America. The rise to world power.

A spoken word piece by Hannah Denis 12/2/16 Period 3 (U.S. History)

Audio Link:

What makes our country a global power?

We must contemplate this in the coming hours. A country built on the concept of freedom while in reality we must fight to believe in the very values set upon our young impressionable minds. We are grasping for a new concept and falling towards a dangerous future. But when did it all this predestined turmoil begin?

We stand on the soil of a country that was built on the expansionism of greedy moral system. This has made our country great and yet left many other nations stripped of their homes. We sought out fortune and trade, then laughed in the face of triumph. Demanding more.

Was it Pearl Harbor that defined our great nation? Where we lost many valiant souls and saw terror unleashed on our the world? Is it the way we handle the political details of our states, or maybe how our military conducts themselves? Could it have been when we started a trading whirlwind by fighting and declaring ourselves victors of foreign lands? We have left our footprint on the world. For better or worse it will remain.

We sought to expand our horizons and push our boundaries, by fighting for resources and money, we didn’t have. We fought a war over land that belonged to other people. We expanded to many places in order to create strong relationships and to import and export goods. There is a thin line between Imperialism and Expansionism, we sought to expand our lands, but took many areas by force. We exercised our constitutional right to fight. And what did that gain us? We may have realized but what did we lose along the way? Our morals? Maybe our very humanity?

We wanted to make life simpler. So we took from Hawaii, China, The Philippines, and Cuba. We appropriated land from the Native Americans, who had settled and created lives on the very place we call home. Now we oppress and stereotype them, after we killed their ancestors, their family and took their land. We place them on little Islands among “our” renowned country. We say we fight to protect the environment, then drive a pipeline through land they have fought to protect for centuries. We so high and mighty sit upon a throne of injustice. We are hypocrites, we puff ourselves up and place ourselves on a pedestal, and call ourselves fair.

During our days of Expansion, we sought strength and power. We built up our army and created bases for the protection of our greater good. One of the first efforts to gain land was that of the Philippines, where we could predict the vast resources and investments that were awaiting us. And still we needed to expand more, so we migrated on. We sought out trade opportunities and formed a strong relationship with Cuba. We needed economic insurance, and the knowledge that our country was safe from harm. So we made agreements with other countries, and split up China to insure that our investments would not drop. We came to Hawaii for their Sandalwood and Sugar, and decided to stay and create a settlement for militaristic benefits. After establishing The Pearl Harbor Naval Base we moved on to the next task at hand, not knowing the tragedy that would befall us many years later.

We decided to build a canal, one that would help trade in America evolve to the empire it is today. It changed our nation and molded it into a world power. We took what we had and utilized it. We had a stable routine, but for the U.S. to grow we needed to expand and in order for that to happen we had to create and promote a slightly out of this world and brilliant concept. So the Panama canal was born. A 48 mile trench, made by the hands of toiling workers. They slaved away in the miserable heat of the sun, hours upon hours on end, 22,000 casualties, and a great accomplishment. Thanks to this feat we now have an established trade system, with shortened routes, providing extensive jobs and incomes, and promoting economic growth. One thing, can change the course of history for better or worse...

During the Wars that changed the world we began to combat the idea that we did not stand alone on the earth. We had to break out of our Isolated one track mindset and aid the world in an effort to break the cycle of pain. We tried to keep ourselves excluded but rather concluded it was better to be included in the fray for the greater good than sit back and watch terror unleash itself upon the world. But the damage was done. The sum of the injuries that befell the earth was great.

It is hard to look back and realize that all of these events occurred within the short span of 200 years. Yes, we have a strong economy, military, and nation. One of the sturdiest in the world. But we are a fleeting civilization. We have lived long and may carry on for many more centuries, but what will we have accomplished? Will our land be demolished to the point of no return? With all of the trading and buying will we have succeeded in meeting the world’s need? Will anything have changed? Have we made true progress from the oppression of race and gender and exaltation of straight white male supremacy? We have succeeded? But what more can we do?

When did our country become a global superpower, master of the hour?

Sources Cited:

"Americans Overthrow Hawaiian Monarchy." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

"Central America: Panama Canal." Central America: Panama Canal. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016. Staff. "Panama Canal." A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

Green, Crashcourse John. "American Imperialism: Crash Course US History #28." YouTube. YouTube, 05 Sept. 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

Http:// "Today in Labor History: Panama Canal, Built by 75,000, Opens." People's World. N.p., 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

Green, Crashcourse John. "Growth, Cities, and Immigration: Crash Course US History #25." YouTube. YouTube, 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

Green, Crashcourse John. "The Black Legend, Native Americans, and Spaniards: Crash Course US History #1." YouTube. YouTube, 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

"Hawaiian Annexation." Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016. Staff. "Spanish American War." A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

"Spanish American War." Spanish American War. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

"U.S. Foreign Policy toward Latin America in the 19th Century - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History." Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. N.p., 2016. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

"Americans Overthrow Hawaiian Monarchy." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

"Milestones: 1830–1860 - Office of the Historian." U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

Vox. YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016. (

"How the Panama Canal Helped Make the U.S. a World Power." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016.

Created By
Hannah Denis


Created with images by robert.claypool - "United States Flag" • ♡ dare to share beauty - "Golden Dawn Bridge - HDR" • Unsplash - "world trade center new york buildings" • TimOve - "Sunrise" • Woody H1 - "The Falls" • skeeze - "pier harbor panama city beach"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.