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Historians Lefeber And Leopold

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Historians Lefeber & Leopold

Walter Lefeber and Smith uses the period of the Civil War to discuss how the United States came into world power. According to Smith it was before 1860 that "expansionism was confined to the American continent," reflecting the desire of finding fertile land. It was this, internal developments, that "led the United States to become increasingly involved in world affairs," as worded by Lefeber. Both historians agree that America was focused on agrarian societies before the Civil War. But after America settled into their lands and established an economic flow through farming and mineral lands, expansionism was in their minds. Lefeber believed that by the time of the Civil War, "American interest were developing still farther west," towards Asia. Lefeber seems to be saying that America became involved in world power long before the Civil War. Afterwards, the country sought for "agricultural staples or industrial goods" elsewhere; specifically far west in able to have a good international position. Hence, Lefeber's argument parallels with Smith's. Smith too says that America "needed strategic bases if they were to compete successfully" internationally. Interestingly enough, the historians show that America's expansion "did not follow the pattern set by the European powers," as summed by Lefeber. Rather, the country's control of some of its new territories--Philippines, Hawaii, Cuba--was short, and they soon became states or independent countries. But America continued on growing their economic relations, therefore, as Smith concludes, "had forged a new empire" by 1899. Lefeber best supports Smith's idea that the Civil War "marked an important dividing line in America's expansionist policies."

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