Research compiled by: Justice A., Ariella G., Maurice M.
The outbreak of the Spanish-American War and the subsequent American acquisition of “uncivilized” territories like the Philippines and Puerto Rico pushed Social Darwinism to the forefront of debates about the American Empire. An important influence on domestic understandings of Empire, Omaha's 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition triumphantly showcased the progress of the West. Juxtaposed with exhibits touting industrial and scientific progress, the Indian Congress and similar exhibits of “exotic” peoples at the exposition reaffirmed the place of the white, Anglo-American culture at the top of the racial hierarchy. In particular, the Indian Congress presented an idealized indigenous past while the United States expanded its imperial reach overseas.