U.S. Imperialism In The Late 19th Century: Motivations, Impacts, And Legacy

During the era of 19th century President Theodore Roosevelt, the United States emerged from the nineteenth century with many ambitious creations on global power through military might, economic influence and territorial expansion. Although the Spanish-American War had begun under the administration of William McKinley, Roosevelt, the hero of San Juan Hill, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Vice-President, and President, was arguably the most notable and influential proponent of American imperialism at the turn of the century. Roosevelt’s emphasis on developing the American navy and on Latin America as a key strategic area of U.S. foreign policy.

American imperialism was motivated by four main factors: political, economic, geographic and cultural. Politically, Imperialism was spreading nationalism and patriotism. This was a point of pride to maintain colonies worldwide. From the military point of view, it also make a sense to have colonies in different regions of the world in case it is necessary to launch a military operation. The economic factors were desires to find new markets for trade, extending colonial power throughout the world and the US became a colonial power in the Philippines and it opened up a trade with East Asia. Geographically, at the end of the 19th century, Africa was carved into pieces by the Europeans at the Berlin Conference; Europeans won land and resources in Africa, and the USA wanted to join on land gains across the world. And culturally, a desired for humanitarianism, wanting to help out people and countries the U.S perceived impoverished.

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Senator Henry M. Teller proposed an amendment to declaration of war by the United States against Spain that proclaimed that the United States shouldn’t establish permanent control over Cuba. This amendment was approved by the Senate on April 19. The Teller Amendment was followed by the Platt Amendment introduced by Senator Orville Platt in February 1901. It allowed that the United States the right to intervene to preserve in Cuba’s independence, the maintenance of a good government for the protection of life, property and individual freedom

Roosevelt Corollary was convinced that all of Latin American was vulnerable to Europeans attack, Roosevelt dust off the Monroe Doctrine and added his own corollary. While the Monroe Doctrine was blocked a major expansion of Europe in the Western Hemisphere but the Roosevelt Corollary went a step further. If any Latin American nation is involved in large debts or civil rests, the United States military would intervened. The first opportunity to enforce this new policy occurred in 1905, when the Dominican Republic was in danger of invasion by Europeans debt collectors.

The United States increased their policy of Imperialism after the Spanish American War. The Annexation of Hawaii in July 1898 the US used the pretense of needing Hawaii as military naval base. Was rushed through Congress and approved by President McKinley. Hawaiians granted U.S citizenships and received full territorial status in 1900. Another acquisition was The U.S Army invaded Puerto Rico, U.S sought to take the island before the war with Spain ended.

Most of population regarded U.S soldiers as liberating heroes. Spain signed an armistice on August 12, 1898.

The Spanish-American War was caused mainly by the general military aggression of the United States at the end of the 19th century. In particular, the war was based on the freedom of the Cubans. American society supported the Cuban revolt against Spanish mismanagement. This general disposition to go to war pressed McKinley to declare war against Spain. Much of the support for the war came from the explosion of the Maine while it was anchored in an area controlled by the Spaniards. Yellow journalism aggravated Americans more with the horrifying stories that were invented. All these factors were added to cause the Spanish-American war.

The USS Oregon’s long journey to reach Cuba from the Pacific Ocean convinced the Americans of the strategic need to build a Central American canal. The channel would be the legacy of Roosevelt, and he would stop at nothing to get it. The canal, which was completed in August 1914, is one of the two most important artificial waterways in the world. Economically, it was desired because it would accelerate the shipment of cargo via the sea and increase global trade.

The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was then negotiated between Panama and the United States. The treaty satisfied the Spooner Act and created the Panama Canal Zone; it was proclaimed in February 1904. They granted to the USA. A permanent lease contract on land in Panama and the right to build the canal.

The Panama Canal took 10 years to build. The engineers and workers had to face the mountainous regions, full of jungle, with high temperatures, unstable soil and rock and frequent tropical rains when building the canal. The United States had to build a dam to help construction, because the area was often flooded thanks to bad weather.

The builders also had to deal with many tropical diseases such as yellow fever and malaria. William C. Gorgas and other doctors worked to eliminate the mosquitoes that transmitted the diseases in the area to make it a safer place to work. Despite their efforts, more than 5,000 workers died from these diseases and accidents.

However, the American Imperialism came at a great cost to the people living in the lands America Conquered. The kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown by the U.S government and American businessmen. The people living in Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico were denied the independence they were promised at the start of the Spanish-American war. And The U.S businessmen created large corporations in Latin American nations that destroyed small Latin American businesses.

The Postoperative Recovery Process

Post operative hand off to recovery room refers to the follow-up care that a patient receives after undergoing a surgical procedure or after being in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This entails my patient-centered problem that I wish to expound in my project. Post operative care often entails wound care and pain management undertaken by the ICU nurses. It begins immediately after the surgery session and lasts until the patient has fully recovered. An ICU nurse is expected to undertake various duties to enhance postoperative recovery of the patient. These duties include, transferring the patients to the post-anasthesia care units (PACU), monitoring the patients, educating the patients and the family members on expected outcomes, addressing any arising complications among many others. Post operative hand off to recovery can get numerous parties impacted greatly such as the ICU nurses, the patients and their families (Aldrete, 2010). This process tends to get the nurses too much involved and hence requires them to have all their minds together concentrated on the work. This might really affect their self esteem in the way they have to dress the wounds of the patients and handle them with utmost care. The nurses therefore require intensive training and counseling so hat hey are able to handle the patients. Another party that this process might affect is the patient themselves who require pre and post counselling to educate them on the expected outcomes and how to handle them.

My proposal on addressing the problemIt is crystal clear that post hand off to recovery is an immense problem that if not controlled could result in adverse effects such as the death of the patient, infection of other diseases and many others. As a nurse and this being one of my fields of work, I would propose various ways which can be used to address the problem and if possible eliminate it completely. In order to enhance the recovery process, I can propose that all patients be educated thoroughly about the process of surgery, what to expect as the outcome and also how to cooperate with the nurses after the process before they undergo the surgery. This would reduce resistances by the patients during the care and therefore fasten the process of healing. Another suggestion would be to regularly check on the nurses in order to take them through the counselling process. This can ensure that they are always version with their roles during the postoperative recovery process and this can minimize adverse effects like complications.

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There are ethical issues which are concerned with post operative recovery, which are put in place to ensure adherence by both the patients and the nurses and to determine what is right or wrong. The code of ethics governing this process requires that the nurses handle the patients with utmost care leaving behind personal issues. It is ethical for the nurses to dress appropriately and use courteous language to address the patients regardless of the resistance by the latter. The code of ethics also puts emphasis on the fact that it is crucial for the nurses to critically follow guidelines and all the policies on postoperative care (McGrath, 2012). They should also maintain patient safety and proficiency by often updating their knowledge and understanding. Another ethical behavior that ought to be observed comprises of recording all vital observations, signs and any assessments performed.

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), there are various legal rules and regulations that govern the postoperative recovery process. These comprise of the rule of Autonomy which entails freedom to implement a plan or decision my nurses, respect for others and a complete understanding of the patient. Justice: this comprises of equitable, fair and appropriate treatment of all the patients under the recovery process. Fidelity: this ensures that the nurses remain faithful to the ANA code of ethics for nurses and to ethical principles while keeping promises and commitments in their work (McGrath, 2012). Veracity: entails telling the truth by either the nurses or the patients and has an added advantage of enhancing trust between the nurse and the patient. In the rules and regulations act also, there should exist the principle of accountability that encompasses the responsibility concept that is being answerable to oneself as well as to others for ones actions. The law also requires the nurses to do no harm either intentionally or unintentionally to their patients. Another requirement is that the nurses should act in the best interest of others that is to contribute to the well being of the patients by preventing or removing any harm that might be associated with the recovery process.

Why I chose the topic

The postoperative recovery process in most of our hospitals seems to be really forgotten and given no attention at all. I felt the need to deeply undertake a research on it since I felt that it ought to be treated with the seriousness it deserves. This is so because it is a section that could lead to deadly moments in hospitals if not accorded the best services. It is a process that could lead to death of patients even after maneuvering with the surgeries,it could result into wounds that might never heal among many other adverse effects. Therefore, postoperative recovery process ought to be accorded the utmost seriousness in order to enhance the healing process for the patients thereby preventing and eliminating after surgery effects (Parsons, 2001).


McGrath.B(2012): Postoperative recovery and discharge. New York: Springer Publishing Company Aldrete, J.(2010). A postanesthetic recovery score. New York: Harper Collins PressParsons, R. (2001). The ethics of professional practice. California: SAGE Press

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