George Washington advised Americans stay out of foreign political affairs, such as the constant European wars and conflicts. This is called isolationism.
Expansion means to stretch a national borders, and that is what the United States was doing in the late 1800's, ever since the birth of the country, pushing themselves west, across the continent and into thePacific. Americans were always trading with other countries as well, like Europe, and Asia, but not Japan.
Japan leaders banned any outsiders, or foreigners, since the 1600's, this means no trade.
In July, 1853, President Millard Fillmore sent Matthew Perry to Japan to sort out some kind of treaty to liberate trading. Perry came home with a treaty in 1854, Treaty of Kanagawa, itopened two ports for trade with the United States. After this treaty was signed, Japanese saw the power of the industry in United States, they were so amazed that they started to extend there industry, using the United States as a model.
Seward Looks to the Pacific
In 1867, Secretary of State William Seward wanted to buyMidway island, an island in the middle of the pacific, because he belived that the island would help the United States gain more control over the Pacific. That year the island was annexed, or taken over.
Alaska- Seward also wanted to buy Alaska from the Russians. This is because he thought that the country would improve trade with Asia. Besides, the Russians wanted to get rid of it because it wasto far away to control. A Russian ambassador announced the price of Alaska to Seward as 7.2 million or 720,000,000 dollars, 2 cents an acre. In the same year Midway was annexed, Alaska was in the United States in only a few days. Alaska was a state in 1959, as the 49th state.
Many Americans did not like Seward's decision, they saw Alaska as a barren of icy land, icy mountains, and frozenfish, they called this "Seward's Folly." But after years of exploring Alaska, Miners found gold. Soon Americans discovered the rich land for farming, and all the other natural resources. Timber, copper, petroleum and other natural gases. Soon miners were rushing up into Alaska.
Between the periods of 1870 to 1914 was called the period of imperialism.Imperialism means a policyof a powerful country who is controlling the political and economic affairs of a weaker country. Many European countries took up this policy, many had settlements all over Africa much of southern Asia.
Many countries chose the path of imperialism because they felt racismtowards other countries, the belief of being superior to another race due to race or religion. Another reason countries tookup this path is because of religion, they felt that they had to spread Christianity and western culture to other countries. This was later called "the white mans burden" because the whites wanted everyone to be like them, even know these countries already have rich cultures of there own. These countries also wanted land and better economy. These weaker countries had many resources that could beprocessed in the many European factories. The powerful countries were in competition for land as well, when one countries took one piece of land, another countries feels pressured and must take some more land to even out the control.
The united states was leading in agriculture and industry in the 1890's, they were making large amounts of steel and crops. Many people thought that if theUnited States didn't start trading and getting into foreign markets, the United States economy would collapse.
A strong supporter of stretching western influence was Alfred Mahan, he believed that the United States depended on foreign trade, and from that, the United States needed a big navy to defend the merchant ships. He also believed that the United States needed naval bases if the navy was...