Imperialism Westward Expansion: Laying the

For instance, the United States aided in the installation of Fidel Castro in Cuba, and then initiated a trade embargo against him when his policies did not meet their expectations. Ronald Reagans involvement in the Iran-Contra affair suggested United States imperial action in both Latin America and the Middle East. Furthermore, while the United States intervention in Latin America after the 1800s has been primarily motivated by a desire to establish favorable economic ties and like-minded political leaders, the United States involvement in the Middle East has gone farther to fit the classic description of imperialism — “the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas” (Merriam-Webster 2008). In fact, through two gulf wars and an Iraq conflict that some call the third, the United States has mimicked their British ancestors, searching for land instead of oil.

With its Indian Removal Acts and wars with other nations, the so-called Age of Imperialism was only the beginning American imperialistic trends. Though the imperialistic actions of the United States did not manifest themselves as conquests for land in the contemporary area, the United States involvement in Latin America and the Middle East are just two examples of the states imperialism.

While this involvement often masqueraded as an altruistic attempt to instill democracy and Western ideals, studies have suggested that democracy is not necessarily beneficial for the impoverished people it pretends to help (Ross 2006, p. 860). Similarly, while the invasions that constituted the Gulf Wars and the current Iraq conflict were publicly acknowledged as wars to benefit abused populations, many suggest they were really for United States interests. Thus, while American imperialism may differ from other forms of imperialism in that it has not established itself as a formal conquest for land, the influence that the United States has exercised on other states has resulted in an imperialist legacy.


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From Revolution to Reconstruction, [Online]

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Ninkovich, Frank. 2001. The United States and Imperialism Blackwell, New York.

Ross, Michael. 2006. Is Democracy Good for the Poor? American Journal of Political

Science, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 860-874..


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