The Path of Empire
As America bustled with a new sense of power generated by the strong growth in population, wealth, and productive capacity, labor violence and agrarian unrest increased. It was felt that overseas markets might provide a safety valve to relieve these pressures.
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.
James G. Blaine published his "Big Sister" policy which aimed to rally the Latin American nations behind America's leadership and to open Latin American markets to American traders.
The willingness of America to risk war over such distance and minor disputes with Italy, Chile, and Canada demonstrated the aggressive new national mood. Monroe's Doctrine and the Venezuelan Squall
The area between British Guiana and Venezuela had been in dispute for over 50 years. When gold was discovered in the contested area, the prospect of a peaceful resolution faded.
Secretary of State to President Cleveland, Richard Olney, claimed that if Britain attempted to dominate Venezuela in the quarrel and gain more territory, then it would be violating the Monroe Doctrine. When Britain flatly rejected the relevance of the Monroe doctrine, President Cleveland stated that the United States would fight for it.
Although somewhat annoyed by the weaker United States, Britain chose to not to fight a war. Britain's rich merchant marine was vulnerable to American commerce raiders, Russia and France were unfriendly, and Germany was about to challenge the British naval supremacy.
With their eyes open to the European peril, Britain was determined to cultivate an American friendship. 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 began to warn other nations to keep their hands off Hawaii. In 1887, a treaty with the native government guaranteed naval-base rights at Pearl Harbor.
The profits of sugar cultivation in 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.
A desperate minority of whites organized a successful revolt in 1893. The Queen was overthrown and white revolutionists gained control of Hawaii. When a treaty to annex Hawaii was presented to the Senate, President Grover Cleveland promptly withdrew it. Cubans Rise in Revolt
Sugar production of Cuba became less profitable when the America passed the tariff of 1894.
Cubans began to revolt against their Spanish captors in 1895 after the Spanish began to place Cubans in reconcentration camps and treat them very poorly. Cuban revolutionaries began to reason that if they destroyed enough of Cuba and did enough damage, then Spain might abandon Cuba or the United States might move in and help the Cubans with their independence.
America had a large investment as well as annual trade stake in Cuba.
Congress passed a resolution in 1896 that recognized the belligerence of the revolted Cubans. President Cleveland refused to budge and fight for Cuba's independence. The Mystery of the Maine Explosion
William R. Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer led the fabricated atrocities of Cuba apart of the new "yellow journalism." The two men caused the American people to believe that conditions in Cuba were worse than they actually were.
Hearst's Journal published a private letter written by the Spanish minister in Washington, Dupuy de Lome in 1898. The letter, which degraded President McKinley, forced Dupuy de Lome to resign.
On February 15, 1898, the American ship, Maine blew up in the Havana port. The Spanish investigators deduced that it was an accident (spontaneous combustion in one of the coal bunkers) while the American investigators claimed that Spain had sunk it. The American people were convinced by the American investigators and war with Spain became imminent. McKinley Unleashes the Dogs of War
American diplomats had already gained Madrid's agreement to Washington's 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 felt that the people should rule so he sent his war message to Congress on April 11, 1898. Congress declared war and adopted the Teller Amendment. It proclaimed to the world that when the United States had overthrown the Spanish misrule, it would give the Cubans their freedom. Dewey's May Day Victory at Manila
The American people plunged into the war with jubilation, which seemed premature to Europeans. The American army numbered 2,100 officers and 28,000 men compared to the 200,000 Spanish troops in Cuba.
The readiness of the navy (ranked 5th world-wide) owed much to the navy secretary John D. Long and his assistant secretary Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt called upon Commodore George Dewey's 6-ship fleet to descend upon Spain's Philippines in the event of war. On May 1, 1898, Dewey slipped by detection at night and attacked and destroyed the 10-ship Spanish fleet at Manila. Unexpected Imperialistic Plums
Foreign ships began to gather in the Manila harbor, protecting their nationals. After several incidents, the potential for battles with other nations blew over.
On August 13, 1898, American troops captured Manila.
The victory in the Philippines prompted the idea that Hawaii was needed as a supply base for Dewey in the Philippines. 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.
Leading the invasion force from the rear to drive out Cervera was General William R. Shafter.
The "Rough Riders," apart of the invading army, was a regiment of volunteers consisting of cowboys and ex-athletes. Commanded by Colonel Leonard Wood, the group was organized principally by Theodore Roosevelt.
William Shafter's landing near Santiago, Cuba was made without serious opposition.
On July 1st, fighting broke out at El Caney and San Juan Hill, up which Colonel Roosevelt and his Rough Riders charged. Curtains for Spain in America
Admiral Cervera's fleet was entirely destroyed on July 3, 1898 and shortly thereafter Santiago surrendered. General Nelson A. Miles met little resistance when he took over Puerto Rico.
On August 12, 1898, Spain signed an armistice.
Before the war's end, much of the American army was stricken with malaria, typhoid, and yellow fever. McKinley Heeds Duty, Destiny, and Dollars
In late 1898, Spanish and American negotiators met in Paris to begin heated discussions. The Americans secured Guam and Puerto Rico, but the Philippines presented President McKinley with a problem: he didn't feel he could give the island back to Spanish misrule, and America would be turning its back upon responsibilities if it simply left the Philippines.
McKinley finally decided to Christianize and to civilize all of the Filipinos. Disputes broke out with the Spanish negotiators over control of the Philippines because Manila had been captured the day after the war, and the island could not be listed among the spoils of the war. America therefore agreed to pay Spain $20 million for the Philippines. America's Course (Curse?) of Empire
The Anti-Imperialistic League sprang up and fought the McKinley administration's expansionist moves.
In the Senate, the Spanish treaty ran into such opposition that is seemed doomed to defeat. Democratic presidential candidate for the election of 1900, William J. Bryan used his influence on Democratic senators to get the treaty approved on February 6, 1899. Bryan argued that the sooner the treaty was passed, the sooner the Filipinos could gain their independence. Perplexities in Puerto Rico and Cuba
By the Foraker Act of 1900, Congress gave the Puerto Ricans a limited degree of popular government and, in 1917, granted them U.S. citizenship. The American regime in Puerto Rico worked wonders in education, sanitation, transportation, and other improvements.
Beginning in 1901 with the Insular Cases, the Supreme Court 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 constitution decreed that the United States might intervene with troops in Cuba in order 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, American prestige as a world power increased.
One of the greatest results of the war was the bonding between the North and the South.
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
American soldiers as well as Filipino guerillas resorted to brutal fighting tactics.
The backbone of the Filipino rebellion was broken in 1901 when American soldiers captured Emilio Aguinaldo.
President McKinley appointed the Philippine Commission in 1899 to set up a Filipino government. William H. Taft, who referred to the Filipinos to "little brown brothers," led the body in 1900. 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 involved improving roads, sanitation, and public health. The plan developed economic ties and set a school system with English as the 2nd language. It was ill received by the Filipinos who preferred liberty over assimilation. Hinging the Open Door in China
Following China's defeat by Japan in 1894-1895, Russia and Germany moved into China. The American public, fearing that Chinese markets would be monopolized by Europeans, demanded that the U.S. Government do something. Secretary of State John Hay dispatched to all the great powers a communication known as the Open Door note. He urged the powers to announce that in their leaseholds or spheres of influence they would respect certain Chinese rights and the ideal of fair competition. The note asked all those who did not have thieving designs to stand up and be counted. Italy was the only major power to accept the Open Door unconditionally and Russia was the only major power not to accept it.
In 1900, a super-patriotic group in China known as the "Boxers" killed hundreds of foreigners. A multinational rescue force came in and stopped the rebellion.
After the failed rebellion, Secretary Hay declared in 1900 that the Open Door would embrace the territorial integrity of China as well as 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. They proclaimed that "Bryanism" was the paramount election issue. This meant that Bryan would destroy the nation's prosperity once he took office with his free-silver policy and other "dangerous" ideas.
Theodore Roosevelt was nominated as the vice president after the political bosses of New York (where Roosevelt was governor) found it hard to continue their "businesses" with the headstrong governor. They wanted Roosevelt elected as vice president so that Roosevelt would no longer pose an authority problem to the political bosses.
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.
McKinley and the Republican Party won the election of 1900. TR: Brandisher of the Big Stick
In September 1901, a deranged anarchist murdered President McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt took over the presidency.
Roosevelt was a direct actionist in that he believed that the president should lead and keep things moving forward. 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 that is not specifically forbidden by the laws of the Constitution. Colombia Blocks the Canal
In order for ships to cross quickly from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, a canal had to be built across the Central American isthmus. There were initial legal issues blocking the construction of this canal. By the terms of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, made with Britain in 1850, the U.S. could not gain exclusive control over a route for the canal. But because of friendly relations with Britain, Britain signed the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty in 1901, which gave the U.S. a helping hand to build the canal and rights to fortify it.
Many Americans favored the Nicaraguan route for the canal, but Congress decided on the Panama route for the canal in June 1902 after the New Panama Canal Company dropped the price of its holdings significantly.
Colombia stood in the way of the construction of the canal. After a treaty to buy land for the canal had been rejected by the Colombian senate, President Roosevelt, who was eager to win the upcoming election, demanded that the canal be built without Colombia's consent. Uncle Sam Creates Puppet Panama
On November 3, 1903, Panamanians, who feared the United States would choose the Nicaraguan route for the canal, made a successful revolution 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 so-called rape of Panama marked a downward lurch in U.S relations with Latin America.
President Roosevelt defended himself against all charges of doing anything wrong. He claimed that Colombia had wronged the United States by not permitting itself to be benefited by the construction of the canal.
In 1904 the construction of the Panama Canal began, and in 1914 it was completed at a cost of $400 million. TR's Perversion of Monroe's Doctrine
Several nations of Latin America were in debt to European countries. President Roosevelt feared that if the European nations (mainly the Germany and Britain) got their feet in the door of Latin America, then they might remain there, in violation of the Monroe Doctrine. Roosevelt therefore created a policy known as "preventive intervention." The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declared that in the event of future monetary problems of Latin American countries with European countries, the U.S. could pay off the Latin American counties' debts to keep European nations out of Latin America.
Latin American countries began to hate the Monroe Doctrine for it had become the excuse for numerous U.S. interventions in Latin America. In actuality, President Roosevelt was the one to be blamed for the interventions. Roosevelt on the World Stage
Japan began war with Russia in 1904 after Russia failed to withdraw troops from Manchuria and Korea. Japan was defeating Russia in the war when Japan's supply of troops began to run low. Japan therefore asked President Roosevelt to step in and sponsor peace negotiations. Roosevelt agreed and in 1905 forced through an agreement in which the Japanese received no compensation for the losses and only the southern half of Sakhalin.
Because of the treaty, friendship with Russia faded away and Japan became a rival with America in Asia. Japanese Laborers in California
When the Japanese government lifted its ban on its citizens emigrating in 1884, thousands of Japanese were recruited to work in California. 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 invited the entire San Francisco Board of Education to the White House to settle the dispute. TR broke the deadlock and the Californians were persuaded to repeal the segregation and to accept what came to be known as the "Gentlemen's Agreement." The Japanese agreed to stop the flow of immigrants to the United States.
In 1908, the Root-Takahira agreement was reached with Japan. The U.S. and Japan pledged themselves to respect each other's territorial possessions.
Progressivism and the Republican Roosevelt
At the beginning of the 20th Century, the ethnically and racially mixed American people were convulsed by a reform movement. The new crusaders, who called themselves "progressives," waged war on many evils including monopolies, corruption, inefficiency, and social injustice. Progressive Roots
Well before 1900, politicians and writers had begun to pinpoint targets for the progressive attack. Henry Demarest Lloyd assailed the Standard Oil Company in 1894 with his book Wealth Against Commonwealth. Jacob A. Riis shocked middle-class Americans in 1890 with How the Other Half Lives which described the dark and dirty slums of New York.
Socialists and feminists were at the front of social justice. Raking Muck with the Muckrakers
Popular magazines began to appear in American newsstands in 1902. They exposed the corruption and scandal that the public loved to hate. The reform-minded journalists who wrote articles in these magazines were called Muckrakers by President Roosevelt.
In 1902, New York reporter, Lincoln Steffens launched a series of articles in McClure's titled "The Shame of the Cities" which unmasked the corrupt alliance between big business and municipal government.
Ida M. Tarbell published a devastating but factual depiction of the Standard Oil Company.
David G. Phillips published a series, "The Treason of the Senate" in Cosmopolitan that charged that 75 of the 90 senators did not represent the people but they rather represented railroads and trusts.
Some of the most effective attacks of the muckrakers were directed at social evils. The suppression of America's blacks was shown in Ray Stannard's Following the Color Line (1908). John Spargo wrote of the abuses of child labor in The Bitter Cry of the Children (1906). Political Progressivism
Progressive reformers were mainly middle-class men and women.
The progressives sought 2 goals: to use state power to control the trusts; and to stem the socialist threat by generally improving the common person's conditions of life and labor.
Progressives wanted to regain the power that had slipped from the hands of the people into those of the "interests." Progressives supported direct primary elections and favored "initiative" so that voters could directly propose legislation themselves, thus bypassing the boss-sought state legislatures. They also supported "referendum" and "recall." Referendum would place laws on ballots for final approval by the people, and recall would enable the voters to remove faithless corrupt officials.
As a result of pressure from the public's progressive reformers, the 17th Amendment was passed to the Constitution in 1913. It established the direct election of U.S. senators. Progressivism in the Cities and States
States began the march toward progressivism when they undertook to regulate railroads and trusts. In 1901, the governor of Wisconsin and significant figure of the progressive era, Robert M. La Follette took considerable control from the corrupt corporations and returned it to the people.
Governor of California, Hiram W. Johnson helped to break the dominant grip of the Southern Pacific Railroad on California politics in 1910. Progressive Women
A crucial focus for women's activism was the settlement house movement. Settlement houses exposed middle-class women to poverty, political corruption, and intolerable working and living conditions.
Most female progressives defended their new activities as an extension of their traditional roles of wife and mother.
Female activists worked through organizations like the Women's Trade Union League and the National Consumers League.
Florence Kelley took control of the National Consumers League in 1899 and mobilized female consumers to pressure for laws safeguarding women and children in the workplace.
Caught up in the crusade, some states controlled, restricted, or abolished alcohol. TR's Square Deal for Labor
President Roosevelt believed in the progressive reform. He enacted a "Square Deal" program that consisted of 3 parts: control of the corporations, consumer protection, and conservation of natural resources.
In 1902, coal miners in Pennsylvania went on strike and demanded a 20% raise in pay and a workday decrease from 10 hours to 9 hours. When mine spokesman, George F. Baer refused to negotiate, President Roosevelt stepped in and threatened to operate the mines with federal troops. A deal was struck in which the miners received a 10% pay raise and an hour workday reduction.
Congress, aware of the increasing hostilities between capital and labor, created the Department of Commerce in 1903. TR Corrals the Corporations
Although the Interstate Commerce Commission was created in 1887, railroad barons were still able to have high shipping rates because of their ability to appeal the commission's decisions on high rates to the federal courts.
In 1903, Congress passed the Elkins Act, which allowed for heavy fines to be placed on railroads that gave rebates and on the shippers that accepted them. (Railroad companies would offer rebates as incentives for companies to use their rail lines.)
Congress passed the Hepburn Act of 1906, restricting free passes and expanding the Interstate Commerce Commission to extend to include express companies, sleeping-car companies, and pipelines. (Free passes: rewards offered to companies allowing an allotted number of free shipments; given to companies to encourage future business.)
In 1902, President Roosevelt challenged the Northern Securities Company, a railroad trust company that sought to achieve a monopoly of the railroads in the Northwest. The Supreme Court upheld the President and the trust was forced to be dissolved. Caring for the Consumer
After botulism was found in American meats, foreign governments threatened to ban all American meat imports. Backed by the public, President Roosevelt passed the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. The act stated that the preparation of meat shipped over state lines would be subject to federal inspection.
The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was designed to prevent the adulteration and mislabeling of foods and pharmaceuticals. Earth Control
The first step towards conservation came with the Desert Land Act of 1887, under which the federal government sold dry land cheaply on the condition that the purchaser would irrigate the soil within 3 years. A more successful step was the Forest Reserve Act of 1891. It authorized the president to set aside public forests as national parks and other reserves. The Carey Act of 1894 distributed federal land to the states on the condition that it be irrigated and settled.
President Roosevelt, a naturalist and rancher, convinced Congress to pass the Newlands Act of 1902, which authorized the federal government to collect money from the sale of public lands in western states and then use these funds for the development of irrigation projects.
In 1900 Roosevelt, attempting to preserve the nation's shrinking forests, set aside 125 million acres of land in federal reserves.
Under President Roosevelt, professional foresters and engineers developed a policy of "multiple-use resource management." They sought to combine recreation, sustained-yield logging, watershed protection, and summer stock grazing on the same expanse of federal land. Many westerners soon realized how to work with federal conservation programs and not resist the federal management of natural resources. The "Roosevelt Panic" of 1907
Theodore Roosevelt was elected as president in 1904. President Roosevelt made it known that he would not run for a 3rd term.
A panic descended upon Wall Street in 1907. The financial world blamed the panic on President Roosevelt for unsettling the industries with his anti-trust tactics.
Responding to the panic of 1907, Congress passed the Aldrich-Vreeland Act in 1908 which authorized national banks to issue emergency currency backed by various kinds of collateral. The Rough Rider Thunders Out
For the election of 1908, the Republican Party chose William Howard Taft, secretary of war to Theodore Roosevelt. The Democratic Party chose William Jennings Bryan.
William Howard Taft won the election of 1908.
In Roosevelt's term, Roosevelt attempted to protect against socialism and to protect capitalists against popular indignation. He greatly enlarged the power and prestige of the presidential office, and he helped shape the progressive movement and beyond it, the liberal reform campaigns later in the century. TR also opened the eyes of Americans to the fact that they shared the world with other nations. Taft: A Round Peg in a Square Hole
President Taft had none of the arts of a dashing political leader, such as Roosevelt, and none of Roosevelt's zest. He generally adopted an attitude of passivity towards Congress. The Dollar Goes Abroad as a Diplomat
Taft encouraged Wall Street bankers to invest in foreign areas of strategic interest to the United States. New York bankers thus strengthened American defenses and foreign policies, while bringing prosperity to America.
In China's Manchuria, Japan and Russia controlled the railroads. President Taft saw in the Manchurian monopoly a possible strangulation of Chinese economic interests and a slamming of the Open Door policy. In 1909, Secretary of State Philander C. Knox proposed that a group of American and foreign bankers buy the Manchurian railroads and then turn them over to China. Both Japan and Russia flatly rejected the selling of their railroads. Taft the Trustbuster
Taft brought 90 lawsuits against the trusts during his 4 years in office as opposed to Roosevelt who brought just 44 suits in 7 years.
In 1911, the Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the Standard Oil Company, stating that it violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890.
Also in 1911, the Courts handed down its "rule of reason"; a doctrine that stated that only those trusts that unreasonably restrained trade were illegal. Taft Splits the Republican Party
President Taft signed the Payne-Aldrich Bill in 1909, a tariff bill that placed a high tariff on many imports. With the signing, Taft betrayed his campaign promises of lowering the tariff.
Taft was a strong conservationist, but in 1910, the Ballinger-Pinchot quarrel erased much of his conservationist record. When Secretary of the Interior Richard Ballinger opened public lands in Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska to corporate development, he was criticized by chief of the Agriculture Department's Division of Forestry, Gifford Pinchot. When Taft dismissed Pinchot, much protest arose from conservationists.
By the spring of 1910, the reformist wing of the Republican Party was furious with Taft and the Republican Party had split. One once supporter of Taft, Roosevelt, was now an enemy. Taft had broken up Roosevelt's U.S. Steel Corporation, which Roosevelt had worked long and hard to form. The Taft-Roosevelt Rupture
In 1911, the National Progressive Republican League was formed with La Follette as its leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
In February of 1912, Theodore Roosevelt, with his new views on Taft, announced that he would run again for presidency, clarifying that he said he wouldn't run for 3 consecutive terms.
The Taft-Roosevelt explosion happened in June of 1912 when the Republican convention met in Chicago. When it came time to vote, the Roosevelt supporters claimed fraud and in the end refused to vote. Taft subsequently won the Republican nomination.
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