Empire and Expansion
America Turns Outward
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
America's Course (Curse?) of Empire
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.
The treaty was controversial, especially in regards to the acquisition of the Philippines. The Anti-Imperialistic League fought McKinley's expansionist moves, in regards to the Philippines.
The expansionists argued that Americans have a duty to help the underprivileged people of the world.
The Senate approved the treaty on February 6, 1899.
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.
"Little Brown Brothers" in the Philippines
The Filipinos thought that the treaty would give them their independence, like the Cubans. This was not the case and on February 4, 1899, the Filipinos started a rebellion against the occupying American forces. The insurrection was led by Emilio Aguinaldo.
In 1901, American soldiers captured the rebellion's leader, Emilio Aguinaldo, effectively ending the rebellion.
President McKinley appointed the Philippine Commission in 1899 to set up a Filipino government. William H. Taft led the body. He genuinely liked the Filipinos, while the American soldiers did not.
President McKinley's plan of "benevolent assimilation" of the Filipinos was very slow and it involved improving roads, sanitation, and public health. The plan developed economic ties and set up a school system with English as the 2nd language. This system was hated by the Filipinos who preferred liberty over assimilation.
Hinging the Open Door in China
Following China's defeat by Japan in 1894-1895, several European powers move into China. Secretary of State John Hay released the Open Door note, which urged foreign powers to respect Chinese commercial rights. Russia was the only major power to not accept it.
In 1900, Chinese group known as the "Boxers" killed hundreds of foreigners in the Boxer Rebellion. A multinational rescue force came in and stopped the rebellion.
After the failed rebellion, Secretary Hay declared in 1900 that the Open Door would include the respect of Chinese territory, in addition to its commercial integrity.
Imperialism or Bryanism in 1900?
President McKinley was the Republican presidential nominee for the election of 1900 because he had led the country through a war, acquired rich real estate, established the gold standard, and brought prosperity to the nation. McKinley and the Republican Party supported the gold standard and imperialism.
Theodore Roosevelt was nominated as the vice president.
William Jennings Bryan was the Democratic presidential candidate for the election. Bryan and the Democratic Party supported the silver standard and anti-imperialism. They proclaimed that the paramount election issue was Republican overseas imperialism. The Republican party proclaimed that Bryan would destroy the nation's prosperity once he took office with his free-silver policy and other "dangerous" ideas.
McKinley and the Republican Party won the election of 1900.
TR: Brandisher of the Big Stick
In September 1901, President McKinley was assassinated. Theodore Roosevelt took over the presidency.
Roosevelt felt that the president should lead, boldly. He had no real respect for the checks and balances system among the 3 branches of government. He felt that he may take any action in the general interest of the public that is not specifically forbidden by the Constitution.
Building the Panama Canal
The Americans wanted to build a canal through the Central American isthmus to allow ships to quickly cross from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Because of friendly relations with Britain, Britain signed the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty in 1901, which allowed the U.S. to build and fortify the canal.
Congress decided to build the canal through Panama. An offer to buy land for the canal had been rejected by the Colombian senate, who thought the U.S. monetary offer was too low.
The Panamanians feared the U.S. would choose the Nicaraguan route for the canal; Panama would miss out on a prosperity created by the canal's construction. So, on November 3, 1903, Panamanians successfully revolted against Columbian rule. The revolt was led by Bunau-Varilla.
Bunau-Varilla became the Panamanian minister to the United States and signed the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty in Washington. The treaty gave the U.S. control of a 10-mile zone around the proposed Panama Canal.
The involvement in Panama marked a downward lurch in U.S. relations with Latin America.
In 1904 the construction of the Panama Canal began, and it was completed in 1914 at a cost of $400 million.
TR's Perversion of Monroe's Doctrine
Several Latin American countries were in debt to European countries. Roosevelt feared that this would allow for future European involvement in Latin America, so he created a policy known as "preventive intervention." The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declared that the U.S. could pay off the Latin American counties' debts to keep European nations out of Latin America.
Latin American countries hated the Monroe Doctrine because it had become the excuse for numerous U.S. interventions in Latin America. In actuality, President Roosevelt was the one to blame for the interventions.
Roosevelt on the World Stage
Japan went to war with Russia in 1904 after Russia failed to withdraw troops from Manchuria and Korea. Roosevelt brokered a peace agreement in 1905 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The Japanese received no compensation for their losses and the southern half of Sakhalin.
Because of the treaty, friendship with Russia waned and Japan became a rival with America in Asia.
Japanese Laborers in California
Thousands of Japanese were recruited to work in California after the Japanese government lifted its emigration ban in 1884. Japanese immigrants were confronted with racist hostility by whites.
In 1906, San Francisco's school board segregated the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean students to make room for white students. The Japanese saw this action as an insult and threatened with war.
President Roosevelt stepped in and persuaded the Californians to repeal the segregation. The Japanese agreed to stop the flow of immigrants to the United States. This agreement was known as the "Gentlemen's Agreement."
In 1908, the Root-Takahira agreement was reached with Japan. The U.S. and Japan pledged themselves to respect each other's territorial possessions.