderful anti imperialistic record?
Texas and California were independent Republics when they joined the US.
the other territories the US ended up with were empty desert that Mexico didn't really try to hold on to.

Guam and Puerto Rico too small to be independent.
Hawaii was going to be swallowed by somebody. the US was a lot better for it than other countries would be.

the other countries you mentioned are all independent.

I concede that the USA did not deal fairly with the Native Americans. the philosophy of the times was that civilization had the right to expand.
 
Dec 2012
541
Texas and California were independent Republics when they joined the US.
the other territories the US ended up with were empty desert that Mexico didn't really try to hold on to.

Guam and Puerto Rico too small to be independent.
Hawaii was going to be swallowed by somebody. the US was a lot better for it than other countries would be.

the other countries you mentioned are all independent.

I concede that the USA did not deal fairly with the Native Americans. the philosophy of the times was that civilization had the right to expand.
Puerto Rico is definitely not to small to be independent, there are states with both smaller land areas and smaller populations.
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,396
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
]

Why was the U.S. more anti-imperialist than the other Great Powers were?

In the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a lot of opposition to imperialism.

Why was the U.S. more anti-imperialist during this time than the other Great Powers were?

Was it because of its own history being a British colony, or was there another reason for this?
Your whole question is flawed.
US history is one of continuous Imperialism, much as any other empire

and frankly we could afford to be anti-colonial. we had a continent full of resources;
But you didn't have a continent full of resources see? You had to colonize it first, and exterminate or evict the current ooccupants.

the Philippines officially became independent in 1946 but the process began in the 1930s
"
Much like the British Parliament passed the India Act of 1919 which developed Indian legislative bodies and began the movement towards Dominion status (Or independence)
Churchill was against Indian independence, but prior to WWIi many Britons believed that it was inevitable

Well, I would say 1898 is the symbol of Imperialism...USA is as imperialist as it was Britain, France, Japan or Italy...and more than Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Portugal, Netherland or Spain.

The american imperialism begun as early as it was an independent country.

First...the continuous violations of the border with Spain (From 1788 onwards)..
Second: The strange purchase of Lousiana and then... The invasion of Florida... the invasion of Texas, the War with Mexico, the "mandatory" purchase of La Mesilla, Alaska, the 1898 War..., the invasion of Hawai, the invasion of Panama in 1903, Nicaragua in 1855, the invasion of Haiti, and then Dominican Republic etc etc etc...

So, USA has been one of most imperialist countries on Earth...
we do not judge, we describe... to be imperialist is not good or bad... simply it is.. but of course, the Invasion of Florida or the invasion of Texas it it the same than the invasion of Traansvaal and Oranje by Britain or the invasion of Madagascar by France.
Well said Martin.
 
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Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,396
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
Method of land acquisition and form of government ought to bear on what can be reasonably called imperialism. The country was founded as a voluntary union. No one from the union's capital conquered Vermont or Texas.
:zany:
Try looking up "Indian Removal Act" or "Trail of Tears" - these were done by the US Army by order of the US Congress, so the idea that the Cherokee and other tribes were evicted by anything other than government policy is a farce

Texas and California were independent Republics when they joined the US.
the other territories the US ended up with were empty desert
Indian Territory (Oklahoma) was empty desert? Dakota Territory was empty desert? :zany: :zany:

I concede that the USA did not deal fairly with the Native Americans. the philosophy of the times was that civilization had the right to expand.
Which was called Manifest Destiny, or Imperialism by another name....
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,630
San Antonio, Tx
]
Your whole question is flawed.
US history is one of continuous Imperialism, much as any other empire
You’re going to have to explain this because it seems wrong on the face of it. Comparing contemporaneous US ‘imperialism” with European imperialism is just laughable.

But you didn't have a continent full of resources see? You had to colonize it first, and exterminate or evict the current ooccupants.
Yes, just like Canada and any society that had a collision between Stone Age people and European immigrants.

Much like the British Parliament passed the India Act of 1919 which developed Indian legislative bodies and began the movement towards Dominion status (Or independence)
Churchill was against Indian independence, but prior to WWIi many Britons believed that it was inevitable

Well said Martin.
black = white

It's more case that decolonization was happening around the world at the same time.
Well, the US did quit Cuba almost immediately and would have quit the Philippines earlier if the Japanese hadn’t intervened. From my readings in US history, there was not a great deal of support by the American people to replace the Spanish Empire iin the Philippines. Still, US colonialism in the Philippines was not a roaring success. Some of the Philippine resistance came from the minority muslim population there.

Incidentally, the Dutch were huge colonizers and fought a desperate post-war anti-guerrilla war in the Dutch East Indies. So the “age of colonialism” was ending alright, but not because the colonizing nations agreed. In some cases, colonialism continued to the 1960s, not much earlier as has been implied in this discussion.

Old school colonialism didn’t fly very well over here. Now, economic imperialism might be another story.
 
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betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,324
I generally agree with Slavon, as discussed in the other thread. I also agree with Martin that the US has been highly imperialistic, particularly in the 19th century.

Decolonization was advantageous to the US because it weakened other major powers, it allowed the US to have influence or control over some former colonies, and it resulted in more oportunities for US corporations to operate in countries that were now independent.