Spanish American War - Context


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  • Immigrant labor had made the US economy globally powerful.
    Immigrants followed the American dream, which was tied land and expansion.
    How might new immigrants shaped people’s opinions about outside cultures?
  • The World’s Fair
    The first Ferris Wheel
    Goods from Scandinavia, coffee from Costa Rica, St. Bernards from Switzerland, showing Americans a world beyond their borders.
    Herman Webster Mudgett aka Dr. H. H. Holmes: a serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Dr. Holmes had built his "World's Fair Hotel" complete with a gas chamber, dissection table and a crematorium to dispose of the bodies. Holmes would remove the skeletons of his victims and sell them for medical and scientific study.
  • DEPRESSION: Farmers fell into deep debt. Crop surpluses dropped prices. Laborers worked for low, unstable wages. Violent strikes broke out. Something had to change.
    The Frontier had defined the (whites mostly) US experience from its inception. Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Manifest Destiny and all that contributed to the white American Identity.
    Gadsden Purchase, Oregon Territory, US Mexican war.
    Images of the frontier lured people to the country. Even when immigrants found themselves working in terrible factories, there still existed the vision of the frontier. When it ran out, this vision was threatened.
    1893 Depression worsened the outlook.
    Business had also built empires on the extraction of materials in the West. Robber Barons profited from lending and building gov’t sponsored infrastructure.
    The US need to expand secure new markets, raw materials, and cheap labor.
    The US didn’t really have the same needs as Britain and other colonial powers because they could grow sugar, fruit, wheat, cattle, etc. – everything.
    Strategic importance – if were gonna be with the big boys, we need to assert ourselves.
    Logical extension of manifest destiny into imperialism. The White Man’s burden.
    After election, McKinley said, “We want a foreign market for our surplus products”.
  • Open the door to new markets.
    The US had built up surpluses.
    Access to 400mil in China
    What are the externalities of expansion of trade?
  • Mahan
    Born at West point
    Second in his class at the Naval Academy
    Union Lieutenant in the Civil War
    Became naval historian. 1890 wrote advocating a strong navy in the pacific and Caribbean would help protect trade and open up the pacific. Also wanted a canal .
    Henry Cabot Lodge
    Mass. Sen. Slender and aristocratically bewhiskered (AP).
    It was natural for superior races to expand and advance civilization
    Teddy Roosevelt
    Called the US failure to annex Hawaii in 1893, a “crime against white civilization”
    Philospher and anti-imperialist William James wrote that TR “gushes over war as the ideal condition of human society”
  • The fact that white Europeans had spread their dominance over the world, they were “fittest” to survive
    Skull measurements were also used to prove male superiority.
    Achievements of blacks were dismissed as aberrations.
    Both SD and SR were strengthen by social racism.
    Protestant churches sent missionaries overseas to “lift up” the other races.
  • US Marines at the time of the overthrow, January 1893
  • The Spanish had rounded up rural inhabitants into “reconcentrados”
    Hearst and Pulitzer were both getting rich off newspapers. The hyperbolized stories and fabricated some.
    Hearst to
  • Teller Amendment = no annexation
    Blacks fighting to free blacks = war of liberation being fought.
    Plessy v. Ferguson 1896 Separate But Equal
    Poll Taxes, prohibition of interracial marriages, segregation of public places.
  • How might these men be connected?
  • United Fruit transported their bananas on ships called the white fleet.
    The built railways, schools, provided jobs, silenced union organizing, became massive landowners, and influenced a coup in Guatemala.
  • Spanish American War - Context

    1. 1. Beyond Manifest Destiny America Enters the Age of Imperialism “The taste of Empire is in the mouth of the people even as the taste of blood is in the jungle”. -Washington Post Editorial
    2. 2. Mass Immigration Population Explosion
    3. 3. H.H. Holmes
    4. 4. Economic Problems Problem: 1893 Depression Problem: “The Frontier is Closed” Frederick Jackson Turner Problem: Surplus of Goods Solutions: 1) Expand borders 2) Build a canal to improve trade 3) Catch up with other empires 4) Tap into new markets 5) Open door policy
    5. 5. The Open-Door Policy Three* Groups 1) Imperialist = expansion 2) Anti-Imperialists = non-expansion 3) Third group (The Open-Door) = oppose traditional colonialism but favor economic expansion. Businessmen, politicians, intellectuals. “informal empire” *????????????
    6. 6. Tough Guys “I want my war!” A.T. Mahan, Navy Captain • Naval Dominance Henry Cabot Lodge, Sen. MA • Social Darwinist Theodore Roosevelt • War was natural • Monroe Doctrine “The great nations are rapidly absorbing…all the waste places of the earth. It is a movement which makes for civilization and the advancement of the race. As one of the great nations of the world, the United States must not fall out of the line of march” -Henry Cabot Lodge
    7. 7. Social Darwinism - Survival of the “fittest” humans Scientific Racism - Skulls measurements “proved” superiority “By the nearly unanimous consent of anthropologists this type [the pure Negro of central Africa] occupies the lowest position in the evolutionary scale…The attempt to suddenly transform the Negro mind by foreign culture must be as futile as the attempt would be to suddenly transform his physical type.”Encyclopedia Britannica, 1884
    8. 8. Hawaii
    9. 9. Cuban Revolt
    10. 10. Media and Yellow Journalism Hearst vs. Pulitzer • Yellow Journalism • “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war” William Randolph Hearst Death Sells • Reconcentrados • “Cuban Babes Prey to Famine” • “Thousands of Children of the Reconcentrados” • “Perishing in Island Towns Sights that Sicken Strong Men” HUNGRY, FRANTIC FLAMES. They Leap Madly Upon the Splendid Pleasure Palace by the Bay of Monterey, Encircling Del Monte in Their Ravenous Embrace From Pinnacle to Foundation. Leaping Higher, Higher, Higher, With Desperate Desire. Running Madly Riotous Through Cornice, Archway and Facade. Rushing in Upon the Trembling Guests with Savage Fury. Appalled and Panic-Striken the Breathless Fugitives Gaze Upon the Scene of Terror. The Magnificent Hotel and Its Rich Adornments Now a Smoldering heap of Ashes. The "Examiner" Sends a Special Train to Monterey to Gather Full Details of the Terrible Disaster. Arrival of the Unfortunate Victims on the Morning's Train — A History of Hotel del Monte — The Plans for Rebuilding the Celebrated Hostelry — Pariculars and Supposed Origin of the Fire
    11. 11. The Spanish-American War: Cuba Fear of a black government Teller Amendment 1898 • Supported by anti-imperialists and open door-ists. • No annexation of Cuba House keys?
    12. 12. Next