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Building an American EmpireThe Era of Territorial and Political Expansion$
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Paul Frymer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691166056

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691166056.001.0001

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America’s Settler Empire at the End of the Frontier

America’s Settler Empire at the End of the Frontier

Chapter:
(p.263) Chapter 7 America’s Settler Empire at the End of the Frontier
Source:
Building an American Empire
Author(s):

Paul Frymer

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691166056.003.0007

This chapter focuses on the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century, as the nation began to think of an overseas empire with the potential of going beyond the settler model. It first considers the views of Frederick Jackson Turner with regard to the closing of the frontier, as well as those of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and others who saw this moment as a transition from a settler nation to an empire more similar to those of Europe. This first step at a new empire was largely a failure as national legislators were reluctant to add nonwhite territories in any form. Indeed, Hawai'i is the one territory that eventually joined the United States during this time as a state. The chapter highlights a profound contradiction that Americans have never fully come to terms with: how to proceed with territorial expansion and endorse liberal ideals while maintaining a white settler nation.

Keywords:   the frontier, United States, empire, Frederick Jackson Turner, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Hawai'i, white settler nation, territorial expansion

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