IMPERIALIST STIRRINGS From the end of the Civil War to the 1880’s, isolationism was the driving force behind U.S. foreign policy. By the end of the century, a momentous shift occurred in U.S. policy. By century’s end America itself would become an imperial power, an astonishing departure from its venerable anti-colonial traditions.
Identify and explain the reasons for the country’s outward look.
Explain how America’s new international interest manifested itself in several ways.
MONROE’S DOCTRINE and the VENEZUELAN SQUALL America’s anti-British feeling flared anew over Venezuela in 1895-1896. The dispute was over a jungle boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela. Explain the Venezuela’s claims. What further complicated the situation? Describe the U.S. position. What action did President Cleveland take?
Fortunately, Britain’s position with Germany prompted them to submit to arbitration.What was ironic about the arbitration ruling? The British, feeling increasingly isolated in Europe, were determined to cultivate Yankee friendship. This Great Rapprochment became a cornerstone of both country’s foreign policies as the 20th century opened.
Events of the late 19th century proved to the U.S. government that it better get into thegame of imperialism, or wind up with nothing.
SPURNING the HAWAIIAN PEARHawaii had early attracted the attention of Americans – by the 1840’s the U.S. warnedother powers to stay out. Two agreements (1875 & 1887) tightened America’s grip onHawaii.
Explain why troubles erupted between white sugar growers and the native govt. Theunauthorized use of U.S. troops assisted a successful rebellion against the native govt.Hawaii seemed ready for annexation, but Pres. Cleveland balked and sent a specialinvestigator to assess whether the natives wanted annexation. The question of annexing Hawaii touched-off the first full-fledged imperialistic debate in American experience. Cleveland was savagely criticized for not seizing this “ripe plum,” which he refused to do.
THE U.S. AND ITS IMPERIALIST DILEMMAIMPERIALIST v. ANTI-IMPERIALIST•Possessions mean enhanced power * Expansion contradicts Monroe Doctrine•Establishes the U.S. as a world power * Expansion/exploitation contradicts democratic principles that is the bedrock of the country* New markets•Spread democracy & Christianize * How can the U.S. “spread” democracy through imperialistic exploitation?*Power & Profit * Moral PrinciplePower & profit would prevail. “Hypocrisy” would hurt American standing to present.
CUBANS RISE in REVOLTCuba’s masses rose against the Spanish in 1895. The insurgent’s strategy was a scorched-earth policy, hoping that this would either drive the Spanish out and/or prompt the U.S.to become involved. American sympathies went out to the Cubans – our tradition of fighting for freedom and millions of dollars of economic interests. American rage intensified over Cuba with the incoming of Spanish General “Butcher” Weyler – why? An outraged American public demanded action and Congress passed a resolution in support of the Cubans, but Cleveland refused to budge.
Atrocities in Cuba were made to order for the new “yellow journalism” in the U.S. Whereatrocities did not exist, they were invented. Hearst is alleged to have said, “you furnishthe pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”
What moves did Spain make in attempt to defuse the situation with the U.S.?Early in 1898, because of the deteriorating situation in Cuba, the battleship Maine wassent to Cuba to protect American interests. Who was Dupuy de Lome? What did he do that further pushed President McKinley to war? What did the Spanish govt. do in an attempt to express regret for the incident?
A tragic climax came on February 15, 1998, when the Maine mysteriously blew up inHavana harbor, with a loss of 260 officers and men.
Yellow journalistic headlines hastily accused the Spaniards of sinking the Maine.Two investigations followed, one by U.S. naval officers, and the other by Spanish officials.The Spanish commission stated that the explosion had been internal and presumablyaccidental. The American commission reported that the blast had been caused by asubmarine mine.
Various theories have been offered as to how the Maine blew up. There was never anyhard evidence that it was the work of the Spanish. Spain had everything to lose andnothing to gain by blowing up the ship. In 1976, an American report concurred with theSpanish finding, but it was too late. There would be war with Spain.
McKINLEY UNLEASHES the DOGS of WARWar fever reached pitched levels in the U.S. despite the Spanish agreeing toWashington’s two basic demands: revocation or re-concentration and an armistice withCuban rebels.Describe the dilemma for McKinley regarding war with Spain. Despite his personalopposition to war, he yielded and gave the people what they wanted – why? On April11, 1898, McKinley sent his war message to Congress; Congress responded with the TellerAmendment – explain the amendment.
WILLIAM McKINLEY McKinley was cautious by nature – he was often accused of worrying too much about public opinion. He was hesitant to engage the Spanish, especially after Spain made concessions. His private desires clashed with aggressive & imperialist public opinion. Big business did not clamor for war. Why did McKinley acquiesce? •He had no faith in Spain’s promises regarding Cuba. • He realized that a showdown was inevitable. •He believed in the Democratic principle that people should rule. •Political pressure & fear for upcoming elections.
DEWEY’S MAY DAY VICTORY at MANILAAmericans plunged into war light-heartedly, but there would be challenges – what werethese challenges? Identify Spain’s “apparent” superiority. T.R. and Commodore George Dewey teamed up to score the biggest victory of the war. On Feb. 25, 1898, T.R. ordered Dewey to attack the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay – describe the course of the battle.
Manila was captured on Aug. 13, 1898 with the help of Filipino insurgents, led by EmilioAguinaldo.Victory in the Philippines led to the annexation of Hawaii on July 7, 1898 – a “strategicrationale” was offered as justification. Hawaii received full territorial status in 1900.
THE CONFUSED INVASION of CUBAWar preparations for battle in Cuba illustrated how ill-prepared both sides were, but theU.S. was less ill-prepared. The “Rough Riders”, a part of the invading army, now chargedinto history.This regiment of volunteers was commanded by Col. Leonard Wood, but TR was the drivingforce behind the regiment. TR rushed the regiment into battle against the ill-preparedSpanish.
Landing largely horseless in Santiago, the “Rough Riders” charged on foot up San Juan Hillto victory.
CURTAINS for SPAIN in AMERICAFacing vastly superior naval and army forces, the Spanish surrendered Santiago and anarmistice was signed on Aug. 12, 1898. The U.S. made a “land grab” of Puerto Rico beforethe hostilities ended.
If the Spanish had held out a fewmonths longer in Cuba, the Americanarmy might have melted away.Malaria, typhoid, dysentery, and yellowfever took a deadly toll. Also, spoiledbeef poisoned many soldiers.One of the war’s worst scandals was thehigh death toll from sickness – approx.400 lost their lives in battle; over 5000perished from disease.
McKINLEY HEEDS DUTY, DESTINY, AND DOLLARS Late in 1898 Spanish and American negotiators met in Paris to formally end the conflict. What did the U.S. acquire? What posed a dilemma for the U.S. govt.?
Seemingly the least of the evils (and public opinion) was to acquire the Philippines and givethem their independence at a later date. To appease an angry Spain, the U.S. agreed topay $20 million for the Philippines.
AMERICA’S COURSE (CURSE?) of EMPIREThe signing of the pact of Paris touched off one of the most impassioned debates in American history.The U.S. had never acquired so much land not attached to the contiguous U.S.
An Anti-Imperialist League sprang up to fight McKinley’s expansionist moves. Theyargued that the Filipinos wanted their freedom and despotism abroad might and/or willbeget despotism at home.Expansionists countered with an appeal to patriotism and possible trade profits.And, wealthy Americans must help to uplift (exploit) the underprivileged, underfed, andunder clad of the world.Sen. Bryan’s (D) crucial support allowed the treaty to pass the Senate on Feb.6, 1899, with one vote to spare.
PERPLEXITIES in PUERTO RICO & CUBA By the Foraker Act (1900), Congress accorded Puerto Ricans a limited degree of popular govt., and in 1917 granted them U.S. citizenship. The thorny question centered on the constitutionality of American actions in these newly acquired possessions. The Supreme Court, in 1901, with the Insular Cases, decreed that Congress could determine the applicability of the Constitution to these new possessions.Cuba presented challenges & successes, including yellow fever which was conquered by Dr.Walter Reed, and the U.S. honored its Teller Amendment by withdrawing its forces in1902. Old World imperialists could not believe it, but the U.S. was not completely cuttingCuba loose.The Cubans were forced to write into their own constitution of 1901 the so-called PlattAmendment. List the major provisions of this legislation as relevant to Cuban-American relations.
NEW HORIZONS in TWO HEMISPHERES In essence, the Spanish-American War was a kind of coming-out party. The conflict did not cause the U.S. to become a world power; it merely proved that the nation was already a world power. The war itself was short (113 days), spectacular, low in casualties, and successful. And the European powers grudgingly accorded the U.S. more respect.
An exhilarating new spirit thrilled America. America did not start the war withimperialistic motives, but it wound up with imperialistic and colonial fruits. And the much-criticized British imperialists were pleased.By acquiring the Philippine Islands, the U.S. became a full-fledged Far Eastern power.With singular shortsightedness, the Americans assumed dangerous commitments thatthey were later unwilling to defend by proper military outlays.The lessons of un-preparedness were not altogether lost and Capt. Mahan’s big-navyismseemed vindicated. Elihu Root established a general staff and founded the War College.And the conflict further closed the “ bloody chasm” between North and South.