Why was overseas expansion controversial?

Out of Print.

The jarring economic, technological, and social changes of the late 1890s compelled people in the United States to reexamine their national identity and their country’s role in the world. In the long term, war against Spain was one in a series of steps that led to an ever-increasing international role for the United States. Students recreate the public debate in the United States over what to do with Spain’s former colonies in a simulation set in the fall of 1898. By weighing the values underlying the policy choices at the end of the nineteenth century, students gain a better understanding of the historical context of our country’s current interactions with nations abroad.


Supplemental Resources

Additional reference material for added context and support.


Beisner, Robert L. Twelve against Empire: The Anti-Imperialists, 1898-1900 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968). 310 pages.

Gardner, Lloyd C., ed. A Different Frontier: Selected Readings in the Foundations of American Economic Expansion (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1966). 190 pages.

Gatewood, Jr., Willard B. “Smoked Yankees” and the Struggle for Empire: Letters from Negro Soldiers, 1898-1902 (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1971). 328 pages.

Jacobson, Matthew Frye. Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876-1917 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000). 265 pages.

LaFeber, Walter. The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion 1860-1898 (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1963). 417 pages.

Marks, George P., ed. The Black Press Views American Imperialism (1898-1900) (New York: Arno Press and The New York Times, 1971). 211 pages.

McDougall, Walter. Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997). 222 pages.

Rickover, H.G. How the Battleship Maine was Destroyed (Washington, D.C.: Naval History Division, Department of the Navy, 1976). 156 pages.

Stephanson, Anders. Manifest Destiny: American Expansionism and the Empire of Right (New York: Hill and Wang, 1995). 129 pages.

Tompkins, E. Berkeley. Anti-Imperialism in the United States: The Great Debate 1890-1920 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1970). 331 pages.

Trask, David F. The War with Spain in 1898 (New York: Macmillan, 1981). 624 pages.

Traxel, David. 1898: The Birth of the American Century (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998). 365 pages.

Wolff, Leon. Little Brown Brother (New York: Doubleday, 1961). 366 pages.

Zimmermann, Warren. First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002). 562 pages.

All Things Considered, November 2, 2006 (audio)
A resource for teachers and students produced by Small Planet communications in conjunction with The History Channel.
A wealth of materials from the Library of Congress that include photographs, timelines, and essays.
Records, illustrations, and information from the U.S. military.
A PBS website associated with its film. Includes film transcript, multimedia and timeline information, and educational resources.
A New York Public Library reference site including multimedia, chronology, and historical interpretations.
Photos, maps, and history on the 1893 World's Fair
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