How America became a superpower

The modern United States is the most powerful country in human history. With over 800 military bases and 37% of global military spending, the United States has become the leader of a vast interconnected global system that has helped usher in an era of unprecedented prosperity and low levels
of conflict. To understand America’s position in the
world, and why it’s so pivotal for world politics as we know it, you have to go back
to the country’s founding — back to when America wasn’t a global power in any sense
of the word. During the first 70 years of its existence,
the United States expanded in both territory and influence in North America eventually
reaching the Pacific Ocean in a wave of expansionism that resulted in the wholesale slaughter of
the indigenous people who populated the continent. But early Americans were deeply divided as
to whether the country should expand beyond the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. This became a major debate after the civil
war, when some leaders, like post-war Secretary of State Seward, argued that America
should push to become a global power. Seward succeeded in pushing a plan to purchase
Alaska from Russia, but his attempts to buy Greenland and Iceland, as well as annex territory
in the Caribbean, were all blocked by Congress. That’s because some Americans, including
many on Capitol Hill, had a strong anti-imperialist bent. These people worried about America getting
more involved in global politics, as well as having to integrate populations from “inferior”
races. And this opposition applied major checks on
the imperialist urge to expand. But something was happening in the late 1800s
that would change the debate about American expansionism. The industrial revolution produced explosive
economic growth, and the bigger US economy required a more centralized state and bureaucracy
to manage the growing economy. Power became concentrated in the federal government,
making it easier for expansionist presidents, like William Mckinley, to unilaterally push
United States influence abroad. The key turning point came in 1898, when President
McKinley dragged the country into war with Spain over the island of Cuba despite intense
opposition. The rising US easily defeated the moribund
Spanish empire, acquiring Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines in the process (1898). Over the next two years, the US would annex
the Kingdom of Hawaii (1898), Wake Island (1899), and American Samoa (1900). A few years later the US took control of the
Panama Canal Zone (1903) and sent troops to occupy the Dominican Republic (1916), it also
purchased the American Virgin Islands (1917). This period of rapid acquisition of far flung
territories put the US on the map as a truly global power. During this time, America also began using
its influence to protect its growing commercial and military interests abroad, installing
pro-American regimes in places like Nicaragua and playing a major role in international
diplomacy regarding the Western presence in China. World War I showed how just how much America’s
influence had grown. Not only was American intervention a decisive factor in the war’s end But President Wilson attended the Paris Peace
Conference which ended the war and attempted to set the terms of the peace. He spearheaded America’s most ambitious
foreign policy initiative yet, an international organization, called the League of Nations,
designed to promote peace and cooperation globally. The League, a wholesale effort to remake global
politics, showed just how ambitious American foreign policy had become. Yet isolationism was still a major force in
the United States. Yet isolationism was still a major force in
the United States. Congress blocked the United States from joining
the League of Nations, dooming Wilson’s project. During the Great Depression and the rise of
Hitler, the US was was much more focused on its own region than on European affairs
Ultimately, though, America’s ever-growing entanglements abroad made it impossible for
it to stay out of global affairs entirely. In East Asia, the growing Japanese empire
posed a the direct threat to American possessions and troops bringing the United States and Japan into conflict. This culminated in the Pearl Harbor attack bringing the United States into World War II. World War Two would transform America’s
global presence forever. The United States was the only major power
to avoid economic ruin during the war, and it was the sole country equipped with atomic
weapons. As such, it was in unique position to set
the terms of the peace — and, with the aim of preventing another war in mind, it took
advantage. The most famous example of this is the creation
of the United Nations. The UN charter set up a system of international
law prohibiting wars of conquest, like the ones waged by the Nazis and the Japanese. It also served as a forum in which the international
community could weigh in on disputes, and help resolve them. This way, the Americans hoped, great powers
could resolve their differences through compromise and law rather than war. But while the UN is the most famous of the
post-war institutions, it isn’t the only one. 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations
came together in a small vacation haven in New Hampshire. Their goal? To establish a global financial system that would prevent another Great Depression and World War. The resulting agreement, called the Bretton Woods Agreement ultimately became backbone of the global financial system. Resulting in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. By creating these institutions the United
States committed itself to being deeply involved in the world’s problems. The issue, though, is that the world’s second-largest
power — The Soviet Union — saw things differently. World War II had made allies out of the democratic
West and communist East in the fight against Hitler, but that couldn’t last. The United States saw Soviet expansion in
Eastern Europe and elsewhere as a direct threat to its vision of a free-trading world. “To a substantial degree, in one form or another” Socialism has spread the shadow of human regimentation Over most of the nations of the earth And… the shadow is encroaching on our own liberty. Fearful of Soviet intentions towards Western
Europe, the US and other European nations created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,
a military alliance meant to stop Russia from invading other countries in Europe. Globally, the US committed to a strategy called
“containment” — so called because it was aimed at containing the spread of Communism
everywhere on the globe. This new global struggle meant that the US
had to exert influence everywhere, all the time. Instead of disbanding the massive military
machine created for World War II, its wheels mostly kept turning. This had two main results: first, the US was
pulled into unlikely alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, and South Korea,
seeing each of them as bulwarks against communist influence in their region. Secondly, the US began intervening, often
secretly, in dozens of countries to contain Soviet influence. Sometimes this meant propping up sympathetic
dictators like in Iran, other times supplying rebels with arms and money like
in Afghanistan in 1979 and Nicaragua in 1985. Over the course of the Cold War, the US intervened
in hundreds of disputes around the globe, ending up with a complicated set of alliances, tensions, and relationships in basically every corner of the earth. After the Berlin wall fell, the US could have
withdrawn from this system, severing ties with its allies and drawing down the size
of its military. And while the US did military
spending, much of the military infrastructure and alliances from the Cold War war remained. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton
decided that it was in both America and the world’s interests for the United States,
now the sole superpower on earth, to continue actively managing global affairs. ” We should be and we must be Peacemakers” NATO, created solely as a tool for countering
the Soviets, stayed together and even expanded, a way of keeping European nations united in
the absence of the Soviet threat. Washington’s support for countries like
Israel and Japan stayed intact, ostensibly as a means of preventing war in those regions. The global system of alliances and institutions
created to keep the peace during the Cold War became permanent — as did the American
military and political commitments needed to keep them running . This system remains in operation today, and no leading
American politician since the Cold War has seriously called for dismantling them — except, perhaps for Donald Trump. Trump has said contradictory things about
these commitments. But he’s consistently argued that American
allies are not paying America enough for its protection, and questioned the value of free trade. That calls NATO and even the World Trade Organization into question. At some point, we have to say, you know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea. We’re better off if South Korea is going to start to protect itself — and Saudi Arabia?– Saudi Arabia? Absolutely. This is a sharp divergence from the consensus
that has dominated US foreign policy since 1945, and something closer to the isolationism
that came before it. So will President Trump act on some of candidate Trump’s ideas, and reverse decades worth of institution building and alliances? We’ll find out, soon enough.

100 Replies to “How America became a superpower

  1. America became a world power by kidnapping and enslaving Africans.Then by slaughtering weaker peoples like the Indians and stealing their resources. They are still doing this today.
    All world powers of history were just a gang of murderers and thieves. These include Rome England and Spain.

  2. America is a brand that wants to be sold for it's sevices like world police and having a growing GDP in order to obtain goods from other countries like oil. My opinion

  3. They even dont win the vietnam war against soviet backed vietnamese farmers how can they be more powerful than the roman empire british empire bc 500 s persian empire ?

  4. The US had that Civil war based on what they thought about the so-called inferior races and whether it was okay to keep them enslaved as a way to continue to thrive economically. Believers and detractors fought. The US and Japan both wanted to expand and bumped heads. Interesting.

  5. No mention of the fact that WW2 was the single greatest turning point in the US's role as a global power. It wasn't until this point that the US became the leader of the free world. This was a huge milestone that you should have put more emphasis on than just treating it as another link in the chain. There's a reason so many US history courses in schools/universities are titled "US history since 1945". Everything changed after WWII.

  6. I am from chile, where the cia put a right wing dictator and I’m glad they did, thanks to them my country ain’t like Cuba, the bad thing it’s that he killed people, but every military intervention would have people kiled

  7. Killing people, invading countries, stealing things, manipulating. That's how. Just as every other empire. The good thing, also as every empire, you will fall. It looks like you're already falling.

  8. Americans should learn World history how lots of other countries were rich one time where they now same thing will happened to US if they don’t smartened up

  9. quirky comment inbound!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    imagine yourself as a rotting, decaying, disgusting, disease-ridden corpse at the bottom of a grave and then think about how one day that will be you.
    you don't have to be in a grave

    it is because of this thought i have decided to pursue a life that i enjoy more and a life full of excitement and other cool things instead of spending hours on the internet insulting people over something that is actually completely meaningless in the long run. but unfortunately i do not believe the response to my comment will be positive (if anyone even sees this). maybe i will be surprised

  10. Most of the whites still have European heretic. Dont you forget that. All the best civilications started from Europe.

  11. I saw some history teacher in the University of Newark lecturing people about how Hinduism started after Nazism and shared core values of Nazism and how it's so violent(reading from a note no less), and honestly, I couldn't decide whether to laugh at her lack of knowledge about Hinduism or the sheer hypocrisy of the thought itself. It's like the whole process of this video- You invade places, you preach others not to invade places. Or sometimes, blame people who aren't even doing anything.
    PS: Nothing against Americans as to everyone I know from there's awesome, just some bigots who think they know everything about anything in the world.

  12. When you say 'America' do you mean all America? North America? South? Hey Vox.. are you working for the united states of America government?

  13. Naun alam kuna Kong bkit kumalas si p.duterte SA America.. KC ayaw na maging sinud sunuran !!…gstu Ng pilipinas na maging independent country..

  14. USA: use these 5 things to become superpower in at least 170 years
    Germany: use these 5 things to become superpower in at least 5 years

  15. yeah superpower indeed,a sign of that is the major cities are full of homeless people and used needles and everyone is on opiates.They make that Cadillac CTS-V though

  16. What about the bases for boats swap with the UK? That was significant as it swapped the UK and US’s international roles.

  17. You can hate how imperialistic and strategic we are militarily, but it is in the best interest of the American people and the worlds safety that we stay everywhere in arms reach.

  18. I hope the U.S. keeps stretching their money because, as a black dude and American, I don't want to see where this money would be used otherwise.

  19. So we just going to leave out how America was built on the back of slaves and all of the natives who were wiped out huh? I take it the thousands who disliked this are on a similar stand to me where once again the full story isn’t told just the parts that fit your narrative :/

  20. In my opinion WW1 happened devastating all European superpowers.Also WW2 added more devastation to all superpowers except USA,they had all their casualties either in Europe or Asia,so this gave USA a huge chance to boost their economy while everyone else was getting destroyed by each other,which gave them no chance to evolve

  21. The US in the 20’s and 30’s: The world is almost entering another war. I better not get involved.
    The US in the 60’s: Is Vietnam having a war completely unrelated to us? Better get involved, you never know.

  22. East= cummunists
    West= more of liberalists
    But both dominates world power. The power and money is concentrated in the hands of few powerful countries and they are a threat to everyone.

  23. It makes sense I mean all aside if ya like him or hate him. We have people HERE that are in a very bad way and at some point these countries should have had a plan to take care of their own needs , you can’t have one nation paying the bill for decades when we can’t afford to run our own. If you can’t afford your own groceries you don’t go buy everybody’s . It’s going to eventually wear down to this point.

  24. The whole worlds look on human life is inhumane and slavery ridden along with greed and big governments controlling people. If I was from a different planet I would never come to this planet it is truly a sick, sick, sick world to the max.

  25. So they basically done what Russia and China are trying to do now and they are not allowing them to do what they did hmm

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