The American Empire started taking shape when the U.S. started enforcing the Monroe Doctrine in 1895, to assert its control over Latin America. America was just starting to build a navy that could compete with other world powers.
It wouldn’t have the chance to show off these powers until the Spanish-American War. America was outraged with the inhumain way, Spain was treating the Cubans. Civilians were being locked up in prison camps and dying
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never entered the war, but necessity arose. Imperialists and expansionists in this country, would likely oppose the war due to there being no chance in acquiring new territories. Finally it came down to us standing up to Germany, and showing the world that the U.S. is a new world power, and major player in world affairs. That is what we did by joining the war and setting the stage, for future global power structures.