The Age of Imperialism: Unit Test—Answer Key

Section 1: Multiple Choice (2 points each)

  1. (d) all of the above
  2. (c) Edo Bay.
  3. (a) the Constitution of 1887.
  4. (b) U.S.S. Maine.
  5. (c) printing sensational stories designed to sell newspapers.
  6. (d) the swift destruction of the Spanish fleet by American forces under Commodore Dewey.
  7. (b) a regiment of volunteer soldiers under Leonard Wood who fought in the Spanish-American War.
  8. (d) Emilio Aguinaldo.
  9. (a) areas of China in which certain European nations claimed exclusive trading rights.
  10. (b) the creation of the Panama Canal.

Section 2: Short Answers (5 points each)

  1. Fillmore requested that Japan open itself to trade with the United States.
  2. Dole was president of the provisional government that was established by American residents in Hawaii to replace the traditional monarchy. Dole later blocked President Cleveland's attempt to restore Queen Liliuokalani to the throne.
  3. The American press blamed the Spanish for blowing up the Maine, but no one ever determined who was truly responsible.
  4. Roosevelt was the most famous member of the Rough Riders, a regiment that fought in Cuba during the Spanish-American War and captured Kettle Hill.
  5. The Spanish-American War was "splendid" in that it was won quickly and decisively by the United States, with very few American casualties.
  6. More Americans died during the war in the Philippines, and the morality of fighting the war was far less clear. (There was no Maine incident to allow Americans to feel self-righteous.)
  7. The Boxers rebelled against foreign influence in China.
  8. The Open Door policy sought to open all of China—including the spheres of influence claimed by various European nations—to trade with the United States.
  9. Roosevelt saw the strategic importance of a canal linking the Pacific and Atlantic oceans at a time when the United States was acquiring a global empire. The canal would allow the U.S. navy to move quickly to defend the nation's interests in both oceans.
  10. Cornelius Vanderbilt was a wealthy businessman who had a transportation company in Nicaragua. He plotted to take control of the country by hiring William Walker to overthrow the government.

Section 3: Essay Questions (15 points each)

Possible answers are provided. For question #1, students might be expected to provide examples from two or three countries.

  1. The United States used several methods to gain control in foreign countries. For example, in Japan, the United States used the threat of military force—Commodore Perry's fleet of battleships in Edo Bay—to convince the Japanese government to agree to trade concessions. In Hawaii, Americans moved to the islands, started businesses, and gradually took over the economy. American residents created and controlled a legislature in Hawaii, and when Queen Liliuokalani tried to eliminate American influence in her nation's government, the Americans used military force and political maneuvering to defeat her and her supporters. Eventually the islands were annexed to the United States.

    Cuba and the Philippines were quite different situations. Following the explosion of the Maine and a Cuban revolt against Spanish rule, the United States went to war against Spain and easily defeated its fleet in the Philippines. The United States also defeated Spanish forces on the ground in Cuba and its navy in Santiago harbor. An uglier and more difficult war for the Americans developed in the Philippines. When Filipinos realized that the United States planned to assume control of their country rather than help their independence movement, a rebellion broke out. The United States spent three years fighting the rebels before taking control of the islands.

    In China, a rebellion against foreign influence (the Boxer Rebellion) led the United States to send in sailors and marines to defend American diplomats in Beijing. When the Boxers were defeated, John Hay made sure that his Open Door policy, which would allow the United States to trade freely throughout China, was part of the settlement. In Panama, Teddy Roosevelt used the U.S. navy as a "big stick" to ensure the United States would be able to build and control the canal he wanted to create. The Panama Canal gave the U.S. navy greater freedom to look after American interests in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

    In Nicaragua, American business owners invested in land, expecting a canal to be built in the country. Cornelius Vanderbilt and William Walker conspired to take over Nicaragua's government, leading to political instability. The U.S. government, looking out for the interests of American investors, sent in marines to squash a rebellion against a government friendly to the United States. After defeating the rebels, U.S. banks took over Nicaragua's customs collection and used the money to repay the American investors. U.S. military forces remained as "international police" in Nicaragua for 21 years.
  2. Fitzhugh Lee requested a battleship to protect American interests during some minor rebellions in Cuba. The Cubans did not view the presence of the Maine so benignly, however—it seemed like a direct threat to their safety and sovereignty. The explosion of the Maine was most likely a response to this threat. If Americans, Cubans, and Spaniards had communicated better about the meaning of the ship's presence, it may never have been bombed. Even if it the explosion had still happened, there would have been a better relationship within which the nations could have discussed the situation.
  3. Roosevelt's motto meant that American diplomacy should be backed up by a strong navy—in other words, the threat of military action if other nations did not meet U.S. demands. Roosevelt used this policy during negotiations over the Panama Canal. During a rebellion in Panama, TR sent marines to the country. In the face of this military strength, the rebels agreed to accept TR's offer of $10 million in exchange for complete control over the canal zone. (Students' answers will vary as to the effectiveness and rightness of this policy.)
  4. The cartoonist is saying that the American foreign policy of "civilizing" other nations by taking control of them is hypocritical. The speaker in the cartoon is Justice, personified by the woman holding the scales. While the United States contemplates taking over the allegedly uncivilized Philippines, she is pointing out the ways in which American society is uncivilized. She holds back a curtain that reveals racist repression—one African American is being lynched, while others suffer and die. The cartoonist's message is that other nations, such as the Philippines, are no more "uncivilized" than the United States, and that the idea of bringing civilization to other nations is no more than an excuse to extend the economic and political power of the United States.

Return to The Age of Imperialism: Lesson Plan.

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