Chapter 28

America on the World Stage



On February 4, 1899, the Filipinos erupted in rebellion against the occupying United States forces after the Senate refused to pass a bill giving the Filipinos their independence.  The insurrection was led by Emilio Aguinaldo.


"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.

Colombia Blocks the 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.


Uncle Sam Creates Puppet Panama

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 Colombian 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.

Completing the Canal and Appeasing Colombia

The involvement in Panama marked a downward lurch in U.S.  relations with Latin America. 

President Roosevelt said that the U.S. had done nothing wrong. He claimed that Colombia had wronged the U.S. by not permitting the construction of the canal. The Nicaraguan route would have been just as feasible, though, and Roosevelt likely stuck with the Panama route because he wanted its construction to coincide with the election of 1904.

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. 


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