001_Reading_to_Prepare_for_Class__2_-_Hoganson_-_American_Manhood_and_the_Spanish_American_War.pdf

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- Ame r ican Manhood and Declaring War on Spain in 1898 K ri stin L. Hog an son On February 15, 1898, an explosion ri pped through the United States battle- ship Maine as it sat anchored in the waters just off Havana, Cuba. The blast killed 266 American sailors and ignited a furious cry for revenge within Cong ress, the press, and the general public. They accused Spain of planting the ex plosives, and called for war. In April they got their wish. In addition to war, the Maine tragedy set off a year-long se ries of dramatic events that launch ed the United States on a course that many thought a betrayal of anticolonial ideals. On February 9, 1899, the Senate approved a treaty that ended the war with Spain and made the United States a colonial power. now co ntrolled a group of over seas islands: Cuba, Puerto Ric o, Guam, the P hili ppines. What happened? Cuba and Puerto Rico we re the last remnants of a once-sprawl Spanish colonial empire in the Western Hemi sp here. Cuban nationalists were especially res entful of Spa nish control of their island and , over the decades, had staged periodic revolts. They did so again in 1895, and this one turned especially brutal. In 1896 Spain sent General Valeri<l!lo Wey l er to down the rebellion. To undermine the rebel's base of su pport among Cuban peasants, Weyl er forced thousands of rural families to move into Spanish- controlled towns. This "reconcentration" policy led to the deaths of thou- sands from disease, starvation, and brutal treatment. It also created outrage in the United States and wide s pread suppor t among Americans for Cuban independence. er 3 • American Manhood a nd Declaring War on Spa in in This 1900 cartoon sh o ws pacifist and presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan branding Pre sident William McKinley an Imperialist. Based on e vi dence presented in th e article, was that a fai r description of President McKinley's role in events leading up to war with Recently elected President William McKinley resisted calls for interven- tion. Although sympathetic to the Cuban rebels, McJGnley was focused on reviving the American economy in the aftermath of the devastating depres- sion of 1893. He also questio~ed whether the United States army and were prepared for war. In January 1898, however, as conditions worsened Cuba, McKinley sent the battleship Maine to Havana in case Americans living there had to be evacuated. When the Maine exploded the following month, chants of "Remember the Maine, and the Hell with Spain" were heard around the country. McKinley its It and ing put 30 Ch apt 1898 31 Spain? navy in
32 Part 1 • America in T ra nsi tio n, 1865- 1920 aga in resisted a rush to war, instead appointing a commission to investigate the cause of the explosion. He suspected that the blast was accidental, caused by an internal explosion in the ship 's coal bunkers. (Modem investigations of the explosion support this view.) And he knew that the last thing Spain want- ed was war with the United States. But most were convinced the Spanish were

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