VI. America’s Course (Curse?) of Empire
In negotiations in Paris, America got
and Puerto Rico and freed Cuba, but the
tough problem, since America couldn’t honorably give it back to Spain after decades of misrule, but the U.S.
couldn’t just take it like an imperialistic nation.
Finally, McKinley decided to keep the Philippines, even though they had been taken one day after the end
of the war, but he did so because of popular public opinion and because it meshed well with business interests.
The U.S. paid $20 million for the islands.
Upon the U.S. taking of the Philippines, uproar broke out, since until now, the United States had mostly
acquired territory from the American continent, and even with Alaska, Hawaii, and the other scattered islands,
there weren’t many people living there.
sprang into being, firmly opposed to this new imperialism of America, and its
members included Mark Twain, William James, Samuel Gompers, and Andrew Carnegie.
Even the Filipinos wanted freedom, and denying that to them was un-American.
However, expansionists cried that the Philippines could become another Hong Kong.
British writer Rudyard Kipling wrote about “The White Man’s Burden,” urging America to keep the
Philippines and “civilize them.”
In the Senate, the treaty was almost not passed, but finally, William Jennings Bryan argued for its
passage, saying that the sooner the treaty was passed, the sooner the U.S. could get rid of the Philippines. The
treaty passed by only one vote.
VII. Perplexities in Puerto Rico and Cuba
The Foraker Act of 1900 gave Puerto Ricans a limited degree of popular government, and in 1917,
Congress granted Puerto Ricans full American citizenship.
U.S. help also transformed Puerto Rico and worked wonders in sanitation, transportation, beauty,
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), essentially letting Congress do whatever it wanted with
them. Basically, the cases said the island residents do not necessarily share the same rights as Americans.
America could not improve Cuba that much however, other than getting rid of yellow fever with the help of
General Leonard Wood and Dr. Walter Reed.
In 1902, the U.S. did indeed walk away from Cuba, but it also encouraged Cuba to write and pass
, which became their constitution.
This amendment 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,
VIII. New Horizons in Two Hemispheres