Unit 6: Imperialism in the Far East and the Americas


Imperialism in the Far East and the Americas


China, once the most civilized and advanced nations in the world, began to rapidly decline in the 19th century. European imperial interests destabilized the government leading to rebellion and halfhearted reforms. Meanwhile Japan, learning from China’s example, adopted western ways by rapidly modernizing and seeking an empire of its own. By adopting western ways Japan was able to avoid being taken over like Africa or carved into spheres of influence like China. Meanwhile smaller Asian nations were able to escape domination by claiming it was in the best interests of the Europeans. These nations, like Thailand, were able to remain as independent buffer states so long as it benefited the Europeans.  The United States also became an imperialist power during this time by forcing Japan open to trade and by inheriting an empire in the Spanish-American War. However America was not a reluctant empire builder as the nation also took steps to secure Hawaii as a part of the United States’ growing empire.

Essential Questions

  1. Was Europe’s interventions in China warranted?
  2. Can the “white man’s conquest” of the Philippines be justified?
  3. Was the United States justified in taking over Philippines?
  4. How can geography play a major role in determining who is colonized and how?
  5. Does the need for self-defense give the US the right to interfere in the affairs of other nations?
  6. Was the United States imperialistic in the Far East?

Key Themes

  •  Power, Authority and Governance
  • Production, Distribution and Consumption
  • Global Connections



Unit 6 Far East Imperialism notes