Stacks Image 474
The United States was irrevocably transformed between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century. From controversial expansionism, through war in the Caribbean and Pacific, unrest in Asia and troubles at home, the country experienced radical change on a course to world leadership.

Chapter Detail

Stacks Image 348
Chapter 1—Expansionism (04:25)
In late 19th century the U.S. debated the merits of expansionism. Advocates cited economic and military benefits—or claimed the white race was duty-bound to civilize "inferior" peoples.
Stacks Image 367
Chapter 2—Opening Japan (02:00)
U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry successfully advocated for opening trade with Japan. In 1854 Japan, under threat of force, agreed to American requests and began a period of modernization.
Stacks Image 383
Chapter 3—Purchasing Alaska (01:51)
In 1867 the United States agreed to buy the territory of Alaska from Russia. The final price—$7.2 million dollars—was less than three cents per acre.
Stacks Image 388
Chapter 4—Annexing Hawaii (02:18)
In 1893 American plantation owners, with the help of ambassador John L. Stevens, forced Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani from her throne paving the way for its annexation by the United States.
Stacks Image 2974
Chapter 5—Spanish-American War (10:27)
The explosion on the U.S.S. Maine thrust the United States into war against Spain in the Caribbean and the Pacific. In the words of John L. Hay, it was to be “a splendid little war.”
Stacks Image 2979
Chapter 6—Open Door Policy (03:39)
American economic interests sought increased trade with China. The open door policy allowed imperial powers equal access to Chinese markets while China remained sovereign.
Stacks Image 2984
Chapter 7—Foreign Policy (067:09)
At the turn of the century, foreign policy was marked by President Theodore Roosevelt's “big stick” diplomacy, President Taft's "dollar diplomacy," and President Wilson's "moral diplomacy."


America Becomes a World Power can be purchased on DVD in our online store. The program may also be viewed at our companion website,, where it is available for Pay-Per-View screening and as part of our tiered Subscription Streaming packages.


Access to curriculum material is password protected. Please login now.

Not registered yet? Sign-up. It's absolutely free.

Teacher Resource Center

Teacher ResourcesSIGN-IN to access teacher's guide, transcript, curriculum activities, assessments, bonus video clips and other resources.
Teacher Resources ➦


VocabularyBackground information and media clips to learn more about the concepts, places and events of America Becomes a World Power
View Vocabulary➦


Biography In words and images, meet the fascinating, complex and flawed cast of characters of America Becomes a World Power
View Bios ➦