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Posted: January 26th, 2023

Essay 2: American Imperialism

Essay 2: American Imperialism

15% of final grade

Module 2 showcases American imperialism at the turn of the century. American intervention in the developing world attracted both supporters and detractors. Many Americans favored overseas expansion for the purpose of exporting American culture and maximizing business opportunities. Other Americans, especially those in the American Anti-Imperialist League, fought against what they considered were the imperial endeavors of a business and political elite. Historians have since written extensively in an effort to account for the rise in imperial efforts. Finally, the tensions in the debate over America’s role in world affairs were captured by popular cartoonists of the period.

For this essay, students will write a thesis-driven essay that addresses the following questions:
Why did Americans engage in imperialism (1890-1914)?
What pushed Americans to drop traditional isolationism and engage a more interventionist, imperialist foreign policy?
Students will also incorporate a discussion of 1 political cartoon that helps demonstrate/illustrate their answer to the above questions.

So, there are two related tasks that students will complete. It’s important for students to follow the organizational instructions carefully.
First, students will need to become familiar with the module readings. The Kruger and Jacobson articles (found in the module) will help students identify some of the motivations that historians have attributed to turn-of-the-century imperialism. The Kruger article discusses the broader interpretations that historians have assigned to better understand why Western nations engaged in imperialist endeavors—the economic, social, political, cultural, etc. Students will select one of the interpretations—economic, social, political, cultural, etc—to account for American imperialism in places like Cuba, China, Hawaii, the Philippines, etc. The Beveridge reading is a primary source that discusses how contemporaries understood American imperialism. Also, the Aguinaldo article offers a critical contemporary review of American intentions in the Philippines.

The essay must begin with a formal introduction that presents a thesis statement. In this case, the thesis will answer what you consider was the primary factor that motivated American imperialism. The thesis statement can be one or two sentences. It must make absolutely clear what the argument of the essay is. The argument is essentially your answer to the above questions. Then, the introduction will also identify the cartoon and discuss in a sentence or two how the image demonstrates your argument (what was the motivating factor behind American imperialism).

After the introduction, in the first 2-4 body paragraphs, students will pick one of the historical interpretations to explain their response the following questions:
Why did Americans engage in imperialism (1890-1914)?
What pushed Americans to drop traditional isolationism and engage a more interventionist, imperialist foreign policy?
The research on the topic has already been done, so just rely on the historians in the Kruger article to help formulate your argument. But remember, to prove your argument you will need to draw on actual historical information. The argument should be at the very center of the discussion in the body paragraphs, accompanied by relevant examples/evidence to prove your argument. You must have evidence to prove your argument. The essay should not be a series of claims or a general discussion of the history of imperialism. You must convince the reader (me) that the factor identified and illustrated with evidence offers the most accurate explanation for why Americans engaged in imperialism.
So, for instance, “as demonstrated in Hobson’s works, imperialism was motivated by economic factors. We see this in American imperialism in historical example 1, 2, and 3.” Then you need to explain historical example 1, 2 and 3, and how exactly they match with the economic explanation.
===>
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American imperialism was a controversial topic, with many Americans supporting overseas expansion for the purpose of exporting American culture and maximizing business opportunities, while others opposed what they considered to be the imperial endeavors of a business and political elite. Historians have since written extensively in an effort to account for the rise in imperial efforts. In this essay, I will argue that the primary factor that motivated American imperialism was economic interests, as demonstrated by the political cartoon “The Imperialism Bugaboo” by cartoonist Homer Davenport.
The cartoon depicts a businessman holding a bugaboo (a type of scarecrow) labeled “Imperialism” and using it to scare off a group of workers, while he and other businessmen profit from the resources and labor of colonized countries. This image illustrates how economic interests played a significant role in American imperialism, as American businesses sought to expand their markets and access resources in other countries.
Historians have also attributed economic motivations to American imperialism. For example, as argued by J.A. Hobson in his book “Imperialism: A Study,” the growing economic power of American businesses in the late 19th century led them to seek new markets and resources in other countries. This is exemplified in American imperialism in places like Cuba

Next, students have identified an argument and proved the argument with references to actual, factual historical evidence. The last half of the essay (2-3 paragraphs) will identify a cartoon that comports with your thesis. In other words, once you have discussed the factor that led to American imperialism (the argument in the first part of the essay), then discuss the contents/message of a cartoon that helps illustrate why your interpretation is in fact valid. You must select 1 cartoon from the on-line sources listed below. The cartoon must have an obvious connection to your argument that explains the reasoning/justification/interpretation of why Americans engaged in imperialism. The analysis/discussion of the cartoon, in relation to the earlier thesis, fills the remaining 2-3 paragraphs. So, for instance, if you argued in the first part of the essay that American imperialism was motivated by factor X, then the cartoon you select needs to show factor X, and then you explain the details of the cartoon and how they relate to factor X.

The cartoon must align, in a very obvious way, with the argument presented in the first part of the essay.

The cartoon must come from the period 1890-1914.

You should consider the following topics in the second part of your essay:
-How does the cartoon validate/justify/illustrate why your interpretation of American imperialism is historically accurate?
-place the cartoon in the proper historical context. That is, discuss what events are going on in American foreign policy that prompted the cartoonists to complete their work. Background information should not dominate your essay, but you should show that you are informed with the historical events that led to the cartoon.
-identify and explain the perspective(s) of the cartoonist. Is the cartoonist drawing a cartoon in favor of or against imperialism? What is the message the cartoonist is attempting to convey?
-who was the artist?
-where was the cartoon published?
-why was the cartoon drawn?
Use the following resources to identify your cartoon
https://hti.osu.edu/opper/lesson-plans/american-imperialismLinks to an external site.

https://www.archives.gov/files/legislative/resources/education/america-and-the-world/ebook.pdfLinks to an external site.

https://cartoons.osu.edu/Links to an external site.

http://www.yourhistorysite.com/PDFs%202009/Imperialism/Political%20Cartoons%20Imperialism.pdfLinks to an external site.

https://courses.lumenlearning.com/atd-sanjac-ushistory2/chapter/1898-2/Links to an external site.
Writing Standards
The essay will be 3-4 pages long (approximately 1200 words.
Standard margins.
12 point times new roman font.
In-text parenthetical citations. For example: (Foner, 3), or (Johnson, 25).
The essay needs to reference/cite at least 3 sources from the list of required resources (readings/videos). If the essay does not reference at least 3 sources, the grade will be penalized. The reference to the cartoon does not count toward the 3 source minimum.
All essays need to be submitted to turn-it-in, through canvas. I will not grade the essay if it’s not submitted to turn-it-in.
Proofread the essay. If I can’t understand the writing, the grade will be penalized.
The rubric is posted on the course portal.
Every essay needs a formal works cited page. Remember to cite each individual source. MLA format for works cited page.
There is no need to consult outside sources. All of the information needed to complete this essay is found in the module. Students must reference the Johnson text.

Structure of Essay
-Every essay should have a formal introduction (paragraph 1). The purpose of the introduction for this essay is to identify the thesis about the motivations behind American imperialism and a couple of sentences on the cartoon, as well as to set up a little of the historical context.
-After the introduction, the essay should spend 2-4 paragraphs discussing the argument (the first task). Identify the factor that you think was the leading cause of American imperialism and then explain why. You must reference actual historical evidence to prove your argument. Specific pieces of historical information that validate your argument as to what led Americans to engage in imperialism must be incorporated in your writing. Without evidence you have no argument.
-When addressing the second task, students must clearly identify the cartoon and then discuss why the cartoon helps illustrate your argument about the motivations that contributed to American imperialism. Use the cartoon as a piece of evidence to drive home your point. This task should be completed in the final 2-3 body paragraphs.
-Each essay should contain a short, formal conclusion (final paragraph) that restates the central themes discussed in the body paragraphs, offers broader conclusions about American history, or even tries to connect the paper to contemporary events.

If the essay fails to meet the above requirements the grade will be penalized.

Remember, your essay needs to write about events that took place between 1890-1914.
Do not include information about American foreign policy before or after this period.
You will not be given credit for information that takes the discussion outside of this period.

Due: February 5, 11:59 pm

After completing these tasks and objectives, students will be able to:
• Course Objective 1 (CO1). Assess key events, central themes, and questions pertaining to recent United States history.
• Gain experience reading and analyzing written arguments by engaging with a variety of types of sources.
• Learn and apply the techniques of writing an argumentative, thesis-driven and evidence-based paper
• Students will construct an evidence-based argument demonstrating how local, regional, national, and global events shaped the interactions of two or more groups in the United States. (Global Awareness)
• Students will construct an evidence-based argument that integrates multiple perspectives on an issue in Modern US History. (Global Perspective)
• Students will consider different perspectives on a problem or controversy related to Modern US History and attempt to reach a resolution about it. (Global Engagement)

Rubric
Calvo essay rubric (1) (12)
Calvo essay rubric (1) (12)
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOverall Impression 20 to >16.8 pts
Excellent
Author directly addresses the main question or issue, and adds new insight to the subject not provided in lectures, readings, or class discussions. The author has retained nearly all of the knowledge presented in class. He/She is able to synthesize this knowledge in new ways and relate to material not covered in the course. 16.8 to >13.6 pts
Proficient
Author competently addresses main question or issue, but does not add much new insight into the subject. That said, it is clear that the author has learned a great deal in class and is able to communicate this knowledge to others. 13.6 to >10.4 pts
Limited
Author attempts to address the main question or issue, but fails. The author has retained some information from the course, but does not fully understand its meaning or context and cannot clearly convey it to others. 10.4 to >0 pts
Poor
Essay does NOT address the main question or issue, and it is obvious that the author has not retained any information from the course.
20 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeArgument 15 to >12.6 pts
Excellent
Essay contains a clear argument—i.e., lets the reader know exactly what the author is trying to communicate. 12.6 to >10.2 pts
Proficient
An argument is present, but reader must reconstruct it from the text. 10.2 to >7.8 pts
Limited
Author attempts, but fails, to make an argument (e.g., starts with a rhetorical question/statement or anecdote that is never put into context). 7.8 to >0 pts
Poor
No attempt is made to articulate an argument.
15 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeEvidence 20 to >16.8 pts
Excellent
Provides compelling and accurate evidence that convinces reader to accept main argument. The importance/relevance of all pieces of evidence is clearly stated. There are no gaps in reasoning—i.e., the reader does not need to assume anything or do additional research to accept main argument. 16.8 to >13.6 pts
Proficient
Provides necessary evidence to convince reader of most aspects of the main argument but not all. The importance/ relevance of some evidence presented may not be totally clear. Reader must make a few mental leaps or do some additional research to fully accept all aspects of main argument. 13.6 to >10.4 pts
Limited
Not enough evidence is provided to support the author’s argument, or evidence is incomplete, incorrect, or oversimplified. Information from lectures and readings is not effectively used. 10.4 to >0 pts
Poor
Either no evidence is provided, or there are numerous factual mistakes, omissions or oversimplifications. There is little or no mention of information from lectures and readings.
20 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSources 15 to >12.6 pts
Excellent
Evidence is used from a wide range of sources. When required, the author also consults scholarly books, websites, journal articles, etc. not explicitly discussed in class. 12.6 to >10.2 pts
Proficient
Evidence is used from many sources, but the author relies heavily on a more limited set of sources. Some effort is made to go beyond material presented in class when required, but not much. If outside sources are used, they are primarily non-scholarly (i.e., intended for a general audience) and/or web-based. 10.2 to >7.8 pts
Limited
Uses only a few of the sources provided in class, or does not go beyond what has been provided by professor when required to do additional research. 7.8 to >0 pts
Poor
Does not use sources, only minimally uses sources provided by instructor, or relies exclusively on non-scholarly outside sources.
15 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeCitations 10 to >8.4 pts
Excellent
All evidence is properly cited. The essay contains a bibliography. 8.4 to >6.8 pts
Proficient
All evidence is cited, but there are some minor problems with completeness or format of some citations. 6.8 to >5.2 pts
Limited
Some pieces are unreferenced or inaccurately referenced. 5.2 to >0 pts
Poor
No attempt is made to cite evidence.
10 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganization 10 to >8.4 pts
Excellent
Essay contains an intro, main body, and conclusion. Introduction lays out main argument and gives an outline of what the reader can expect in the essay. The conclusion brings everything together, acknowledges potential shortcomings of the paper, and gives the reader a sense of what further work might be done to advance the subject matter described in the paper. 8.4 to >6.8 pts
Proficient
Essay contains an intro, main body, and conclusion. The introduction lays out the main argument but gives the reader little idea of what to expect in the essay. The conclusion nicely summarizes the main argument and evidence, but does not move beyond what has already been presented in the paper. 6.8 to >5.2 pts
Limited
Essay contains an intro, main body, and conclusion. The introduction gives the reader an idea of what to expect in the paper, but does not effectively lay out the main argument. It may begin with a set of rhetorical questions, or an anecdote that is never fully explained. The conclusion does little more than restate the problematic introduction. Intro and/or conclusion may be too wordy or short. 5.2 to >0 pts
Poor
Essay has no clear organizational pattern.
10 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeClarity and Style 10 to >8.4 pts
Excellent
All sentences are grammatically correct and clearly written. No words are misused or unnecessarily fancy. Technical terms, words from other languages, and words from other historical periods are always explained. All information is accurate and up-to-date. Paper has been spell-checked AND proofread (ideally by you and somebody else), and contains no errors. 8.4 to >6.8 pts
Proficient
All sentences are grammatically correct and clearly written. An occasional word is misused or unnecessarily fancy. Technical terms, words from other languages, and words from other historical periods are usually, but not always, explained. All information is accurate and up-to-date. Paper has been spell-checked AND proofread, and contains no more than a few minor errors, which do not adversely affect the reader’s ability to understand the essay. 6.8 to >5.2 pts
Limited
A few sentences are grammatically incorrect or not clearly written. Several words are misused. Technical terms, words from other languages, and words from other historical periods are rarely explained. Not all information is accurate and up-to-date. Paper has been spell-checked AND proofread, but still contains several errors. Reader’s ability to understand essay may be compromised by these errors. 5.2 to >0 pts
Poor
Paper is full of grammatical errors and bad writing. Several words are misused. Technical terms, words from other languages, and words from other historical periods are rarely explained. Not all information is accurate and up-to-date. Paper has not been spell-checked or proofread, and contains numerous errors. Reader has a difficult time understanding essay because of errors.
10 pts

Total Points: 100
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