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How America became a superpower

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 comments on “How America became a superpower

  1. I watch Vox videos when I want the eighth grade explanation of a topic, but some people here think that Vox is the end all be all of truth

  2. If South Korea and Japan fall, China and North Korea control Asia and God know what catastrophe the U.S about to face in Asia- Pacific region

  3. land rich in natural resources,huge manpower and the 2 world wars in the span of 40 years that destroyed europe, and in both ww,the us enter both in the middle of the war

  4. Seems to me that you completly dismiss the importance of WW1 in the rise in power of USA.
    Selling and supporting the Entente did allow for the growth of their Industrial power.

  5. It's called the NWO, VOX…. But, we sold our soul to Israel. Yet, Israel wasn't even a country yet… We were used as we are today, I love Jews but disliked every single form of Zionism…

  6. American: “I enjoy living in the United States!”
    European, edgy American, Reddit historian: ”UHM ACKSHUALLY AMERICA BAD”

  7. Simple rule to become wealthy by stealing resources of other countries and creating conflicts among poor/underdeveloped countries like UK USA did in 19th,20th centuries

  8. Good overview…I might add that WAR is essential to U.S. growth… in their book GOLD WARRIORS the SEAGRAVES exposed how MacArthur had liberated a portion of the vast treasure trove from the Philippine islands, which had been looted from 12 Asian countries by Japan and stored in some 175 sites all over the islands… and how some of this bounty was handed back to the Meiji Empire and the rest were used in developing America, its infrastructure … its vast military industrial complex, including the CIA…the UN, World Bank, IMF etc… And the funds continue to be used to foment WAR. No small wonder that in the invasion of Iraq, the first casualty was its museum , which held ancient treasures and antiquities, a lot of which are now in the hands of The Ruling Class.

  9. Because the United States allowed freedom and liberty like no other country that gave the greatest opportunity to humans to be what they wanted to be. They could work and create inventions and build their economy in a free market.

  10. have you ever seen Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows?
    Professor James Moriarty is FDR
    the amount of gold America got from europe is astonishing. By the end of the war, two thirds of all gold ever mined was on American soil.
    The Breton woods agreement is basically America telling the world, we will be your bank, send us all the rest of the gold. And since we had nukes, everyone did.
    Then the Federal Reserve was created a private company to control the Gold and be the bank… how that happened i have no f-ing clue.
    but the Federal reserve printed more bank notes then they had in gold… surprise surprise, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    the world found out and demanded their gold back, and the Feds went to Nixon and told him to cut the gold standard. He did, an act punishable by death in the constitution.
    Now the world is a floating fiat currency tied to nothing. You might have heard of the term bubble? well think of it more as a balloon. It is not tied down and will go up and up, until it pops.
    Not one single Fiat currency has lasted in the history of Mankind, and we have a world wide fiat currency. hmm i wonder what is gonna happen?
    money keeps getting printed like it is going out of style, and the debt ceiling keeps going up and up… problem is the debt ceiling is going up faster the currency is being debased. Which is why it is going up in the first place.
    When it pops, one nation will present a solution. another world bank tied to gold… wait didn't we just do that?
    Yes, and Absolute power corrupts absolutely. You will see, but will it be to late for you? will you be marked in your head or hand before you realize the mistake?
    Worship God the Father who created heaven and earth, or worship a man who all call papa.
    Do not touch his golden image.

  11. The reason I watch the Box videos is two fold. Thumb down the video and see how long I can watch before I disagree. In this case it was 19 seconds. Please stop feeding your viewers BS. Thank you.

  12. “The modern United States is the most powerful country in human history”

    Genghis Khan, Queen Victoria and Julius Caesar want to have a word with you…

  13. Check out Reagan's D-Day speech on the issue of isolationism and the breadth of US military influence. Really puts it into perspective

  14. is the usa really the most powerfull country in human history? i heard legends about multiple empires who were by far more powerfull

  15. It's very simple, America have imperialistic politics. They wanna rule the world, they wanna have the biggest amount of weapons, biggest amounts of oil, to control media, to control nations and people's . And this policy is dangerous and wrong and leads to wars and destruction…

  16. History sanitised by USA omissions and distortions. Is this what USA children are told is the full and true story? The USA claimed Hawaii when American terrorists took control in an armed rebellion and deposed the Queen of Hawaii. President Clinton apologised but announced that the USA was there to stay.
    China claims to annex uninhabited islands in the South China Sea, 8564 miles or 13,753 kilometres from the USA. With China there was no killing of local inhabitants, no war or revolution, just a claim to own the islands close to China in China’s major trading sea lanes to the West. The USA claims China may close the sea lanes. But China is ensuring that the sea lanes remain open.
    The USA. Europe and Britain have been invading Asia for hundreds of years but Asians want their independence, self rule, their own territory and the right to manage and profit from their own resources.
    ‘GO HOME YANK!’ The Asian masses whisper.

  17. The UN was created by america to justify their attrocities over the world (iraq,afghanistan,panama,libya)
    The UN works only on the weak countries.

  18. I am imagining how world would be peaceful If america would be removed from the map of the world. I am really excited for the future.

  19. the superpowers since the 1400s

    1400-1600s – The Spanish Empire and Portuguese Empire

    1600s-1947 – The British Empire

    1947-1991 – The Soviet Union and America

    1991-Present – United States of America

  20. Hahaha, if you watched until the end when Trump is asked about Saudi Arabia and pulling out the support, well after the biggest refinery got hit a few days ago, he is deploying troops over there. Hypocrisy show.

  21. Yes, Trump did dismantle important things, but not actually these institutions… so, as always, he just lied about his intentions before being elected. And in this case, maybe it's a good thing for the world.

  22. The basis of US power is the US dollar after the Bretton Woods agreement.
    Power follows a simple pattern: if you are able to print the money that makes things move, you are in power.
    The major problem however is: all major central banks including the FED are controlled by private interests, meaning democracy is not possible today unless we change those power structures.

  23. Why are u using "America" as if this was the name of USA? Pls, go back to school and learn what America really is…

  24. 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.

  25. 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

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