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American Lit & History: US Imperialism Project: Home

Research Guide for the 2014-2015 Junior Research Paper on US Imperialism

Major Dates

Item Due

Due Date


Thursday January 29th


Tuesday February 3re

1st Source Dialogue

Friday February 6th

2nd Source Dialogue

Thursday February 12th

3rd Source Dialogue

Thursday February 12th

4th Source Dialogue

Friday February 13th

Outline, Works Cited

Tuesday February 24th

Rough Draft

Monday March 2nd

Notecards and Source Dialogue Packet

Monday March 9th


Monday March 9th

Papers Returned

Monday March 23rd (at the latest)

2nd Revision*

Thursday April 2nd

Project Description

Our Question: Does U.S. Imperialism Exist?

Imperialism is the policy of extending the rule or authority of a nation over foreign countries or colonies and may include political, economic, military and cultural influence.  When settlers from Britain established colonies in the Americas, they were advancing the interests of the British Empire in an imperial endeavor.  The purpose of imperialism is often to raise money or raw materials but may also be strategic.  Imperialism generally happens when a stronger country extends its influence over a weaker country.


When used in reference to U.S. foreign policy, the term imperialism is controversial because it suggests aggression.  In fact, the American Anti-Imperialist League first used the term in the mid-1800s to criticize U.S. involvement in the Spanish American War.  Some modern scholars doubt whether the term is even coherent enough to use in analysis of U.S. foreign policy (some prefer the term “hegemony”).

Topics (Refer to the Topic Summaries Handout for more detailed information)

Examples of Early US Imperialism (1898-1935)

  • Hawaii
  • Spanish-American War
  • Cuba
  • Philippines
  • Haiti
  • Puerto Rico
  • Panama Canal/Colombia
  • Nicaragua
  • Dominican Republic

Imperialism in the Context of the Cold War (1945-1989)

  • Cuba
  • Guatemala
  • Dominican Republic
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • El Salvador
  • Vietnam
  • Grenada
  • Iran

Post-Cold War Military Action by the US

  • Panama
  • Somalia
  • Haiti
  • Kosovo
  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan

Anti-Imperialist Efforts in the US

  • American Anti-Imperialist League (1898-1935)
  • FDR's Good Neighbor Policy (1930s)
  • Students for a Democratic Society (1960s)
  • Anti-Iraq War Movement (2003-present)


Need Help?

Don't fall behind!

If you are struggling and need help with any aspect of the paper, see your teachers. 

Ms. Grimaldi

Ms. Kim

Mrs. Karasin

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