American Imperialism and the Spanish-American War
With Ed O’Donnell, College of the Holy Cross and Patricia Fontaine, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Until the 1890s, America prided itself for its isolation from world affairs. Territorial ambitions and visions of empire were limited to westward expansion across the American continent. But in the 1890s, as the nation emerged as the world’s leading economic power, America took an increasingly aggressive role in international affairs. By 1910 America had become an imperial power, controlling territories around the globe such as the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Cuba, not to mention the Panama Canal. While many Americans welcomed these events as confirmation of the nation’s status as a world power, others were troubled by the seeming incompatibility of imperial conquest and republican government. The latter half of the day will include viewing the short documentary, “Savage Acts: Wars, Fairs, and Empire, 1898 – 1904” and strategies for teaching with this film and other resources related to the Spanish – American War, the Philippine War, and domestic culture and imperialism.

Session Materials and Resources

Advanced Reading and Writing Assignment:


Reminder Information about the Session:

Approximate Schedule:
8:00 - 8:15
Arrival, Check-in, Materials, and Breakfast
8:15 - 9:00
Introductions and Warm Up Activity
Kara Gleason, Project Director
9:00 - 11:30
with break
American Imperialism and the Spanish American War
Professor Ed O'Donnell, College of the Holy Cross
11:30 - 12:10
Lunch: bring a bagged lunch, visit the RMHS cafeteria or get local take out
12:15 - 2:15
Resources & Strategies for Teaching the Spanish American War and the War in the Philippines, With a Focus on "Savage Acts: Wars, Fairs, and Empire, 1898 - 1904" Documentary
Professor Patricia Fontaine, University of Massachusetts Lowell
2:15 - 2:30
Closing & Connections to the Standards in Historical Thinking

Connections to Standards:

History Connected Seminar #5