In the late 1800s, the U. S. became an imperialist power, competing to extend their influence throughout the world. The US had a few reasons for becoming an imperialist country. Their desire for economic growth, military expansion, and spreading their values and ideas compelled them to conquer other countries. But not all Americans believed that America should be imperialist. Those who disagreed with the pro-expansionist beliefs were afraid of conflict with other countries, the amount it would cost, and didn’t want to contradict the principles that the United States held.
The Philippines is just one example of U. S. annexation. In 1899, the U. S. defeated Spain in the Spanish-American war and acquired Spain’s colonies, which included the Philippines. The U. S. decided to annex the Philippines and sent 70,000 troops to put down a Philippine revolt. The Americans were very divided on the topic of whether or not the U. S. was justified in intervening in the Philippines. Although the U. S. made some positive contributions to Philippine society, their harsh treatment of the Filipinos contradicted its ideals.
Therefore, the intervention was not justified. The U. S. got involved in the war with Spain for a few reasons. First, Spain was using brutal control tactics against the Cuban people, giving them reason to intervene. The U. S. then sent a battle ship called the U. S. S. Maine to Cuba, but it exploded along the way and Spain was blamed without proof. To excite the U. S. citizens, journalists used a propaganda tactic called yellow journalism, where highly exaggerated stories would be written and were then run in newspapers.
After the United States defeated Spain, they acquired several colonies including the Philippines, and were faced with an important decision of whether or not they should annex the Philippines or grant them independence. The country was divided on this decision. Those who were in favor of annexing the Philippines because it had land full of economic potential, and the Filipinos were not utilizing the land to their greatest benefit. An article from the S. F. weekly states that the Filipinos “raise only enough food to live on; they don’t care to make money; and they occupy land which might be utilized to much better advantage by Americans.
” Some Americans favored the idea of annexation because they believed the U. S. was helping the Filipinos. When the U. S. troops arrived in the Philippines, they helped build schools, roads, and medical offices. (Starron) Yet the negative effects outweighed the positive when the U. S. decided to annex the Philippines. U. S. soldiers mistreated the Filipinos through torture. Starron states that “the misconduct that did occur, such as the water cure, was the result of small groups of men under junior or non-commissioned leadership looking for weapons or information.
” The water cure was a torture device instituted by soldiers on the Filipinos. The soldiers would force them to drink loads of dirty water until they were bloated, and then force it out of them by jamming their rifles into their stomachs. The U. S. also had no right to annex the Philippines the way they were. The tactics they were using were comparable to the tactics that Spain was using when the U. S. intervened, contradicting the morals and beliefs of the U. S.