This chapter focuses on the fourth “echo” of American constitutionalism: the Spanish-American War in 1898 which paved the way for the rise of the United States as an imperial power. After winning the Spanish-American War, the United States became a truly global power during the period between 1776 and 1900, acquiring the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the Hawaiian Islands, and the Samoan archipelage. These acquisitions enabled the U.S. to establish a major presence in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. The chapter examines the reasons why the United States became involved in the wave of imperialism. It also looks at the constitutional crisis that erupted between imperialists and anti-imperialists over the question of whether the U.S. Constitution followed the American flag wherever it flew overseas. It then considers the constitutional aspects of the United States's annexation of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands, along with the incorporation of Alaska and Hawaii as states in the Union. Finally, it assesses American imperialism in protectorates such as Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.
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