By the late 1800s, America was rapidly on the rise as a strong nation. One-hundred years before, this had not been the case. America was just beginning the road of independence and becoming its own nation, instead of being governed by a larger one. As America became more and more stable, the country began to expand. First, it captured places in the South, and then began its move West. By the late 1800s, America reached from one coast to the other, yet Americans still wanted more, so they looked to their neighbors. The expansionism of the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century was mostly a continuation of the expansionism of American history based on the reasons of protection, power, and profit.
The United States during this time period was rapidly becoming one of the largest nations in the world, and what a large nation needs is a large amount of protection. Originally, Secretary Adams had persuaded President Monroe to agree with his thinking back in 1823. From this, the Monroe Doctrine was put into place, which stated that there was to be no more colonization by foreign countries in the Americas. It also proclaimed that monarchies should be kept away from this continent, or the United States would react with military strength. This of course had only been a bluff. However, at the end of the 1800s, the American people wanted military protection from nearby foreign neighbors. As depicted in Thomas Nast's "The World's Plunderers," large nations like Russia, Germany, and Britain were claiming more and more land and creeping ever closer to the United States. Many people began to think that one of these countries might take away a part of their own country if the government did not put into place some sort of military protection. Josiah Strong stated "And can any one doubt that the result of this competition of races will be the 'survival of the fittest'" in his Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis.