Guiding Question:

How would the attitudes toward the "new immigrants" arriving in the United States from the 1880's until 1914 fuel a change in U.S. foreign policy and a change in how Americans viewed overseas peoples?

Introduction

poster

In this lesson you will be studying the growing involvement of the United States in the world from the era of the Civil War until the U.S. entry in World War One in 1917. During this time period the U.S. went from having almost no involvement in the affairs outside of the American continent to becoming a global power. The United States' defeat of Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898 was the turning point. It gave the U.S. control of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico and brought millions of people of color under the control of the United States.

While all of this was happening overseas, at home millions of new immigrants from southern and Eastern Europe arrived in the United States. The arrival of these newcomers and the acquisition of overseas territories fuelled new theories concerning the role of race and ethnicity on the development of human societies such as Social Darwinism and Eugenics. These theories proclaimed the superiority of Northern European cultures and races and these theories affected the way Americans viewed the non-white people they were now ruling.

In the course of this lesson you will be looking at how the attitudes towards the new immigrants in the United States affected the view the American people had of the peoples of the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

You will do this through the analysis of political cartoons, newspaper articles and poetry from the time period that influenced American attitudes toward the millions of immigrants arriving in the United States and the view of the people of the territory the U.S. acquired as a result of the Spanish American War. You will then analyze the primary sources presented in class in order to show how “old stock” Americans viewed the citizens in newly acquired territories and new immigrants in the United States. You will then create your own political cartoon, letter or speech in which you include the citizens of these new territories into the concept of “We the People.”