Chapter 27: The Path of Empire 1890-1899

  • Imperialism: The policy of extending a nation's authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations.
  • Jingoism: Extreme nationalism characterized especially by a belligerent foreign policy; chauvinistic patriotism.

Imperialist Stirrings:

  • Motives for overseas expansion: new sense of power from growth in popultion, wealth, and productive capacity, through overseas expansion would be a safety valve, "adventure", missionaries, social Darwinism, European conquest (and Japan, Germany, and Russia), U.S. had to keep up!
  • Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan 1890 wrote The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783 - control of the sea=key to world dominance.
  • Secretary of State under President Harrison, James G. Blaine pushed "big sister" policiy - aimed to rally Latin American nations behind US leadership & open Latin American markets to American traders. Pan-American Conference 1889: vague plan for economic cooperation through reciprocal tariff reduction.
  • 1889 American vs. German navies over Samoan Islands.
  • 1891 - 11 Italians lynched in New Orleans - almost led to war between America & Italy, but US payed compensation.
  • 1892 - 2 American sailors killed in Chile, almost led to war, but Chile payed indemnity.
  • 1893 - Argument over seal hunting between US and Canada also almost led to war.
  • The willingness of Americans to risk war over such distant and minor disputes shows agressive new national mood.

Monroe's Doctrine and the Venezuelan Squall:

  • Gold discovered in Venezuela, British (already close in British Guiana) wanted Venezuala. Secretary of State Richard Olney (under Cleveland) declared that British were going against Monroe Doctrine and should abandon claims. And he said that the US pretty much owned the Western Hemisphere.
  • Britain wrote it off as a "twist of the lion's tail" to get Irish voters. Britain replied "F the Monroe Doctrine, this is nunya business."
  • Cleveland threatened to go to war if Britain didn't accept the boundary.
  • Kaiser Wilhelm and British conflict with Germany cause Brits to give up on Venezuelan dispute.
  • Britain needed friendship with America - the Great Rapprochment (reconciliation) "patting the eagle's head"

Spurning the Hawaiian Pear:

  • America had thier hands on Hawaii since the 1840s, commercial reciprocity agreement in 1875, and treaty to make Pearl Harbor a naval base 1887
  • 1890 - McKinley tariff raised barriers against Hawaiian sugar - many wanted to make Hawaii a state, but Queen Liliuokalani was against it.
  • 1893 - America made a treat to annex Hawaii, but new president, Grover Cleveland stopped it. Annexation would be abandoned until 1898.

Cubans Rise in Revolt:

  • Cuban insurrectos rose in revolt against Spain. Spain put them into reconcentration camps. This got American sympathies.
  • Clevland would not go to war for Cuba.

The Mystery of the Maine Explosion

  • "Yellow journalism" (William R. Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer) loved miliking atrocities in Cuba.
  • 1898 - US sent the battleship Maine to Cuba "friendly visit" - but actually to protect and evacuate Americans.
  • Hearst headlined a private letter written by Spanish minister in Washington, Dupuy de Lome, there was a violent uproar and Lome was forced to resign.
  • A few days later, the Maine blew up on the coast of Cuba - Spanish said it was an accidental combustion (this turned out to be the truth), but America said it was a mine submarine (Spanish did it on purpose).
  • With the help of the yelow press, Americans grew infuriated with Spanish government. "Remember the Main, to hell with Spain!"

McKinley Unleashes Dogs of War:

  • Spain agreed to end reconcentration camps and armistice with Cuban rebels, but Americans (esp. T Roosevelt) wanted war! McKinley held back.
  • McKinley eventually yielded (he wanted to submit to the will of the poepe and not anger Democrats who might run silver Bryan)
  • April 1898, McKinly sent war message to Congress, they eagerly declared war and adopted Teller amendment - when US had overthrown Spain, they would give Cubans freedom.

Dewey's May Day Victory at Manila:

  • American army was outnumbered by Spain, and their navy wasn't as powerful (it seemed - in reality Spanish navy kinda sucked bc they had to operate thousands of miles away from home base)
  • Navy Secretary John D. Long (pussy), his assistant secretary Theodore Roosevelt told Commodore George Dewey in Hong Kong to attack Spain's Philippines in the event of war (McKinley approved this order).
  • May 1, 1898 Dewey carried this out. Manila harbor- totally owned the Spaniards, kill 4000 and not a single American died.

Unexpected Imperialistic Plums:

  • Dewey waited for reinforcements to storm forts of Manila. A little bout with Germans - blew over.
  • August 1898, reinforcements arrived and they caputrued Manila (led by Emilio Aguinaldo).
  • America wanted Hawaii as a supply and reinforcement station - annexation went through Congress and was approved by McKinley July 1898. Hawaiians granted citizinship.

The Confused Invasion of Cuba:

  • Spanish Admiral Cervera got blockaded at Santiago harbor, Cuba.
  • Theodore Roosevelt organized "Rough Riders" led by Leonard Wood and the US army led by fatty William R. Shafter - attacked at Santiago

Curtains for Spain in America:

  • Cervera's fleet entirely destroyed
  • Army under Nelson A. Miles went down on Puerto Rico
  • August 1898, Spain signed armistice
  • Good thing too, much of US army was diseased with malaria, typhoid, yellow fever, etc.

McKinley Heeds Duty, Destiny, and Dollars:

  • Late 1898, Spanish and American negociators met in Paris - Cuba freed from Spain, America got Guam and Puerto Rico.
  • Philippines posed a question: give back to evil Spain? Free them and risk anarchy? America acquire Philippines and free them later?
  • McKinley, after praying to God, decided to take the Philippines, Christianize and civilize them
  • America payed Spain $20 million for the Philippines. Speaker of the House Reed (thank God not Pelosi) retired because he disagreed with this decision.

America's Course (Curse?) of Empire:

  • Anti-Imperialist League formed (Samuel Gompers, Carnegie, Mark Twain, William James) - The Filipinos wanted freedom.
  • Pro-imperialists (Rudyard Kipling) urged for patriotism, profits, and the white man's burden.
  • Spanish treaty got opposition in Senate
  • Bryan convinced Democrats in Senate, the sooner they signed the treaty, the sooner the Philippines would get its freedom
  • Treaty approved Feb 1899

Perplexities in Puerto Rico and Cuba:

  • Foraker Act of 1900 - Congress granted Puerto Ricans a limited degree of popular government.
  • Did the Constitution follow the flag? The Insular Cases (starting in 1901) - Supreme court decreed the Constitution did not necessarily extend with full force into new territory. Filipinos were subject to American rule, but did not enjoy all American rights :(
  • Cuba, under administration of General Leonard Wood was rid of yellow fever (and education, agriculture, etc. improved).
  • US withdrew from Cuba in 1902 (Teller Amendment)
  • To protect themselves from German takeover, etc., Cubans forced to write in their own constitution (1901) Platt Amendment - no treaties or debt beyond their resources, US might intervene with troops to restore order and provide protection, and Cubans had to sell/lease naval stations (soon only Guantanamo Bay - nice job closing it Obama)

New Horizons in Two Hemispheres:

  • Spanish-American ward di not make US a world power - just advertised that we were already a world power.
  • Short war, low in casualties, America gained more respect from Europe.
  • => National pride. Germany became envious. Latin America became suspicious of American greed.
  • The Philippines was a far and dangerous commitment.
  • Navy improved, War College founded
  • Conflict between North and South in America quickly ending for good.