Age of American Imperialism

The Age of American Imperialism saw the expansion of the United States’ economic, political, and cultural influence beyond its borders during the final decades of the 19th century through the beginning of World War I (1914). The Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War occurred during this time, as did the building of the Panama Canal and exertion of U.S. control over places such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Philippines, and the Hawaiian Islands.

Explore the topics below to learn more about this period through newspaper articles and clippings.

U.S. Immigration Station, Angel Island, San Francisco Bay

Angel Island Immigration Station

Angel Island Immigration Station was an immigration station located in San Francisco Bay which operated from January 21, 1910 to November 5, 1940, where immigrants entering the United States were detained and interrogated. The island was originally a fishing and hunting site for Coastal Miwok Indians, then it was a haven for Spanish explorer Juan …Read More

A ship sails through the Panama Canal in 1915

Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a 48-mile-long man-made waterway located in Central America. It connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through a series of locks, channels, and artificial lakes. The canal was begun by the French in the late 1800s, but that project ended in failure. It became the pet project of President Theodore Roosevelt, and …Read More

Philippine-American War: Filipino soldiers outside Manila, 1899

Philippine-American War

The Philippine-American War (sometimes called the Philippine Insurrection) was an armed conflict that took place between February 4, 1899, and July 2, 1902. The war would last three years and end with the Philippines under American control for decades. Background During the Spanish-American War (April–August 1898), Filipino fighters helped the Americans defeat the Spanish in …Read More

USS Maine, circa 1897

Sinking of the USS Maine

On February 15, 1898, at 9:40 p.m., the battleship USS Maine exploded then sank in Havana Harbor, killing about 260 of the 355 men on board. This international disaster, which the United States blamed on Spain, became an important catalyst for the Spanish-American War. Background At the time, Cuban guerillas were engaged in a brutal …Read More

Spanish-American War: “Colonel Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at the top of the hill which they captured, Battle of San Juan,” by William Dinwiddie

Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American War was fought between April 21 and August 13, 1898. The U.S. victory against the Spanish resulted in the collapse of what remained of Spain’s colonial empire and heralded America’s entrance as a major player on the world stage. Causes The catalyst for America’s declaration of war was the sinking of the USS …Read More