Dewey, promoted to rear admiral, was ordered to wait in Manila Bay for the U.S. Army. To secure the aid of Filipino insurgents, Dewey sent a ship from his fleet to Hong Kong to pick up Emilio Aguinaldo, the exiled leader of the Philippine revolution. Dewey welcomed Aguinaldo aboard his flagship in Manila Bay.
Dewey gave him the honors of a general of the, ah, revolution. They met in the Battleship Olympia, and I think Aguinaldo had developed the idea that while the Filipinos would like to be independent, they needed the protection of the United States because at that time you have the German interest in the area, French interests, also United Kingdom.
Later on, Aguinaldo wrote in his memoirs that Dewey made promises to support the revolution. But there was one thing wrong, and that was there was no written promise made. Aguinaldo wanted to get a promise, but Dewey said, “My word is stronger than the most strongly written statement there is.”
I think if I were going to put myself in the shoes of Aguinaldo, being really naive, you know, he was just a simple general in the Philippines. So he took the word of these Americans as, you know, accepted it as true.
Aguinaldo returned to his family’s mansion in Kawite, just southwest of Manila, to devise with his generals a strategy to defeat the Spanish.
COMPATRIOTS: Divine Providence is about to place independence within our reach. The Americans have extended their protecting mantle to our beloved country, now that they have severed relations with Spain, owing to the tyranny that nation is exercising in Cuba. The American fleet will prevent any reinforcements coming from Spain. There, where you see the American flag flying, assemble in numbers; they are our redeemers.
TITLE CARD: “There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town, To-night”
When President McKinley called for 200,000 volunteers, more than a million Americans responded.
The entire male body of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania volunteered en masse to fight the Spanish in Cuba. The faculty met at Cornell University and decided that anybody who fought in the war would essentially receive credit for it, that they would not be penalized for going off to war instead of staying back and taking their courses.
There is no division in any part of the land. North and south, east and west, all alike cheerfully respond. From cap and campaign there comes magic healing which has closed ancient wounds. President William McKinley.
H. W. BRANDS
McKinley was fully aware of the divisiveness of the Civil War. He also was aware of the need to include ex-Confederates in the war effort. And so he took particular pains to appoint veterans of the Civil War to top positions during the Spanish-American War.
President McKinley appointed sixty-one-year-old Confederate veteran “Fighting Joe” Wheeler a major general of volunteers, and 330-pound Union officer William Shafter Commander of the Cuban invasion force. Theodore Roosevelt resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy when he received his commission to fight in Cuba. His first call was to Brooks Brothers.