In the early 1890’s, major countries like the United Kingdom and Germany were gaining control over countries in Africa. In the United States, things were different. They were not interested in gaining power through colonizing people with various cultures, languages and religions. The United States through an older generation of moralists viewed that ruling other countries without gaining their consent violated their republicanism (Mandelbaum). They wanted to focus on uplifting societies that were backward.
The United States wanted to become naval power through replacing its wooden sailing ships with those of steel vessels that were powered by oil or even coal in 1883. The United States viewed that in order to control the seas; they had to acquire the naval bases as well as coaling stations. While various countries from Europe were engaged in power struggles over colonies, America was domestically positioning itself so as not to be closed out in the struggle for global markets and raw materials (Digital History). In the 1890’s., America witnessed half of its petroleum and a quarter of the nation’s farm being sold overseas.
The United States gained global support over their derived policy to uplift people who were still backward. This initiative was supported by mainstream protestant Churches who begun establishing missions in Asia and Africa. China for instance, had over 500 missions by 1890. The policy makers in America started displaying assertiveness. This was also witnessed by America being involved in overthrowing the monarchy in Hawaii in 1893 (Digital History). From this annexation of the Hawaiian monarchy, debate started on whether America should begin colonizing other nations.
It also came close to declaring war over Germany due to the way they were handling Samoa in 1889. America also retrieved from declaring war with Britain when the British were involved in a territorial dispute with Venezuela (Fry). All these pointed on how America started emerging as a world super power though they were not interested in colonizing other countries, but focusing on improving their economy to be self dependant.
Digital History. The United States Becomes a World Power. 2011. 13th June 2011
Fry, H.E. Lament for America: decline of the superpower, plan for renewal. University of Toronto Press. New York. 2010.
Mandelbaum, M. The Frugal Superpower: America’s Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era. Public Affairs. New York, 2010