Modern American History: From Overthrow of Hawaii to World War One
` In the past century, America has fought the most wars in history, mostly in the name of peace for the whole world. The government engages in wars by first justifying it as a way of protecting the ideas and lives of American people and the whole world. All the presidents who have been in war always convince the public of the need to engage in a war by depicting their enemies as barbaric while they present their ideas as good intentions for the whole world. They always prove to the American public that they are fighting for their nation’s freedom, world democracy, and protection of their economic interest and way of life as well as from terror. For instance, in the Philippines war, McKinley managed to convince the Americans that their ideas would benefit everybody to justify their entering into war. The people are made to believe that what the enemies say about them is wrong or just propaganda while the American government tells the truth. The media has played a big role in putting across such beliefs in people. In some of the countries overthrown by the Americans such as the Hawaii islands, Philippines and Puerto Rico, the motive had never been peace considering Hawaii at the time it was overthrown it never threatened any peace. It was out of economic and power greed by the American government to overthrow these nations to increase their power as well as economic status. In all the wars, the United States government has managed to portray America as a powerful nation with the interest of the whole world. For America to fight in all these wars, propaganda has been the main driver managing to portray America as a powerful benevolent liberator who protects democracy, civilization and advancement of humanity, depicting the victims as evil hence dehumanizing them and justifying their actions.
Presidents who have been at war in their regimes such as McKinley have made the good use of propaganda to convince people why entering into war will be for the benefit of the whole world or everybody involved. Words such as seeking to increase their power and control have never been used by such presidents despite being a motive in their mind. McKinley, who was well experienced in politics, knew all too well how to use the media to his side in winning the consent of the public opinion. He improved the media in his reign and would make sure to keep constant contact with them, providing a many media conferences for them to ask their questions and carry the news of his side of the story. During his reign, he started the perception management, a propaganda where the government alters perceptions or drives the public towards a view of the war that fitted the government, ignoring other crucial information that would cause disagreements from the people. Exaggeration was part of the game where people believed they were fighting for a noble course. Over the past century, the powerful American government has fought many wars that have overthrown governments in the poor nations, where the public has always believed it is for peace. It would be hard to gain consent of the public without the media that acts as the massagers. In his reign, McKinley, used the media especially newspapers where he often made press releases just before the media would and had control on them, ensuring what they printed was according to his press releases. He had the secretary address the media on a daily basis to convince them of his ideas. “McKinley paid special attention to the representatives of the wire services, the news agencies that sent syndicated stories by telegraph to subscribing newspaper across the country,” (Brewer 15) This way, the media and the government played the crucial role of creating a good image of America while its interests in the war had been different.
In the past 110 years, the United States government has overthrown 14 governments, which did not please them since their ideologies differed. America believed that their interests were better and these countries should embrace them. Some of the overthrown nations are Hawaii, Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua. There are several reasons why America had to overthrow these governments that include liberation, protecting them, civilizing them, Christianizing them, gourd economic interests, control their resources, as well as expanding their power. In the overthrow of Hawaii, Americans had gone there in the name of spreading Christianity, where they turned into grabbing their land. The American settlers later turned to be in control of the politics of the islands, and finally pushing for an overthrow of their government to make it an American state. The biggest reason was to maintain economic control of sugarcane farming, which was quite good in Hawaii as well as increase power. Another reason that America has overthrown so many governments is in the name of civilization and believing that their ideas are the right ones and should dominate to the whole world. Some of these governments tried to nationalize their resources for the benefit of their citizens and faced the opposition from the Americans. This was in a belief that the poor nations cannot control their resources and should allow the powerful nations to control and develop them. “Nothing important can come from the South. History has never been produced in the South,” (Kinzer 13). Other reasons were liberating the citizens from oppressive government rule, which is a good reason but loses its meaning when they seek to control it such as in the Philippines. Among all these reasons, those that have stood out are expansion of power for the United States and making their ideologies to dominate the world.
Since the overthrow of Hawaii, America has continued to overthrow 14 governments citing its reasons as interests for the whole world, such as democracy, civilization and progress as well as protecting the citizens in such countries. The truth reveals another side where America is not what it is portrayed to be. By the end of the 19th century, it was obvious that America overthrew Hawaii among other nations for economic reasons, which was not quite an issue as it would be today. Today, reasons for overthrowing other governments have changed in some aspects, where the most cited reason is fighting for democracy for the whole world while the truth reveals that it seeks power, and economic gains in some of the nations. For these years, America is seen as the benevolent super power with interests of the whole world at heart, managing to blind people and even its citizens from seeing the truth behind all these wars. Some wars were engaged for no reason except to protect interests of the Americans through use of propaganda of perception management where lies were fabricated. The media has always played an important role in perception management where they only broadcast news portraying America as always right. This has led to dehumanization of the poor people in these nations since the whole world believes they are the evil, while the truth is the vice versa, where they are just victims of greed for power and economic might as well as domination of American ideas.
This essay has a word count of 1198 words.
Brewer, Susan. Why America fights patriotism and war propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Kinzer, Stephen. Overthrow: America’s century of regime change from Hawaii to Iraq. New York, NY: Times Books, 2006. Print.