As the 19thcentury came to a close, many voices cried for American expansionism to match the imperialistic ambitions of Europe and Japan. The dream for global destiny was justified by such logic as the expansion of overseas markets, desire for a stronger navy, and the spreading of Christianity to uncivilized peoples around the globe. Eventually, this expansionism translated into conflict, climaxing in 1898 with the Spanish-American War.
James G. Blaine, Pan-Americanism: As Secretary of State, Blaine fostered closer U.S.-Latin American relations and brought about the first Pan-American Congress in order to forge commercial, social, economic, military, and political cooperation among the 21 republics of North, Central, and South America.
Venezuelan boundary dispute: Venezuela had a dispute over its boundary with the British Colony of Guiana. In 1895, while the British refused to resolve the issue, United States Secretary of State Richard Olney sent a message to London declaring that the US would be "practically sovereign on this content."
Bering Sea seal controversy: When the US purchased Alaska in 1867, it included some small Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea. Congress leased the island to a US company which killed seals with the understanding that they would not kill more than 10,000 male seals per year. This led to the regulation of pelagic sealing in 1893.
"Yellow journalism": Two rival newspapers in New York City, William Randolph Hearst’s Journal, and Joseph Pulitzer’s World, sensationalized editorializing on the issues to increase circulation. One of Hearst’s gimmicks was "The Yellow Kid," which gave the name of Yellow Journalism to this tactic.
Josiah Strong, Our Country: Reverend Josiah Strong wrote the book Our Country: Its Possible Future and Present Crisis expressing his fears of the inability of relief organizations to cope with the explosive growth of the urban poor in the 1870’s and 1880’s.
•Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan: The Influence of Sea Power upon History (1890) helped create and develop the expansionist movement. Mahan, former head of the Navy War College at Newport, Rhode Island wanted to expand United States Navy to build an isthmusian canal, and to establish strategic colonies as cooling stations, and to protect US political and economic interests.
Samoa, Pago Pago: America’s Navy wanted to establish a port in the Samoan Islands, so their ships could refuel in the island of Pago Pago. This was an example of the United States Navy’s expansion efforts in the pacific. Their goal was to obtain more ports so they could have more ships out on the ocean to control the seas.
Virginius: In 1873 a Spanish gunboat captured the Virginius, a ship fraudulently flying the American flag, in Cuba. Secretary of State Fish and the Spanish minister came together in Washington and signed a protocol bringing the end to the Virginius affairs. Spain paid the US $80,000.
de Lôme letter: On February 8, 1898, Hearst’s Journal published a private letter written by Spanish minister to the United States Depuy de Lôme regarding his reservations for Cuban independence and disparaging President McKinley. Many Americans would have agreed, but they resented hearing it from a Spanish diplomat.
Maine explodes: When an explosion rocked the Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, killing 266 American crewmen, irritation turned to outrage. A review of the evidence later concluded that a ship-board ammunition explosion caused the blast. Still, a navy inquiry blamed the blast on a "Spanish mine."
•Teller Amendment: The U.S. had been motivated o war in part by the desire to aid the Cubans in their attempt to liberate themselves from the colonial rule of Spain. To this end the Teller Ammendment was added to the Declaration of War. It speciffically prohibited the annexation of Cuba, as a cause of the war.
SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR: The Spanish-American War lasted just three months with only a few days of actual combat. Action started on May 1, 1898, when George Dewey’s fleet steamed into Manila Bay in the Philippines and seized or destroyed all ten Spanish ships anchored there. The war ended after Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera attempted to break through American forces losing 474 men. The Filipinos celebrated their freedom from four hundred years of Spanish rule on July 4,1898.
Assistant Secretary of Navy Theodore Roosevelt: Theodore Roosevelt was appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Navy by President William McKinley in 1897. Roosevelt was an impatient disciple in the Spanish-American War, acting largely on his own. In 1898, Roosevelt resigned to become second in command of the Rough Riders.
Commodore Dewey, Manila Bay: The first action of the Spanish-American War came in 1898 when Commodore George Dewey’s fleet steamed into Manila Bay in the Philippines. This fleet destroyed and captured all ten Spanish ships that were assigned in Manila Bay. One American and 381 Spanish men died in the attempt.
Cleveland and Hawaii: In 1887 the United States gained the right to establish a naval port in Pearl Harbor. President Grover Cleveland was troubled with the crisis in Hawaii since Hawaiians claimed to want annexation. However, once their queen was overthrown, Hawaiians were uncertain if they wanted annexation at all.
Queen Liluokalani: Liluokalani was the Queen of Hawaii who did not like Americans since they built their port in Pearl Harbor. Queen Liluokalani was overthrown when Hawaii’s sugar prices dropped 40% and planters wanted the independent Republic of Hawaii.
Annexation of Hawaii: In 1890 under the McKinley Tariff, domestic sugar growers ended the duty-free status of Hawaiian sugar. After Hawaii’s sugar prices dropped 40% and Queen Liluokalani was overthrown, the Hawaiians decided to request United States annexation.
Rough Riders, San Juan Hill: The battle of San Juan Hill was fought on July 1, 1898 during the American advance on Santiago during the Spanish-American War. A division including the Rough Riders, under the command of General Kent, captured the hill, placing the American army on high ground overlooking Santiago.
Treaty of Paris, 1898: The Treaty of Paris ended the Spanish-American War and developed an American empire overseas. In the treaty, Spain agreed to abandon Cuba and exchange Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to America for $20 million. The treaty gave the United States a new imperialistic reputation.
American Anti-Imperialist League: The critics of imperialism were many and influential. Forming the Anti-Imperialist League, they believed that every country captured by the U.S. had the same rights under the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico: By the terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain recognized Cuba’s independence and ceded the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Pacific Island of Guam to the United States in exchange for $20 million. As 1899 dawned Americans possessed an island empire from the Caribbean to the Pacific.
Walter Reed: In 1900 Walter Reed was appointed to the Yellow Fever Commission as a result of his investigation of the disease. After being sent to Cuba to find out more about Yellow Fever, he discovered that the disease was carried by a mosquito. He later became a curator at Army Medical Museum and a professor at Army Medical College.
Insular Cases: The decisions regarding whether the Constitution applies to Puerto Rico and the Philippines are known as the Insular Cases. They ruled that the residents are inhabitants but not citizens of the United States. Because of this ruling, these countries were not honored by the Constitution and were treated as colonies.
Platt Amendment: Senator Orville Platt, at the request of the War department, made a revised bill to remove some of the restrictions stated in the Teller Amendment. The Platt Amendment stated that the United States would withdraw from Cuba if they did not sign a treaty with any other foreign power. It also gave the United States the right to interfere with Cuba if they believed that it was not a fit enough country to take care of itself. Also, they established the right to hold a naval base in Cuba.
Protectorate: When a more powerful state controls the economy, foreign affairs, or police power of another state, it is considered a protectorate. In the case of the United States, Cuba was a protectorate as a result of the Platt Amendment. Other examples might include Nicuaragua, the Dominican Republic, Hawaii, and other Pacific islands.
Aguinaldo, Philippine insurrection: In 1896 Emilio Aguinaldo started a Filipino movement for independence to get out of Spain’s control. When Spain surrendered, Aguinaldo drew up a constitution and proclaimed the Philippines’s independence. When the Treaty of Paris gave the United States power over the Philippines, Aguinaldo became angry and tried to fight. He soon realized that he would lose and gave up.
Secretary of State John Hay, Open Door Notes: John Hay’s Open Door Notes was a policy that explained the importance of American commercial influence on foreign policies. The Open Door Notes stated that the pre-thought "informal empire" was correct as opposed to overseas colonies being favored by imperial power.
Boxer Rebellion: The Boxers, a secret group of Chinese men known as I Ho Ch’uan, opposed Christianity in their country. Numbering 140,000, the Boxers killed thousands of foreigners as well as Chinese suspected of being Christian. British, American, Russian, Japanese and French soldiers were sent to China to end the "Boxer Rebellion."
Extraterritoriality: Extraterritoriality is a principle in international law that allows certain visiting foreign citizens or their property to be exempt from the laws of a host nation. Foreign heads of states traveling abroad and diplomats representing their home countries are examples of people benefiting from extraterritoriality.
Most favored nation clause: The most favored nation clause is a commercial treaty that regulates special low tariffs on goods imported to the United States. All countries awarded the Special Nation Status must be treated equally. Duties for the same group of goods should be the same low regardless from which country signatory of the status they are imported.
Roosevelt & Progressivism
Many intellectuals increasingly challenged the foundations of the social order. Voices of reform thundered over the nation calling for democratic government, better cities, and the curbing of corporate power. This movement, labeled progressivism, found its first national leader in Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt actively pursued many of his goals: labor mediation, consumer protection, conservation, business virtue, and activism abroad. His successor, Taft, continued in Roosevelt’s aims but lacked his political genius.
Election of 1900: candidates and issues: William McKinley, the Republican candidate, beat William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic candidate, for President. The Republican campaign theme of prosperity, summed up in the slogan "A Full Dinner Pail," easily won him a second term. McKinley had 284 electoral votes where as Bryan had 115.
Roosevelt’s Big Stick diplomacy: One of Roosevelt’s most famous statements was "speak softly and carry a big stick." An example of his meaning in this statement was when Canada wanted the Alaskan land that America owned. They were fighting over the boundaries because of gold found in the area. Roosevelt simply stated that if the boundaries would change, there would be serious consequences. Because of his problem solving method, Roosevelt was known to use "Big Stick" diplomacy.
Clayton-Bulwer Treaty: The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850 stated that both the United States and Britain promised not to claim control over any canal built between the oceans that separated their countries. This included the Panama Canal which America later took over anyway.
Hay-Pauncefote Treaty: In 1901, the United States planned to construct the Panama Canal. This meant they would be in need of a new treaty. Secretary of State John Hay and British Ambassador Sir Julian Pauncefote agreed on a new treaty that would drop England’s claim on the canal.
Panama Revolution: Financed by Philippe Bunau-Varilla, chief agent of the New Panama Canal Company, the Panama Revolution was a planned revolt by Panamanians against Colombian occupation of the Isthmus of Panama. The United States did not encourage the revolution, but it did make clear that it would not allow it to fail.
The Panama Canal: When a French company supposed to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama went bankrupt, it offered to sell its assets to the United States. The Hay-Herrán agreement, which would have granted the US a ninety-nine-year lease on a strip of land for canal construction, was rejected by the Colombian senate. Determined to have a canal, Roosevelt found a collaborator in Philippe Bunau-Varilla, who organized a "revolution." After Panama was recognized, the canal building commenced.
Virgin Islands purchased: Denmark, in 1917, sold to the United States its West Indian territories for $25 million, including the Virgin Islands. These islands, located at the perimeters of the Caribbean, were of great military importance during the Second World War. They mainly served to protect the US mainland as well as the Panama Canal.
Goethals and Gorgas: George Goethel was a civil engineer who directed a completion of the Panama Canal. William Gorgas helped to make it possible to construct Panama Canal by killing mosquitoes carrying yellow fever and malaria. Theodore Roosevelt later appointed these men important positions in The Panama Canal Zone.
Venezuela Crisis, 1902: In 1902 the country's debts became so large that European creditor nations blockaded Venezuela; the United States intervened to obtain arbitration of the dispute. Castro's departure for Europe in 1908 opened the way for his deputy, Juan Vicente Gomez, to seize power.
Drago Doctrine: Luis Maria Drago was an Argentine diplomat who formulated a supplement to the Monroe Doctrine known as the Drago Doctrine. In 1902, Great Britain, Germany, and Italy imposed a joint naval blockade on Venezuela in order to coerce that country into paying its debts.
Roosevelt Corollary: In 1904, Roosevelt created the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. This doctrine justified U.S. intervention in the affairs of Latin American nations if their weakness or wrongdoing warranted such action. An example of this interference was the American intervention in Haiti when it was not wanted. The document was primarily a pass for the US to interfere with other countries’ business when it was not wanted nor needed.
U.S. intervention in Haiti: In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson sent the United States Marines into Haiti. The purpose was to calm the anarchy that the US claimed existed in the country. In 1916, Congress ratified a treaty that would allow the US ten years of control over Haiti to maintain order and give political and economic assistance.
Dominican Republic: In 1915, after bloody upheavals in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Wilson ordered the marines. A Haitian constitution favorable to U.S. commercial interests was ratified in 1918. The marines remained in the Dominican Republic until 1924, and in Haiti until 1934.
Revolution in Nicaragua: In 1911 a US-supported revolution in Nicaragua brought to power Adolfo Díaz, an officer of the American-owned Nicaraguan mining property. American bankers loaned the Díaz government $15 million in exchange for control of most of Nicaragua. When a revolt broke out, Roosevelt ordered in the marines.
Russo-Japanese War, Treaty of Portsmouth: The Russo-Japanese war (1904-05) was the first conflict in which an Asian power defeated a European country. Fighting began when the Japanese attacked the Russian fleet at Port Arthur after Russia, which had occupied Manchuria during the Boxer Uprising in China, refused to withdraw its troops.
San Francisco School Board Incident: American relations with Japan suffered when the San Francisco school board, in 1906, ordered all Asian children to attend segregated schools. Summoning the school-board members to Washington, Roosevelt persuaded them to reverse this discriminatory policy.
Elihu Root: As secretary of war in the cabinets of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, Root reorganized the army and established the Army War College. As Roosevelt's secretary of state from 1905 to 1909, he reformed the consular service, improving US relations with Latin America, and sponsoring a series of arbitration treaties.
Taft-Katsura Memo: By the Taft-Katsura Memo of 1905, the United States and Japan pledged to maintain the Open Door principles in China. Japan recognized American control over the Philippines and the United States granted a Japanese protectorate over Korea.
Gentleman’s Agreement: In the 1890’s, workers feared their jobs would be taken by the Japanese immigrants and they wanted a law preventing any more immigrants to move to the United States. In 1907 Japan proposed the Gentlemen’s Agreement which promised that they would halt the unrestricted immigration if President Roosevelt promised to discourage any laws being made that would restrict Japanese immigration to the US.
Great White Fleet: This was a naval fleet that went on a voyage around the world. After 15 months, when the fleet returned, President Roosevelt met all the crew members personally. The two objects of this voyage were being friendly with the nation’s allies but also to show other nations the naval power of the United States.
Lodge Corollary: When a Japanese syndicate moved to purchase a large tract of land in Mexico’s Lower California, Senator Lodge introduced a resolution to block the Japanese investment. The Corollary went further to exclude non-European powers from the Western Hemisphere under the Monroe Doctrine.
Root-Takahira Agreement: In 1908, Japan and the United States signed the Root-Takahira Agreement. Through this document the two nations promised not to seek territorial gain in the Pacific. These two nations also promised to honor an open door policy in China.
Lansing-Ishii Agreement, 1917: Robert Lansing, Secretary of State under President Wilson, negotiated the Lansing-Ishii agreement on November 2, 1917 with Japan, whereby the United States recognized Japan's special interests in China. However, the US still felt they had a right to China.
Jones Act, 1916 (Philippines): In 1916, Congress passed the Jones Act which provided for a government for the Philippines and committed the United States to granting Filipino independence. The government created was based on the Constitutional model. In 1934, a bill was finally passed to actually grant the Filipinos their independence.
Jones Act, 1917 (Puerto Rico): The Jones Act of 1917 was passed by the United States to regulate trade in Puerto Rico. It established the Sea Land service to prevent carriers and shippers from using unfair pricing practices. Its establishment encouraged parallel pricing for all carriers.
Mexican Revolution, Díaz, Huerta, Carranza: Rebels, led by Francisco Madero in 1911, overthrew Porfirio Díaz. In 1913, Madero was overthrown by a military regime led by Victoriano Huerta. The US refused to recognize Huerta’s government because it had come to power violently. Eventually, this led to Mexican-American hostilities.
Mexican migration to the U.S.: In the period from 1877 to 1910 economic conditions were worsening in Mexico. By 1914 more than 100,000 Mexicans had migrated to the United States. These new immigrants found mainly in railroad industries and agriculture where jobs were vacated by the war. They filled partly the US need for labor during war.
"watchful waiting": "Watchful waiting" refers to Wilson’s policy towards the events unfolding in Europe. In effect, it was America’s policy of neutrality throughout most of the First World War. This policy was taken although it was clear that the United States had obvious ties to Britain and would likely favor it.
ABC Powers: The ABC powers consisted of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. In 1914, the ABC powers called a conference to prevent a war between the United States and Mexico caused by the Veracruz Incident. When president Carranza rejected the proposal for a new Mexican government, the conference came to an end.
Pancho Villa, General Pershing: During the political turmoil of Mexico in 1916, bandit Pancho Villa murdered 16 Americans, then burned down Columbus in New Mexico. With the U.S. outraged, General John J. Pershing was sent with 12,000 troops to catch Villa with no avail. Massive US response angered some Mexicans and led to hostilities.
Archangel expedition: In 1918, Allied forces landed in the port of Archangel, Russia to defend Allied military stockpiles from German attack. Allied forces later became anti-Bolshevik and seized the port. Allies favored the Whites during the period of Russia’s civil war. United States involvement in this campaign compromised American neutrality.
Democracy, efficiency, pragmatism: Democracy is a form of government in which a substantial proportion of the citizenry directly or indirectly participates in ruling the state. Pragmatism is a philosophical movement, developed in the United States, which holds that both the meaning and the truth of any idea is a function of its practical outcome.
Wright Brothers, Kitty Hawk: Wilbur and Orville Wright created the modern field of aeronautics. After over 200 calculations and tests at Kitty Hawk they built the first practical airplane, marking the beginning of the individual progressive spirit. They were highly honored internationally and a monument to them was built at Kitty Hawk.
"Muckrakers": Those American writers who early in the 20th century wrote both fiction and nonfiction to expose corruption in business and politics were called the muckrakers. Muckraker was a term first used by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. They were given this name because of their tendency to "spread the muck around."
Henry Demarest Lloyd, Wealth Against Commonwealth: A leading opponent of business monopolies, Henry Demarest Lloyd was one of the pioneer muckrakers of the late 19th century. He developed his antimonopoly theme as financial writer and editor at the Chicago Tribune.
Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class: Thorstein Veblen is best known for his book The Theory of The Leisure Class (1899). Veblen’s book is a classic of social theory that introduced the concept of "conspicuous consumption." Veblen continued to write other books dealing with the same general theories.
Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives: A journalist, photographer, and reformer, Jacob August Riis publicized the plight of immigrants in New York City slum tenements. His photographs, articles, and books focused on the squalid living conditions of the city's poor and spurred legislation to improve those conditions.
Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities: An eminent American reformer and journalist, Joseph Lincoln Steffens, was a leader of the muckrakers. He wrote a series of articles that documented corruption in American cities, asserting that some cities were run by political bosses who remained in power with the help of powerful businessmen.
Frank Norris, The Octopus: The U.S. novelist Frank Norris was a noted pioneer of naturalism in literature. His novels portray the demoralizing effects of modern technology on human fate. His best-known works, The Octopus (1901) and The Pit (1903), attacked the railroad and wheat industries in the United States.
Ida Tarbell, History of the Standard Oil Company: As a Pennsylvania journalist, editor, and biographer, Tarbell became famous as a muckraker through her well-documented articles on political and corporate corruption in McClure's Magazine and American Magazine.
David Graham Phillips, The Treason of the Senate: Author of many popular problem novels of the early 20th century, Phillips was also a prominent journalist. His "Treason of the Senate" series of articles (1906) in Cosmopolitan magazine were an important contribution to the muckraking movement in American journalism.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Woman and Economics: Gilman was a leading American feminist writer known for Woman and Economics (1898), a feminist classic she wrote. It attacked the commonly accepted idea that women should be economically dependent on men while suggesting alternatives such as cooperative kitchens and day-care programs.
John Dewey, The School and Society, "progressive education," "learn by doing": Dewey’s ideas of progressive education, described in The School and Society, greatly affected educational techniques. He founded the Laboratory School, a school in which students learned of life by actively doing things rather than following a strict curriculum.