Roosevelt who became the most famous figure to emerge from war. The Rough Riders were to represent a “melting pot” of Americans – excluding blacks – and be a symbol of national unity. The national politics of the late nineteenth century was an era of immense conflict. The battles pitted the East versus the West, rich versus the poor, management versus labor, the Indian Wars had just come to an end. The source of conflict seemed endless. It was hoped that with a common struggle, Americans would become unified, purified, and have its manhood restored. T im Sullivan © 2020 12
Roosevelt’s “band of brothers” included Indian scouts, miners and western bandits, a famous Arizona lawman Bucky O’Neill, star football players from Princeton, elites from Harvard and Yale. Hamilton Fish was from a famous and politically powerful family from New York. Both O’Neill and Fish would be two of the Rough Riders’ casualties. O’Neill is reported to have said moments before his death that there was not a Spanish bullet made with his name on it. Unfortunately, the Spanish army was using German-made ammunition. The most famous battle in the Spanish-American War was the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba – a battle that was initially fought on the neighboring Kettle Hill. It involved the Rough Riders and all black regiment led by the young white officer John “Black Jack” Pershing. Both units fought well and Roosevelt did lead the charge up the hill. Roosevelt’s actions can be called daring, reckless, foolhardy, or irresponsible. However they are viewed, Roosevelt was not all talk. He backed his many words with brave actions. In fact, Roosevelt was nominated for the Medal of Honor. It is speculated that politics or envy denied him the medal during his lifetime, but Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in 2001 for his actions on Kettle and San Juan Hill. The black regiment (the 10 th Cavalry) was a tough outfit who had gained their fame fighting in the American Indians in the West where they earned their nickname “Buffalo Soldiers.” Even the old confederate southerners were impressed with black troops’ abilities. Pershing later wrote: “White regiments, black regiments, regulars and Rough Riders representing the young manhood of the North and the South, fought shoulder to shoulder, unmindful of race or color, unmindful of whether commanded by ex-Confederate or not, and mindful of only their common duty as Americans.” Pershing would later lead U.S. forces in a long campaign against Pancho Villa in Mexico and the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe in World War I. Philippines. Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam As mentioned previously, the U.S. acquired Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines in the war with Spain. The gains were a fulfillment of Mahan’s strategic goals. The most controversial of the acquisitions were the Philippines. The United States did not know what to do with the country. The war had initially been fought to free Cuba. Nobody but Roosevelt had given the Philippines much thought. McKinley could not very well give
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