Chapter 27

The Path of Empire



Imperialist Stirrings

Americans felt that expansion to overseas markets might provide relief to the labor violence and agrarian unrest that existed in the country. Americans also felt emboldened with a new sense of power generated by the growth in population, wealth, and productive capacity.

Reverend Josiah Strong's Our Country:  Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis inspired missionaries to travel to foreign nations.

Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan's book of 1890, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783, argued that control of the sea was the key to world dominance; it stimulated the naval race among the great powers.

Secretary of state, James G. Blaine published his "Big Sister" policy tried to get the Latin American countries to open their markets to Americans.

Americans were prepared to go to war over many small disputes with other countries. This demonstrated the country's new aggressive mood.


Monroe's Doctrine and the Venezuelan Squall

The area between British Guiana and Venezuela had been in dispute for over 50 years.  Conflict between the British and Venezuela arose when gold was discovered in the contested area.

Secretary of state, Richard Olney, warned that if Britain went to war with Venezuela, then Britain would be violating the Monroe Doctrine. When Britain disregarded this warning, President Cleveland threatended war.

Britain was pre-occupied with other potential wars in Europe, so they chose to avoid a new war and reconcile with the United States. The Great Rapprochement, or reconciliation, between the United States and Britain became a cornerstone of both nations' foreign policies.


Spurning the Hawaiian Pear

The first New England missionaries reached Hawaii in 1820.

Beginning in the 1840s, the State Department warned other countries to stay out of Hawaii.  In 1887, a treaty with the native government guaranteed naval-base rights at Pearl Harbor.

Sugar imports from Hawaii became less profitable with the McKinley Tariff of 1890.  American planters decided that the best way to overcome the tariff would be to annex Hawaii. Queen Liliuokalani insisted that native Hawaiian should control the islands.

In 1893, Americans successfully overthrew the Queen. Most Hawaiians did not want to be annexed, though, so President Grover Cleveland decided to delay annexation of Hawaii.


Cubans Rise in Revolt

Cubans revolted against Spanish rule in 1895.  Cuban insurrectos burned sugar canefields believing that if they destroyed enough of Cuba, then Spain might abandon Cuba or the United States might move in and help the Cubans with their independence. The Spanish put Cubans in reconstruction camps so they could not support the insurrectos.

America had a large investment and conducted substantial trade with Cuba.

Congress passed a resolution in 1896 that recognized the revolting Cubans.  President Cleveland opposed imperialism and he said that he would not go to war with Spain over Cuba.


The Mystery of the Maine Explosion

William R. Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer used "yellow journalism" to inflate the anger of the American people over the crisis in Cuba.

On February 15, 1898, the American ship, Maine blew up in the Havana port.  The Spanish claimed it was an accident (spontaneous combustion in one of the coal bunkers), while the Americans claimed that Spain had sunk it.  The American people did not believe the Spanish, and war with Spain became imminent.


McKinley Unleashes the Dogs of War

Spain had agreed to the Americans' 2 basic demands: an end to the reconstruction camps and an armistice with Cuban rebels.

Although President McKinley did not want a war with Spain, the American people did.  He conceded to the American people, and he sent his war message to Congress on April 11, 1898.  Congress declared war and adopted the Teller Amendment.  It said that when the United States had beaten the Spanish, the Cubans would be free.


Dewey's May Day Victory at Manila

The Spanish military significantly outnumbered the American army, but American naval ships were in much better condition than the Spanish.

Commodore George Dewey's 6-ship fleet attacked Spain's Philippines on May 1, 1898. Dewey attacked and destroyed the 10-ship Spanish fleet at Manila.

Unexpected Imperialistic Plums

German ships threatened to attack Dewey's ships in the Manila harbor (claiming that they wanted to protect German nationals). After several incidents, the potential for conflict with Germany blew over.

On August 13, 1898, American troops captured Manila.

With the victory in the Philippines, it was thought that Hawaii was needed as a supply base for Dewey.  Therefore, Congress passed a joint resolution of Congress to annex Hawaii on July 7, 1898.


The Confused Invasion of Cuba

Shortly after the outbreak of the war, the Spanish government sent a fleet of warships to Cuba, led by Admiral Cervera.  He was blockaded in the Santiago harbor in Cuba by American ships.

The "Rough Riders," was a regiment of American volunteers that was commanded by Colonel Leonard Wood and organized by Theodore Roosevelt.


Curtains for Spain in America

The advancing American army caused the Spanish fleet to retreat from the Santiago harbor. Admiral Cervera's fleet was entirely destroyed on July 3, 1898. General Nelson A. Miles met little resistance when he took over Puerto Rico

On August 12, 1898, Spain signed an armistice.

Many more Americans had been killed by malaria, typhoid, and yellow fever than by bullets.


McKinley Heeds Duty, Destiny, and Dollars

Spanish and Americans met in Paris in 1898 to discuss terms to the end of the war.  The Americans secured Guam and Puerto Rico, but the Philippines presented President McKinley with a problem:  he didn't want to give the island back to the Spanish, but he also didn't want to leave the island in a state of disarray. 

McKinley finally decided to Christianize all of the Filipinos. Because Manila had been captured the day after the war, America agreed to pay Spain $20 million for the Philippines.


America's Course (Curse?) of Empire

The Anti-Imperialistic League fought McKinley's expansionist moves, in regards to the Phillippines.

The Senate had difficulty passing the Senate. Democratic presidential candidate for the election of 1900, William J. Bryan used his influence on Democratic senators to get the treaty approved on February 6, 1899.  Bryan argued that the sooner the treaty was passed, the sooner the Filipinos could gain their independence.


Perplexities in Puerto Rico and Cuba

The Foraker Act of 1900 gave the Puerto Ricans a limited degree of popular government. In 1917, they were granted U.S. citizenship.

The Supreme Court's rulings in the Insular Cases declared that the Constitution did not extend to the Philippines and Puerto Rico. 

The United States, honoring the Teller Amendment of 1898, withdrew from Cuba in 1902.  The U.S. forced the Cubans to write their own constitution of 1901 (the Platt Amendment). The Cubans hated this document because it was written to benefit the Americans. The constitution decreed that the United States might intervene with troops in Cuba to restore order and to provide mutual protection.  The Cubans also promised to sell or lease needed coaling or naval stations to the U.S.


New Horizons in Two Hemispheres

Although the Spanish-American War only lasted 113 days, it increased American prestige around the world.

One of the greatest results of the war was the bonding between the North and the South.


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