Imperialism is “the process whereby the dominant politico – economic interests of the nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people” (Parenti, 1995, p.1). Imperialism was considered as one of the most powerful forces in the world during the last five centuries. There are many factors, which play a very important role in the development of each empire. Spanish – American War played this role in the development of the United States as an empire.
The main outcome of this war was the acquisition of the overseas territories. It happened for the first time in the history of the USA. The United States became an imperial power. It began to rule over Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, Guam, and the Philippines directly. The United Sates also gained a large amount of indirect control over Cuba. The United States Empire was a layered one as it ruled over many territories indirectly. Such type of empire and rule developed out of the particular political and legal processes that were used to decide how to rule over the territories acquired in the Spanish-American War (Kazin, Ethwards & Rothman, 2011, p. 523).
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Nowadays, the U.S. has a world primacy in economy, which is the largest in the world, in military, which has a global reach, and in language, which is one of the most spoken languages in the world. However, the U.S. is certainly not an empire. The main reason for it is its type of domestic and foreign policy. The U.S. does not conquer foreign countries, does not force foreign people into slavery, does not make them pay tribute and taxes to keep them under control, and does not make its citizens adopt their political beliefs.
To sum up, Spanish – American War played a significant role in the development of the U.S. as an empire. However, nowadays, the country cannot be called an empire. The U.S. is a republic due to its domestic and foreign type of policy.
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