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Chapter 27
Empire & Expansion
America Turns Outward
1890s - due to rising exports, manufacturing capability, power, and
wealth, U.S. began to expand onto the world stage
– “yellow press” or “yellow journalism” (Joseph Pulitzer and William
Randolph Hearst)
– Reverend Josiah Strong’s Our Country: It’s Possible Future and Its
Present Crisis. Strong spoke for civilizing and Christianizing savages.
– Social Darwinism
– Naval build-up led America to look to oversea expansion
U.S. begins to move out of its isolationist stance
– US and Germany almost went to war over the Samoan Islands
– Italy and America almost fought due to the lynching of 11 Italians in
New Orleans
– 1892 - U.S. and Chile almost went to war after the deaths of two
American sailors at Valparaiso in.
British involvement in Venezuela wound up strengthening the
Monroe Doctrine and eventual strengthening of relations w/ Britain
Cubans Rise in Revolt
1895 - Cubans revolted against Spain, torching sugar cane fields
– America supported the revolution in Cuba
The American public called for action, but Cleveland would
do nothing.
– The yellow presses competed against each other to come up with more
sensational stories (many fictionalized)
2/15/1898 - U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana Harbor
– killing 260 officers and men.
– Pres. McKinley privately didn’t like war & Wall Street didn’t want war
because it would upset business.
– Hearst to Cuban contact, “You supply the pictures, I’ll supply the story.”
4/11/1898 - the president sent his war message to Congress
– (1) war with Spain seemed inevitable, (2) America had to defend
democracy, and (3) opposing a war could split the Republican party and
– Congress adopted the Teller Amendment (proclaimed that when the
U.S. overthrew Spanish rule, it would give the Cubans their freedom.)
The Confused Invasion of Cuba
The Spanish sent a fleet commanded by Admiral Cervera to
– promptly blockaded by a better American force.
– 7/1/1898 - The “Rough Riders,” a regiment of volunteers led by
Theodore Roosevelt and Colonel Leonard Wood, rushed to Cuba and
battled at El Caney stormed up San Juan Hill.
– 7/3/1898 - Admiral Cervera was finally ordered to fight the American
fleet, and his fleet was destroyed.
On land, the American army, commanded by General Nelson
A. Miles, met little resistance as they took over Puerto Rico.
– Aug. 12, 1898 - Spain signed an armistice.
The American army was plagued with dysentery, typhoid,
and yellow fever.
– 400 Americans died in battle, over 5,000 succumbed to bacteria
– TR wrote a “round-robin” letter demanding the U.S. govt take the
troops out before they all died.
Perplexities in Puerto Rico and Cuba
The Foraker Act (1900) gave Puerto Ricans a limited degree of
popular government
– 1917 - Congress granted Puerto Ricans full American citizenship.
– U.S. help also transformed Puerto Rico and worked wonders in
sanitation, transportation, beauty, and education.
In the Insular Cases, the Supreme Court barely ruled that the
Constitution did not have full authority on how to deal with the
islands (Cuba and Puerto Rico)
America could not improve Cuba much, other than getting rid of
yellow fever with the help of General Leonard Wood and Dr.
Walter Reed.
1902 - the U.S. pulled out of Cuba, but it also “encouraged”
Cuba to write and pass the Platt Amendment, which became
part of their constitution.
– said that (1) the U.S. could intervene and restore order in case of
anarchy, (2) that the U.S. could trade freely with Cuba, and (3) that the
U.S. could get two bays for naval bases, notably Guantanamo Bay.
“Little Brown Brothers” in the Philippines
Filipinos had assumed that they would receive freedom after
the Spanish-American War
Feb 4, 1899 - insurrection led by Emilio Aguinaldo
Americans tried to assimilate the Filipinos, but the islanders
resisted; they finally got their independence on July 4, 1946
John Hay Defends China (and U.S. Interests)
Following its defeat by Japan in 1894-94, China had been
carved into spheres of influence by the European powers
American businesses feared that they would not be able to
export their products to China
Secretary of State John Hay dispatched his famous Open
Door note
– urged the European nations to keep fair competition open to all
nations willing and wanting to participate
– China was not carved up, but foreigners were there
Open Door in China
1900 - a super-patriotic group known as the “Boxers”
revolted and took over the capital of China, Beijing
Foreigners were taken hostage
Multi-national force was sent in & put down the rebellion
Foreign countries assessed damages to China ($333 million)
US eventually received $18 million
TR: Brandisher of the Big Stick
McKinley won re-election easily & Teddy Roosevelt had been
moved to VP where they (Republicans) thought he’d stay
1901 - 6 months into the 2nd term, McKinley was shot &
Roosevelt took over—at age of 42 (youngest ever to be
– his motto was “Speak softly and carry a big stick,”.
one foreign affair that he knew needed to be dealt with was
the creation of a canal through the Central American isthmus
– Such a waterway would also make defense of the recent island
acquisitions easier (i.e. Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, Hawaii)
– 1850 - Clayton-Bulwer Treaty with Britain forbade the construction
by either country of a canal in the Americas without the other’s
consent and help
– statement was nullified in 1901 by the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty
Nicaraguan route was a possibility (opposed by the French)
next choice was Panama
– Problem: Columbia had control & did not want us there
U.S. negotiated a deal that would buy a 6-mile-wide strip of
land in Panama for $10 million and a $250,000 annual
payment (rejected)
– TR wanted construction to begin before the 1904 campaign
US helped the Panamanians stage a revolt and the
Columbian govt. was out
– signed the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty that gave a widened (6x10 mi.)
Panamanian zone to the U.S. for $15 mil
1904 - construction began on the Panama Canal
– problems with land slides and sanitation occurred (yellow fever was
also a problem)
1906 - TR visited Panama, 1st U.S. president to leave
America for foreign soil
1914 – Panama canal was finally finished and opened
– cost of $400 million
TR’s Perversion of the Monroe Doctrine
Britain & Germany decided to send a bit of force to South
America to make the Latin countries pay back their debts
TR feared that if European powers interfered in the Americas
to collect debts, they might then stay in Latin America
– That would violated the Monroe Doctrine
he issued his Roosevelt Corollary
– in future cases of debt problems, the U.S. would take over and pay off
the debts, thus keeping the Europeans on the other side of the Atlantic
– In effect, no one could bully Latin America except the U.S.
Roosevelt on the World Stage
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1905 TR met with
Japanese & Russians to mediate the Russo-Japanese War
– TR negotiated a deal in which Japan got half of Sakhalin but no
indemnity for its losses
For this and his mediation of North African disputes in 1906
through an international conference at Algeciras, Spain; TR
received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906
– America lost two allies in Russia and Japan, neither of which felt that it
had received its fair share of winnings
– After the war many Japanese immigrants poured into California, and
fears of a “yellow flood” arose again
San Francisco (after an earthquake); it was said that
Japanese children should attend a different school
S.F. would not displace students while Japan would keep its
laborers in Japan (restricting immigration)
– To impress the Japanese, Roosevelt sent his entire battleship fleet
around the world for a tour—Great White Fleet