America Becomes a World Power

In 1867 the U.S. purchases Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. Russia was involved in the Crimean War with Britain, France and Turkey and were in fear of losing Alaska to the powerful British Navy. Russia had already heavily invested in the area to build factories, schools and mine for gold and did not want the territory to fall into the hands of their enemy. Instead they sold it to their friend, the United States.

Early in the 1800's Americans began arriving in Hawaii, at first to "save" the Hawaiian people. Later these sugar plantation owners became so powerful that they forced the King, Kalakaua, to accept a new Constitution that gave them a great deal of power in Hawaii while at the same time reduced the power of the monarchy.

When her brother died in 1891, Queen Liliuokalani rejected the new Constitution and the privileges that it gave to foreigners, merchants and the sugar plantation owners. The American plantation owners rebelled against the attempt at limiting their power. The U.S. Ambassador called on Washington to send the Marines to help protect the Americans in Hawaii and instead the marines helped to topple the Queen. With her gone, the Americans set up a republic and quickly sought annexation. Congress debated for months with President Grover Cleveland blocking all annexation efforts. "Our interference in the Hawaiian Revolution of 1893 was disgraceful" (Davidson and Stoff 665). Once Cleveland leaves office the U.S. annexed Hawaii, in 1898 becoming a territory 2 years later, but it does not become the 50th state until 1959

Imperialism - The policy of powerful countries seeking to control the economic and political affairs of weaker countries or region

Why would powerful nations do such a thing at this time (1850-1914)?


China - since China was not industrialized and had a massive population, it was the most desirable country on the globe for industrialized nations for trade. The Chinese however had no desire for their goods, they were wealthy in their own resources and did not want for manufactured goods. Great Britain forced its way in by trading Opium with the Chinese basically making the nation dependent upon the drug thus dependent upon British trade. Many of the countries gain access to China through their own spheres of influence

By this time the U.S. has grown in power and sends a letter through the Secretary of State to all nations trading in China warning them to open their borders in their spheres of influence to trade. They do not want to risk war and decide to open the borders to trade. This was know as the "Open Door Policy"
Chinese no longer want FOREIGNERS - "righteous fists of harmony" The boxer rebellion - chinese men use bare fists to beat and scare all foreigners out of china - does not work - they are not match for modern weaponry.


Created with images by Free Grunge Textures - - "World Map - Abstract Acrylic" • dianecordell - "Alaska" • rmounce - "Image extracted from" • cliff1066™ - "King Kamehameha II" • cliff1066™ - "Bernice Pauahi Bishop" • Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL - "A new map of Africk, shewing its present general divisions cheif cities or towns, rivers, mountain &c." • Eric Fischer - "Ownership of Africa Before the War of the Nations (1920)" • qlRn49I2jV - "The Map of the Republic of China" • ralphrepo - "Boxer Prisoners Captured By 6th US Cavalry, Tientsin, China [1901] Underwood & Co [RESTORED]"

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