April 23

Blog #96 – Imperialism Debate (1898)

Before, during, and after the Spanish-American War in 1898, Americans were debating whether or not America should go beyond its borders and become an imperial empire, much like the European countries had done during the 19th Century w/ Asia and Africa.  Below are the arguments for and against imperialism and some of its proponents and opponents.

For Imperialism

People for it: Assistant Secretary of the Navy Teddy Roosevelt, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Alfred T. Mahan, President William McKinley, Judge William Howard Taft, Admiral George Dewey, Reverend Josiah Strong, former Secretary of State William Seward, and Senator Albert Beveridge.

Arguments for imperialism:

  1. To give back the Philippines to Spain would be cowardly and dishonorable.
  2. To let other imperial powers have the Philippines was bad business and discreditable.
  3. Granting the Filipinos their independence was irresponsible because they are unfit to rule themselves.  They need America to civilize, uplift, and Christianize them.
  4. Imperialism is good for America.  It invigorates a nation and keeps it healthy.  A slothful nation will victim to those countries that maintain soldierly virtues.
  5. Annexation of the Philippines would put America into a position to dominate trade with China and the rest of Asia.
  6. We need the markets and raw materials now.  It doesn’t matter that the Philippines are non-contiguous.  We didn’t need the purchases and additional areas in the continental U.S., but look at us now!  We produce more than we can consume.
  7. Annexation would be so easy because we already control the islands.
  8. Filipinos don’t  have to become citizens of the U.S., we will treat them as dependents (like we do with the Native Americans).  The 14th Amendment won’t apply to them.
  9. Republicans favored annexation because it made the party look good after winning the war.

Against Imperialism

People against it: Author Mark Twain, former president Grover Cleveland, Speaker of the House Thomas “Czar” Reed, journalist Lincoln Steffens, Jane Addams, former Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, AFL chief Samuel Gompers, industrialist Andrew Carnegie, Harvard professor William James.

Arguments against imperialism

  1. Imperialism is immoral.  It repudiates our commitment to human freedom and liberty.  We instead think we know what is best for the Filipinos, and that is wrong.
  2. Nativists fear the pollution of the white American population with inferior Asian races, especially when they are allowed to move to the U.S.  Acquisition of the Philippines may require that they become citizens.
  3. Industrial workers feared the flood of additional cheap labor which would further undercut job opportunities.
  4. Imperialism puts us in the international stage of world politics and is a constant menace for war.  War carries off the physically and mentally fit and leaves behind the lesser fit.  It threatens our security, internally and externally.
  5. The “civilizing” mission some claim is really a cover for a desire to loot the colonies and their natural resources.  This misson is self-righteous and pretentious.
  6. We will inherit Spain’s task of suppressing the native peoples when they rebel.  They will NOT want our cultural ways.  We will end up like Spain – a shriveling power.
  7. Can’t we just trade without having to annex other territories?
  8. Imperialism would involve the need for a large standing army which would become a heavy tax burden.

The country chose imperialism, and the Senate voted for the Treaty of Paris, 1898, 57 to 27, one more vote needed for the 2/3 approval.

Your job:

Pretend you are a senator back in 1898 (yes, you have to do this even if you’re female – we’re time traveling, so you can pretend to be a different gender).  Pick a region of the country and a party (both parties were for expansion, especially Southern Democrats).  Which arguments hold more sway with you and why?  Explain.

300 words minimum.  Due Tuesday, April 25 by class. 

March 11

Blog #14 – Kids Taking Over – Part 3

Pick one question from the following choices below and submit your answer by class on Monday, March 14.   Let’s shoot for 300 words minimum.  Dig deep! 

1. We watched the School House Rock Video in class for Women’s Suffrage.  How accurately do you think it portrays the events and people of the Women’s Suffrage Movement? Give examples.  Do you think School House Rock videos should be included in school curriculum? Why or why not?  – Autumn

2.  The Egyptian people recently overthrew their leader, Hosni Mubarek, after 30 years of oppression. Political experts believe social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter provided a means for the people to organize an overthrow of an oppressive government.  Do you think these social networking websites will change the way civil wars will be fought in the future? Will oppressive leaders become more concerned about the way they treat their own people? Why or why not? Explain.  – Mallory

Time Magazine’s latest, “Learn to Love the Revolution.”

Newsweek’s “Feminists in the Middle of Tahrir Square.

3.   If America had stayed neutral even after Germany’s resumption of submarine warfare and the Zimmerman note, what do you think the outcome of the Great War would have been?  – Hannah


4.   If you had to work in an unsanitary, old meat factory like the characters in The Jungle, what job would you choose?  Please explain why.  What job would you not do under any circumstances?  Please explain your reasoning.  – Allison


5.  If you were a woman living during World War I,  would you be for or against the war? Why or why not? Also, would you be willing to work in the war as a nurse? Or would stay at home and work in the factories or a similar job?  Explain your reasons.  – Courtney


6.   The Spanish-American War lasted less than 3 months and had fewer than 600 American soldiers were killed during the war.  In the end of the war, America ended up gaining only two territories that it still holds on to (Guam and Puerto Rico), we went to war with another (Philippines), and one of the territories that we had for a while actually turned against us and now hates us (Cuba). Knowing all of this, do you think the Spanish-American War was really worth it?  Why or why not? – Rob


7.  Gas prices over the last month have raised a crazy amount. People aren’t able to drive quite as far or have even resorted to riding bikes in this cold Michigan weather!  What do you think should be done to lower the gas prices back down again?  Is simply not driving your car the answer or should we find some way to make driving affordable once again?  Is there another option?  – Nathan

Top 10 Reasons to ride your bike instead of driving.  #10 is funny. 

8.  In our readings, there have been many instances where propaganda has determined the result of what is chosen or what the general opinion is of many Americans. From Wilson being almost worshipped to the glorifying of the Spanish American War, propaganda has played a major part on how we percieve events.  Do you think it is wrong to have these messages flooding the airwaves during war time and “brainwashing” America especially if these messages are false (Saddam Hussein planned the 9/11/01 attacks, for example)?  Or is it ethical in the fact that our government can put whatever posters they want? Explain.  – Emily


9. Woodrow Wilson didn’t seem to want to go to war but he ended up bringing us into World War 1 shortly after his election. Do you think that there was any way in which Wilson could have avoided entering the war and do you think that not entering would have been a better decision?  – Dennis


10.  In class, we discussed how our conflict in Mexico before WW1 (the pursuit of Pancho Villa) was very similar to our conflict with Afghanistan and, later, Al Qaeda and our search for Osama Bin Ladin. What other events are there our history that share have echoes but don’t necessarily repeat themselves exactly?  – Ryan



11.  It is the opinion of many scholars that the Treaty of Versailles was the main cause of WWII as well as everything that has happened since.  They feel that the treaty was more full of vengeance (especially in favor of France) rather than reconciliation for the terrible acts perpetrated against them by Germany during the war.  On the other hand, it is possible that the treaty did not really have any significant effect on what was to come afterwards and that considering Hitler’s extremism, it was highly likely that WWII and the Holocaust as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars and all that we have had to deal with in the past 2 and a half decades such as terrorism and economic turmoil.

Which side do you think is correct?  Why?  Do you think anything could have been done differently regarding the treaty and Hitler’s rise to power etc. that would have prevented our world from such terrible events?  – Eli

“Nothing is inevitable until it happens” – A.J.P. Taylor, British historian.

12. During the 1800s, many Germans left their homeland for a better life in the promised land of America.  Now imagine you are a first or second generation German immigrant in the U.S in the time of World War I, what would you think of the image of Germany that was being portrayed in the American media at that time?  Would you feel more loyalty to Germany or would you sympathize with Americans? Why?  – Jake Rzzzzz


13. Do you think that the Treaty of Versailles was fair to Germany?  Why or why not?  What do you think is wrong with it and how would you improve it?  Explain  – Chuck Z.


14. Muammar el-Quaddafi has demonstrated his determination to rule Libya in the past few years. From bombing civilians to attacking U.S. planes, he plans to keep anyone from interfering. He has taken such drastic measures that the military is starting to feel unrest. News radios all across Libya chant for freedom and the overthrow of Quaddafi.

 – In response, Obama has been contemplating whether or not to intervene in Libya.  He wanted to call for a no-flight zone, but it would too expensive and risky to try and destroy the anti-aircraft weaponry. Also, the U.S. is already dealing with wars in two other countries. On the other hand, Quaddafi has sponsored terrorism against the U.S. before and presents a threat to U.S. safety. After all, the Libyans are doing fine on their own, right? Read this news article and make your choice. If you were Obama, what would you do? – Alex R.


15. What do you think could have happened next if Cuba decided to start their own government without the approval of the U.S. after we took it from Spanish-American War in 1898?  Would we have gone to war with them too?  Could we have owned all of Cuba today?  Would we have Guantanamo Bay?  – Molly


16. Theodore Roosevelt was a “different” kind of President. He was more rugged, athletic, and wanted to fight in war.  He also had a different voice and was viewed in a unique way compared to most politicians.  However, he really wasn’t completely different than most politicians.   He made “closed-door” deals, lied, and made promises knowing that he would not be able to fulfill.  Would you like a president in the future to be upfront, honest, a true people’s president, and not a politician?  Why or why not?  – Brad M.

If I cannot find Republicans, I am going to appoint Democrats” – TR in Sean Dennis Cashman’s America in the Age of Titans (59).  


17.  If Teddy Roosevelt or Taft had been president when the Great War was declared in 1914, how might things have gone differently?  Would the U.S. have gone in right away, waited, or entered after the Lusitania?  Also, do you think that it would it have lasted longer or shorter?  How would the peace negotiations be different?  – Jenny, Jenny


18. Many people have come up with clever ways to explain or help people understand the complexity of both World Wars. Mr. Wickersham used the snowball fight to help explain the countries’ roles in WWI and anime developers in Japan made the anime Axis Powers Hetalia to teach children (at first) about WWII through personifying the countries using stereotypical characteristics. If you could design your own metaphor to help people understand WWI, what would you do? Anime, Cartoon, Book, Movie, Diagram (etc..) ? Why? – Sarah 

*** There’s pop-ups with the Hetalia link. 


19. With all of the protests occurring in the world – Middle East, especially – right now, many of the protestors have little or no chance of overthrowing their corrupt leaders on their own. Libya, for example, is being run by a madman who has made it clear he will open fire on his people if he sees fit. The American government has a chance to assist the protestors around the world and help establish democracy based governments when the leaders are overthrown. Do you think that America should assist in the protests, and if so, do you think our government (America) should be the ones to elect a new leader when the time comes? Do you think this would make America look like an empire?  What if we just appoint a transition leader, and then the people elect their own, like in Iraq?  Explan. – Willy

Here’s an interview about U.S. and/or U.N. intervention in Libya, dated March 8.

March 3

Blog #13 – Kids Taking Over the Blog – Part 2

Pick one question from the following choices below and submit your answer by class on Monday, March 7.   Let’s shoot for 300 words minimum.  Dig deep! 


 1. During the suffragist movement, many women were arrested while demonstrating in front of the White House on charges of “obstructing traffic.”  Do you think that this charge legitimate? Why or why not?  Also, is it possible that by arresting these women that the government was violating their First Amendment rights (i.e. freedom of speech)? Why or why not?  – Ellen


2. Do you believe it was right for Roosevelt to take advantage of the revolution in Panama to get the Canal. Was it worth to help this country? Would you have done the same if you were in Roosevelt’s position?  Why or why not?  – Brendan


3. Consider the following scenario:  It is 2008; John McCain and Barack Obama are the two main party candidates and you can vote.  A Rooseveltian candidate created a third party with a platform similar yet more drastic than the one you had planned on supporting much like what had happened in 1912.  Who would you vote for?  Why?  – Saul


4. Today, there is a little known world-wide company called Unilever. Unilever is a British/Dutch company that owns most of the world’s home, beauty and food brands. They control more than 400 brands and millions of popular products like Axe deodorent, Dove soap, Pond’s cold cream, Suave shampoo, Vaseline petroleum jelly, Signal toothpaste, Surf laundry soap, Slim Fast weight loss foods, Lipton tea, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Breyers ice cream, and Country Crock margarine. With all this success they take advantage, just like the monopolies and trusts that Teddy Roosevelt busted. They have been proven to use child labor, (what we would consider) racist ad campaigns in foreign countries, degrading ad campaigns in America and animal testing. They have been accused ounilverf being a monopoly multiple times but have also been defended because they have “competitors” like Procter and Gamble and Nestle.

Do you think Unilever is a monopoly? Why or why not?

Do you think it is dangerous to have this big of a company with this many popular products? Why or why not?

Supposing Unilever is a monopoly, what can we do to fix it today? Explain.  – Riley


5. Woodrow Wilson’s campaign slogan in 1916 was “He kept us out of war.” However, less than half a year after he was elected on this mantra, Wilson asked Congress to declare war, and on April 6, 1917, they obliged. Although he didn’t want to, Wilson broke his campaign promise, similar to many politicians today. What could Wilson have done differently so that the United States wasn’t forced into war?

 – Also, do you think that modern-day politicians make promises just to get elected, knowing that they will break them later on? Or do they whole-heartedly support these causes and are prevented from following their planned course of action as Wilson was? Are both plausible or is there an additional explanation?  Please explain.  – Andrew


6. During the Gilded Age, powerful men dominated American business. They built huge companies and helped the society with its outcome. Carnegie’s Steel Company was created in 1870 and soon became the one of the largest and most profitable industrial enterprises in the world.  The company was sold in 1901 to J.P Morgan for $480 millions. Did these decisions change our society as we know it?  If you could be any important figure at the time, what would you have changed ? Would you have done more or less than what the person originally had done?  Why?  – Ophelie


7. If you were a Cuban during the Spanish-American war, would you have trusted America’s motives?  Why or why not?  How would you have reacted to the Platt and Teller Amendments?  Explain. – Philip


8.   As we have all seen in the news lately there are many protests and revolts in Middle Eastern countries. Egypt just successfully overthrew its leader Hosni Mubarak. There are now protests in Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, and the ongoing struggle in Israel. The U.S. has been very active in this area of the world, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we did this to take out Al-Qaeda and others “terrorists”. This new development of people over throwing their governments is very different than American imperialism.   Americans believe that we should have the right to over throw our own government if it becomes tyranical – it’s written into the Declaration of Independence.Picture1


Do you believe that we should help these rebels to overthrow their oppressive governments, or should we leave them alone and see what happens?  Why or why not?  Or is there a different approach? – Sam


There are a ton of great links on the North

Newsweek’s “Why Americans Love Revolutions” – http://www.newsweek.com/2011/02/27/un-american-revolutions.html#


9. Do you agree with TR’s assessment of Taft when TR said that Taft was a status quo president who went along with what Congress said?  Why or why not?  Also, do you agree with TR running for a 3rd term to spite Taft even if they both lost?  Why or why not?  – Dorian


10. For a long time, the iPhone was only available on AT&T, raking in massive fortunes for both companies.  Many phones are only available on certain networks, many clothing brands are only available at certain stores–do these arrangements/exclusive rights resemble trusts?   Why or why not?  Should any product be able to be sold by any company to prevent this?  Or if a company invented a popular product, do you think that company should at least be able to sell the product for a few years without competition?  Why or why not?  – Calvin



11.  Back during the Imperialism era and even today, most of the important decisions that occur in the United States, are debated in Congress. 

Even though we [citizens] think we have a say in what goes on in Washington, many times, the final decision is made by politicians.  In many cases during imperialism in America, such as when the U.S. liberated Cuba of Spanish rule, and when the Philippines were liberated, do you think that there should be a vote to invade or not and the flat results are the one and only deciding factor whether to invade or not?  Also, do you feel like there should be a system in place, today, where the people have more say on issues in Congress?  Please explain.  – Brad


12.  Do you think the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 where necessary during America’s first major war since 1865 or were they pointless breaches of 1st Amendment rights?  Why?  Could there have been a middle ground somewhere?  If so, what?  If not, why not?   – Michael


13.  If you lived back before the passage of the 19th Amendment, would you ever become a women suffaragist? If so, why? If not, why?   Also, what organization (National Woman’s Party, or NAWSA) would you join and why?  – Cierra

uss maine

This really isn't a photo but a photo of a drawing.

14.  What do you think was the real reason that America went to war in 1898 with the Spanish?  Was it either a general desire for war (to avenge the bombing of the Maine)?   Were there humanitarian reasons?   “Large Policy” or “Formal” Imperialism?  Or was it to expand and meet our economic needs?  Choose one of the four and explain why. – Devon


15.   Why do you think the American people were so against America’s involvement in the Great War in 1917?   If you were alive back then, would you have been against it?  Why or why not?  – Drew H.


16.  Who are some examples of women activists in today’s society?   Have we (women) truly acheived equality after all these years?  Why or why not?  – Emily


17.  Compare the labor riots of 1919-1920 in America and the riots / protests occurring in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia going on today and how the government responded to both.  Why did both the Middle Easterners and laborers rebel against conditions and treatment?  – Lenny


18.  Though President Wilson was quite the “timid” pacifist, he often went over senators’ heads to ask for the opinion of the sovereign people.  Why do you think he did this repeatedly?  Do you think going over the senators’ heads contributed to his fall from grace in Paris and during the League of Nations rallies?  Explain.  – Erin


19. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.  Can you name 2 other inventors whose inventions have greatly impacted life in America?    Please name both inventors, what he/she had invented, and how it has impacted America.  – Brittany

February 15

Blog #12 – 1st Rotation – APUSH students take over the blog!


This is a fake picture, but I still thought it was pretty cool.

Please choose one of the following questions to answer for your blog.  These questions come from your colleagues, so enjoy. 

1. Do you feel that Theodore Roosevelt’s plan of consumer protection is American or anti-American? Teddy passed various laws such as the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. The government took on a new role, becoming more involved in people’s lives. But does more government ‘interference’, as some would call it (others have called it socialism!), represent American values? Would you have done anything differently?  – Fred A.


2. Muckrakers played in big role in politics when they began to write in the early 1900s.  Today, journalists also find sources of corruption and abuse to publicize – 60 Minutes, Dateline, regular newspapers and magazines + bloggers.  Identify sources of muckraking today and compare reactions and effects of the writing with the previous generation of muckrakers.

– Also, TR did not like the muckrakers because he felt that they just talked trash and didn’t make any suggestions or try to help fix things and were just critical and negative. Do you believe that today’s muckrakers are just a negative source like TR did or do they do a good job of exposing corruption and abuses?  – Eleanor C.


3. Nike is like Standard Oil in how they monopolize the shoe and clothing  industry. But Nike is also like any other type of monopolistic business in the Progressive Era. Nike pays young kids in Asia to do very hard labor for very low wagesjust do it. It is much like how things used to be here.  Do you belive it is ethical what Nike is doing to young kids in Asia? Why or why not?  – Declan G.


4. Do you think that the reasons America began imperializing overseas in the 1890s (new markets, manifest destiny, naval power, and Anglo-Saxon superiority) are legitimate reasons to expand?  Why or why not?   If not, why do you think more people weren’t protesting America’s imperialist policies?  – Claire F.


5.  If you were going to cast a movie about the late 1800s business tycoons like Rockefeller, Carnegie and Morgan, who would you cast and why?  – Patrice B.andrew_carnegie

6.  Compare our federal government today to the federal government during the progressive era.  Do you feel the (federal) government should be more or less involved in social issues such as the Headstart Plan* and environmental regulations**?  If more, what else do you suggest the government do? If less, what do you suggest the government not do?  – Lucy B.

*A simple summary of the Headstart Plan can be found by clicking the link.

**There have been environmental regulations proposed such as the US federal government forcing every citizen to have only fluorescent lightbulbs in their homes in two years (fluorescent lightbulbs, the ones with mercury in them, conserve energy, but are a health and environmental risk)

7. Teddy Roosevelt had a strong sense of conserving the environment for future generations before he became president and enacted laws during his tenure.  Today, when we talk about saving the environment, people mention global warming and debate whether or not it’s a hoax.  It seems to me that this debate just distracts from the overall point that we could be doing more, like TR, to help conserve natural resources since as Americans, we consume more energy and stuff, per capita, than other people in the world.  What can we do to help make the planet a better place to live in?  – Elizabeth B.


8. James Cameron’s Avatar was a tremendous hit last year, but it also had amazing plot similarities to the 1990 Western, Dances With Wolves.  Both are sagas about Americans imperializing another land and shoving people off of it, regardless of the consequences to the native (Navi) people.   If you’ve seen either movie, can you view either one as a critique of American imperialism?  Why or why not?  – David B.avatar-dances

9. If you could go back in time and decide whether America would go to war against the Spanish in 1898, would you?  Why or why not? Please explain.  – Raven G.

10.  Imperialism is a form of government that Americans shunned. We have stood and fought against it in World Wars 1 and 2, yet we are imperialists ourselves and are dependent on other countries for our personal comfort and economy. Would you be true to America’s democratic roots and fight imperialism?  Or would you be an imperialist that  conquers and controls other countries? Why do you believe so?  – Braxton A.


 11. After the Spanish American War, America liberated the Philippines from Spain, but didn’t grant them independence.  If you had to decide back then, would you rather see America as a laid-back nation that watched over the world, or would it be better to become an active world power, helping other nations (which sometimes came under the banner of imperialism)?  Why? – Larry G.


12. What do you think the implications of the US foreign policy are now that Egypt’s old president, Hosni Mubarek, is out of office?  Remember that Egypt has control of 5% of the flow of oil through the Suez Canal and because we are allies w/ Egypt.  – Kaylee B. Banner seen in Egypt recently.

13.  What business/society problems are around today that muckrakers would or should attack?   How would they attack them- would it be through articles still? What results might these exposes bring?  Explain.  – Lizzie D.

 14.  In the last half century, the US has entered many countries under the mission of “spreading democracy”.  Do you think this is a form of imperialism and is it fair for us to force our values on other countries?  Why or why not?  – Cameron

15.   In 1960 during the height of the Cold War, the United States placed a partial embargo on newly-communist Cuba.  Then, after the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962, President Kennedy enacted a travel ban to Cuba for US citizens. The ban, currently the world’s longest-standing embargo, still allows us to export goods to Cuba, but we can’t get bring anything back.  Since the Cold War is over and Castro is almost dead, should the US lift the embargo with Cuba?  Why or why not?  – Evan D.What is "the irresponsible vote"?  Is that kinda like the voters who call in on American Idol?


16. The Women’s Suffrage movement took a long time to impact national laws to get women the right to vote.  Do you think if this would have taken place in current times that the suffrage amendment would have been easier or harder to pass?   Would current events overpower the suffrage movement or would the Women’s Suffrage movement be at the top of the list?  Why?  – Stephanie D.

From Britain's The Daily Mirror in 1904

From Britain's The Daily Mirror in 1904

17.  How do you think American life would be different if President McKinley hadn’t been shot in 1901? Would Teddy Roosevelt ever have become president? Would we still have national parks?  Explain.  – Katie D.

18.  What are some of the problems of our progressive income tax (where the rich pay a higher tax rate than the middle class or poor)?   Do they outweigh the benefits?  Why or why not?  – Ben C.


19. There were three main candidates during the election of 1912: Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and William H. Taft. Each president had many views and approaches to the United States problems. Some were different from one another, and some were shared by two or all three. If you lived back in 1912 and were eligible to vote, which candidate would you have chosen and why?  – Erick D.

20. Why would U.S. companies outsource jobs back in the early 1900s and now if so many people here need jobs here?  – Alex C.how-theyre-acting

21. If Teddy Roosevelt was magically transported to the present day, what do you think his opinions would be of today’s politics, policies, and the wars in Iraq and Afganistan?  Why?  – Rachel G.

Blog #12 is due Monday, February 28 before class.

250 words minimum.