Theme II: Promoting the ideals Internationally

What you should know:

Ways in which the U.S. intervened overseas.

What you should understand:

The U.S. acted similarly as it had in the West.

What you should be able to do:

Determine the consequences of U.S. expansion.


Queen Lili’uokalani Protests U.S. Intervention in Hawaii, 1897


I, Liliuokalani of Hawaii, do hereby protest against the ratification of a certain treaty, which, so I am informed, has been signed at Washington, purporting to cede those Islands to the territory and dominion of the United States.  I declare such a treaty to be an act of wrong toward the native and part-native people of Hawaii, an invasion of the rights of the ruling chiefs, in violation of international rights both toward my people and toward friendly nations with whom they have made treaties, the perpetuation of the fraud whereby the constitutional government was overthrown, and, finally, an act of gross injustice to me….


Because [my previous] protest and my communications to the United States Government immediately thereafter expressly declare that I yielded my authority to the forces of the United States in order to avoid bloodshed….


Because the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and an envoy commissioned by them reported in official documents that my government was unlawfully coerced by the forces, diplomatic and naval, of the United States; that I was the constitutional ruler of my people….


Because neither the above-named commission nor the government which sends it has ever received any such authority from the registered voters of Hawaii, but derives its assumed powers from the so-called committee of public safety, said committee being composed largely of persons claiming American citizenship, and not one single Hawaiian a member thereof.


Because my people…have in no way been consulted by those…who claim the right to destroy the independence of Hawaii….


Because said treaty ignores…all treaties made by [Hawaiian] sovereigns with other and friendly powers, and it is thereby in violation of international law….


Therefore, I, Liliuokalani of Hawaii, do hereby call upon the President of that nation, to whom alone I yielded my property and my authority, to withdraw said treaty (ceding the Islands) from further consideration.  I ask the honorable Senate of the United States to decline to ratify said treaty, and I implore the people of this great and good nation, from whom my ancestors learned the Christian religion, to sustain their representatives in such acts of justice and equity as may be in accord with the principles of their fathers, and to the Almighty Ruler of the universe, to him who judgeth righteously, I commit my cause.


The Teller Amendment, 1898


The United States hereby [denies] any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said island [Cuba] except for the pacification thereof, and asserts its determination when that is accomplished to leave the government and control of the island to its people.


The Platt Amendment, 1903


Article 1: The Government of Cuba shall never enter into any treaty or other compact with any foreign power or powers which will impair or tend to impair the independence of Cuba, nor in any manner authorize or permit any foreign power or powers to obtain colonization or for military or naval purposes, lodgment in or control over any portion of said island…

Article III: The Government of Cuba consents that the United States may exercise the right to intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty….


Article V: The Government of Cuba will execute… the plans already devised… assuring the protection to the people and commerce of Cuba, as well as to the commerce of the Southern ports of the United States and the people residing therein….


Article VII: To enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the Government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or naval stations, at certain specific points, to be agreed upon with the President of the United States.



Emilio Aguinaldo Rallies the Philippine People to Arms, 1899


By my proclamation of yesterday I have published the outbreak of hostilities between the Philippine forces and the American forces of occupation in Manila, unjustly and unexpectedly provoked by the latter.


I [previously] published the grievances suffered by the Philippine forces at the hands of the army of occupation.  The constant outrages and taunts, which have caused the misery of the people of Manila, and, finally the useless conferences and contempt shown the Philippine government prove the transgression of justice and liberty.


I know that war has always produced great losses; I know that the Philippine people have not yet recovered from past losses and are not in the condition to endure others.  But I also know by experience how bitter is slavery, and by experience I know that we should sacrifice all on the altar of our honor and of the national integrity so unjustly attacked.


I have tried to avoid… armed conflict, in my endeavors to assure our independence by pacific means and to avoid more costly sacrifices.  But all my efforts have been useless against the measureless pride of the American Government and of its representatives in these islands, who have treated me as a rebel because I defend the sacred interest of my country….


We can repulse the foreign invasion as long as we wish to do so.  Providence always has… prompt help for the weak in order that they may not be annihilated by the strong; that justice may be done and humanity progress.


Be not discouraged.  Our independence has been watered by the generous blood of our martyrs.  Blood which may be shed in the future will strengthen it….


But remember that in order that our efforts may not be wasted, that our vows may be listened to, that our ends may be gained, it is indispensable that we adjust our actions to the rules of law and of right, learning to triumph over our enemies and to conquer our own evil passions




Instructions to Commodore Matthew Perry for his Expedition to Japan, 1852


It can hardly be doubted that if Japan were situated as near the continent of Europe or of America as it is to that of Asia, its government would long since have been either treated as barbarians, or been compelled to respect those usages of civilized states of which it receives the protection….


Recent events—the navigation of the ocean by steam, the acquisition and rapid settlement by this country of a vast territory on the Pacific [California], the rapid communication established across the isthmus which separates the two oceans—have practically brought the countries of the east in closer proximity to our own….


The objects sought by this government are—

1.       To effect some permanent arrangement for the protection of American seamen and property wrecked on these islands….

2.       The permission to American vessels to enter one or more of their ports in order to obtain supplies of provisions, water fuel, or, in case of disasters, to refit so as to enable them to continue their voyage….

3.       The permission to our vessels to enter one or more of their ports for the purpose of disposing of their cargoes by sale or barter….


You will, therefore, be pleased to direct the commander of the squadron [Perry] to proceed, with his whole force, to… the coast of Japan… and open a communication with the government…. He will state that he has been sent across the ocean by the President…. That the President entertains the most friendly feeling toward Japan….


If, after having exhausted every argument and every means of persuasion, the commodore should fail to obtain from the government any relaxation of their system… he will then change his tone, and inform them in the most unequivocal terms that it is the determination of this government to insist…. That if any acts of cruelty should hereafter be practiced upon citizens of this country, they will be severely [punished]….


He will do everything to impress them with a just sense of the power and greatness of this country….



Colombia States its Grievances Against the United States, 1904


First.  That the note from your excellency is regarded by my Government as a [warning] that the Colombian forces will be attacked by those of the United States on their entering the territory of Panama for the purpose of subduing the rebellion….


Second.  That the revolution of Panama would have yielded, or would not have taken place, if the American sailors and agents of the Panama Canal had not prevented the Colombian forces from proceeding on their march toward Panama….


Third.  That the charges officially made against the Government and Senate of Colombia that it was opposed to the work of the Panama Canal, because the treaty was contrary to the constitution of the country, which prohibits the cession of sovereignty over national territory….


Sixth.  That it is known that the garrisons of Panama and Colon were brought with gold brought from the United States by the Panama revolutionists.


Seventh.  That if these revolutionists had not relied, and did not now rely, on the armed protection of the United States, whose powerful squadrons on both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans have prevented the Colombian army from landing its forces, the Panama revolution would have been foiled by Colombia in a few hours…




S. Wells Williams Remembers Protestant Missionary Work in China, 1883


[From] my experiences in the forty-three years of my life in China…. I am assured of a great future for the sons of Han [China]; but the progress of pure Christianity will be the only adequate means to save the conflicting elements involved in such a growth from destroying each other…. The time is speedily passing away when the people can fairly be classed among uncivilized nations.… [I] hope that the cause of missions may be promoted.  In the success of this cause lies the salvation of China as a people, both in its moral and political aspects…. Soon railroads, telegraphs, and manufactures will be introduced, and these must be followed by whatsoever may conduce to enlightening the millions of the people of China in every department of religious, political, and domestic life….





U.S. Overseas Expansion



In what ways did the U.S. intervene?

What were the consequences of U.S. intervention?


















































·          Were the motives for overseas expansion similar to or different from the motives for Westward expansion?

·          Were the consequences of overseas expansion similar to or different from the consequences of Westward expansion?

·          Did the U.S. act according to its ideals?

How did expansion help the U.S. become a world Power