CHAPTER12:  THE EMPIRE AND THE PEOPLE
Inchapter 12, the author has elaborated what transpired on theinvolvement by the United States in wars and imperialism. The authorsays that in late 1800s, the U.S. had expanded far to the West thenthe frontier had to be closed. From my reaction, the closure of thefrontier to the west is strange, because how comes they did notexpand to the South or North or East. They might have seen as a softor weak spot to crouch into. As the manufacturing sector expanded,the U.S. began expanding to other countries.
Theexpansion to other countries would create markets for Americas goodsand avoid the economic crises which occurred during the 1890s,leading to class war. He poses a question on the importance offoreign investment saying that it may reduce the number of strikes tofocus on the external enemy and unite government against the armedforces. This is not planned, but a natural development as a result ofnationalisms and capitalisms. From a personal view, the tough yearsthat would come on labor movements and increased industrial growth,foreign market investment has been just the right thing for thegovernment to divert its energy. Based on the nature of capitalismand nationalism, I am aware that capitalism brings oppression of theworking class as the elite benefits. Hence, the working classesneeded to be more educated in order for them to enjoy work, in acountry which disregards and oppress them.
Inaddition, the United States gets focused on intervening in othernations so that it protects its economic interests. This intentiongave rise to a Spanish-American war from 1798 till 1895. Thisindicates that the U.S. was building an empire, because the blood hadto be shed. As the U.S. realized on the importance of foreign marketsfor the prosperity of the country, the expansion policies and warwere also crucial to be put into practice. This can be regarded asthe aggressive expansion in the foreign market as it looks as thoughU.S. wanted to snatch other countries’ resources in order toprotect its interests. The author says that American businessmen didnot require war in order to freely access the markets.Notwithstanding, open door policy emerged as a major trend towardsimperialism than a traditional building of empires in Europe. Fromthis observation, the U.S. did not understand that, wheneversomething exists in other countries, it does not mean that they cango and grab. It should have noted that countries defend their rightsof property.
Zinnthen expounded on the Cuban revolution, where the Cubans fought forindependence from Spain. The U.S. intended to intervene, so that itcould only protects its economic interest, but not for the Cuba towin independence. This kind of intervention actually depicts thecurrent American foreign economic policies they intend to protecttheir interests. People supported the Cuban revolution, since theywere fighting a liberation war just like America. Nonetheless,America feared the independence of the Cuba from France, since itwould lead to a new nation ran by black and white people. PresidentRoosevelt did not really want to go to war, so it waited to interveneand helped Cuba to defeat Spanish forces in order to safeguard itseconomic holding, but after defeating the Spanish colonialists, warbroke as it attempted to build a new empire to exploit its resources.
Initially,labor classes opposed the war, perceiving it as a hypocrisy, sincethe everyday war broke in America’s workplaces so they sympathizedwith the Cubans. What I find to be interesting is that, thedeclaration of war made trade unions experienced war fever. The warled to increased employment and wages, but increase also in the costof goods. In addition, I found out that the war led to rise inheroism and adventure, since the author claims that it changed to awar of conquest. I perceive this as a conquest that is a warregardless of people’s knowledge or not since the America’s warsare not usually for relief, but to safeguard its interests.
Whenthe Spanish forces were defeated within 3 months, the U.S. took it asif the Cuban rebels didn’t exist. They made negotiations with theSpanish and left many cities under their authority. Immediately,Cuban resources were exploited massively. This strikes me odd on howimperialist were America bent into. The Americans did not want toleave the Cuban until the Cuban Constitutional Convention agreedthe Platt amendment this would allow the U.S. to intervene for the independence is preserved, the government to maintain the protectionof life, property and people’s freedom and give America coals andnavy stations. This is actually a kind of a hell and crazyintervention. With many refusals, the Cuban Constitutional Conventionfinally gave in to the demand of the amendment. It looks strange onhow America dictated and benefited from the treaty in a disagreement,it was not a party to. This action did not go well with thePhliliphines.
In1899, Philippines staged a war with American rule, taking three yearsfor the America to end this revolution with this small island. It wasthe most brutal war and many Philippines lost lives through violenceand diseases. Businessmen did not agree with the U.S. conduct in thisperiod with some forming an anti-imperialist league in 1898, whichwas aimed at educating the danger of imperialism and the atrocitiesmeted out to the Philippines. Between 1889 and 1903, there was greatracism in America. Every day, the blacks were killed by lynching. TheFilipinos were also not spared also. About one sixth of Filipinoswere killed by the Americans, but the government would claim that itconducted itself in a human and restrained manner. It is interestingto see this heinous means is viewed as a way of practicing humanityand restraint, yet many civilians were unrestrained and inhumanelykilled.
Athome, labor forces continued to split in regard to the PhilippineWar. The splitting of America’s labor force was regarded by thestate as a good means of disorientation, so that trade unions couldnot unite to cease the war or generate a class war at home againstthe overseas economic interests as well as expanding its capitalism.
Fromthe above explanations, I can conclude that, however brutal theAmericans on the Cuban and Philippines, it was able to accomplish itsmission, that is to stabilize home issues while expanding capitalismand safeguarding its economic interest.