The War Of 1898: The United States And Cuba In History And Historiography 0807824372, 9780807824375

A century after the Cuban war for independence was fought, Louis Perez examines the meaning of the war of 1898 as repres

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Table of contents :
1. On Context and Condition
2. Intervention and Intent
3. Meaning of the Maine
4. Construcing the Cuban Absence
5. 1898 to 1998: From Memory to Consciousness
Bibliographical Essay
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and Historiography

Louis A. Pérez Jr.

The University o f N orth Carolina Press ChapelH ill & London

© 199® The University o f North Carolina Press All rights reserved Designed by Richard Hendel Set in Monotype Garamond and Meta types by Keystone Typesetting, In c Manufactured in the United States o f America The paper in this book meets the guidelines for permanence and durability o f the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity o f the Council on Library Resources. Library o f Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Pérez, Louis A ., 1 9 4 3 The war o f 1898 : the United States and Cuba in history and historiography / by Louis A . Pérez, p. cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index. ISBN 0-8078-2437-2 (cloth : alk. paper). — ISBN 0-8078-4742-9 (pbk. : alk. paper)

i. Spanish-American War, 1898—Historiography. I. Title E7IJ.P45


973*8 V ° 7 2 —dcai

98-2615 c ip












“ Save Me from M y Friends!” Cartoon appearing in

Pucky September 7 ,18 9 8 .

“ Taking Cuba from Spain

was easy. Preserving it from over-zealous Cuban patriots is another matter,” commented the accompanying editorial.

To the memory o f Ramôn de Armas (1939-1997),

frien d and colleague

CONTENTS P reface, ix C h ron ology, x v

CHAPTER 1 O n C o n text and C on d ition , i

CHAPTER 2 In terven tion and Intent, 23 chapter


M eaning o f the M aine, 57 chapter


C on stru ctin g the C uban A b sen ce, 81 chapter


1898 to 1998: F rom M em ory to C on sciou sn ess, 108 N o tes, 1 3 5 B ibliograph ical E ssay, 15 9 In d ex, 169

PREFACE The war o f 1 898 has loomed large in national discourses o f the twentieth century. A ll parties involved have come to understand 1898 as a water­ shed year, a moment in which outcomes were both defining and decisive, at once an end and a beginning: that special conjuncture o f historical cir­ cumstances that often serves to delineate one historical epoch from another. It was special, too, in that the passage from one historical condi­ tion to another was discernible at die time, even as it was happening. M ost U.S. historiography commemorates 1898 as the moment in which the nation first projected itself as a world power, whereupon the United States established an international presence and global promi­ nence. Spanish historiography has looked back on 1898 as el désastre (the disaster)—an ignominious denouement o f a five-hundred-year-old N ew World empire, after which Spain plunged vertiginously into decades o f disarray and disorder. For Cuba and the Philippine Islands, 1898 repre­ sents a com plex point o f transition from colony to nation in which the pursuit o f sovereignty and separate nationality assumed new forms. For Puerto Rico, the transition was even more complicated, with central elements o f nation and nationality persisting unresolved well into the next century. • • • The historical literature on 1898 in the United States has assumed vast proportions. It includes monographs and memoirs, published docu­ ments and unpublished dissertations, biographies and bibliographical guides, books, articles, and anthologies o f all descriptions. The discus­ sion o f 1898 in various form s has loomed large in virtually every U.S. history textbook o f the last one hundred years. For all the importance traditionally accorded to 1898, and indeed the consensus has been one o f the more notable characteristics o f the histo­ riography, generations o f U.S. scholars have treated the war with Spain with ambivalence, uncertain as to where exactly to situate it: sometimes a war o f expansion, other times an accidental war; an inevitable war or

perhaps an unnecessary one; a war induced by public opinion or one instigated by public officials. It is the thesis o f this book that ambivalence in U.S. historiography is itself the product o f a larger ambiguity, one that contemplates 1898 by way o f such com plex issues as motives and purpose, which in turn insin­ uate themselves into larger discourses on the nation: specifically, the way a people arrange the terms by which they choose to represent them­ selves. The meaning o f 1898 in the United States is ambiguous precisely because what historical narradves understand the nature o f the nadon to be is itself constandy in flux in the form o f self-interrogadon as a means o f self-definidon. Far from detracting from the historical accounts, am­ biguities shed light on the historiography as a form o f national narrative and provide a way to gain insight into normative determinants o f the historical literature. Modes o f historical explanation have thus been si­ multaneously fitted within and derived from the moral hierarchies o f the nation, fashioned in such a manner as to represent the ideals to which the nation has professed dedication. The telling o f 1898—in historical discourses both popular and professional, repeated and refined—has served as a means o f self-affirm ation o f what the nation is, or perhaps more correcdy what the nation thinks itself to be, as past and present have been conjoined in the service o f self-revelation. Representations o f 1 898 were early invested with the ideals by which Americans wished to define and differentiate their place in the international system. A fuller understanding o f 1898 must necessarily seek to expand its temporal reach and enlarge its spatial range. Advances must be sought in the reconfiguration o f historiographical contours around categories shaped more by methodological considerations than national bound­ aries. U.S. historians whose livelihood has been the study o f foreign relations have not typically been drawn to foreign archives. N or do those who write about U.S. history ordinarily consult the historiography o f other nations as a way to inform their own perspectives. This reflects a failure to take into account the part that others have played in outcomes o f vital importance in U.S. history. The result has been a self-possessed— to say nothing o f self-contained—historiography, given to the convic­ tion that it alone has raised all the relevant questions and, o f course, provided all the appropriate answers, and that the rest o f the world has litde useful to add. The year 1898 occupies a special place in U.S. historiography. In one sense, the historical literature has assumed fully the proportions o f a literary genre almost unique to the subject o f 1898, best captured in the X


representation o f the war—and indeed central to popular understanding o f die war—through such phrasings as “ Remember the M aine?' and John Hay’s proposition o f a “ splendid litde war.” In another sense, the schol­ arship contains discernible traces o f the ways that policy paradigms o f 1898 have acted to shape the dominant historiographical formulations o f the war: scholarship and policy converged and interacted and pro­ ceeded to assemble the familiarities by which the past was revealed. This book is principally about one aspect o f 1898: the com plex rela­ tionship between Cuba and the United States and the ways that this complicated connection contributed to the coming o f the war, no less than its conduct and consequences, as well as its subsequent represen­ tations and repercussions. This undertaking is inform ed primarily by Cuban historiography, steeped in the experience o f decades o f research in Cuban archives, o f immersion in Cuban accounts o f these years, as sources and scholarship, as first-hand accounts by participants and ob­ servers in die form o f letters, journals, diaries, and official correspon­ dence, published and unpublished. To this perspective is added years o f consultation o f U.S. archival and manuscript sources as well as the vast corpus o f the U.S. historical literature on 1898. Attention is given to the ways that representations o f Cuba have entered into the dominant his­ torical narratives on the war. M ore specifically, and central to this discus­ sion, the study that follows is about the historiography o f 1898 in the United States, the accumulated historical scholarship o f the last one hundred years and the degree to which historical narratives have re­ flected and reinforced notions o f purpose and policy, many o f which were first articulated and advanced in 1898 and served subsequently as the rationale o f systems o f domination. Cuba insinuated itself into one o f the most important chapters o f U.S. history. Indeed, what happened on the island in the final decade o f the nineteenth century and the way that what happened has been subsequently represented and reproduced have had far-reaching repercussions, many o f which continue to reso­ nate in the final decade o f the twentieth century. Historical narratives have themselves played an important role in the transmission o f explanations first advanced in 1898. The historiography has in large part persisted as an artifact o f the war, a means by which to arrive at an understanding not only o f 1898 but also o f the ways that historical representations have sustained dominant paradigms that have to do with power and policy. This may not be exactly official history, but it is certainly national history. In an important sense, perceptions o f 1898 matter even—and especially—when they can be demonstrated to be Preface xi

misconceptions or self-deceptions, for they suggest the means by which facets o f national identity are form ed and inform ed. The expansion o f national history onto an international stage has been a slow and com plex undertaking. The scholarship early recognized 1898 and its aftermath as developments o f global proportions, events that implicated peoples o f Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean in direct and decisive ways. The representation o f the place and purpose o f others in the historiography has been influenced largely by the proposition o f the Other, people who, as a result o f ignorance or innocence, or perhaps m ischief or malice, failed to appreciate the good that the Americans sought to visit upon them. In the United States, much o f what has inform ed the analysis o f the U.S. purpose abroad has usually been de­ rived from generally shared i f often unstated assumpdons about modve and intent, which U.S. scholars tend to divine as generous and wellmeaning. A t the receiving end, where the analysis o f the U.S. purpose is measured by acdons and consequences, conclusions have typically been less charitable. Historical scholarship in the United States has been slow to conceptu­ alize 1898 within the larger framework o f world systems. The proposition o f empire has not fared well in mainstream historiography. N or have themes o f imperialism and colonialism developed into central concerns o f U.S. historiographical traditions. Few historiographical propositions have persisted as unchanged and unchallenged as the interpretations o f 1 898, many o f which were first formulated as a function o f the war. It began, o f course, with the very construction o f the conflict as the “ Spanish-American War,” which immediately suggested the purpose and identified the participants o f the war. The representation o f the war underwent various renderings—“ the Spanish War,” “ the HispanoAmerican War,” “ the American-Spanish War” —before arriving at the “ Spanish-American War.” A ll shared a common exclusion o f Cuban' participation, palpable evidence o f the power o f dominant narratives to define the familiar and fix the form s by which the past is recovered, recorded, and received. U.S. scholarship has displayed a number o f notable characteristics, central to which has been a general lack o f familiarity with Cuban histo­ riography and neglect o f Cuban archival sources and manuscript collec­ tions. The discussion o f the Cuban place in 1898, when acknowledged at all, has been derived principally from U.S. sources and accounts, re­ peated and reproduced, again and again, with such authority that it soon assumed fully the force o f self-evident truths. XÜ


This study has to do with memory, incomplete and im perfect, trans­ mitted and preserved in the popular and professional histories o f the last one hundred years. Americans believed themselves to be benefactors o f Cuba. They cherished a m emory o f having sacrificed life and treasure in 1898 in what they understood to be a noble undertaking in behalf o f Cuba L ib re, from which they perceived Cubans indissolubly linked to the United States by des o f gradtude and obligation. That this was not exacdy what 1898 was about does not diminish in the slightest the reso­ nance o f those constructs. O n the contrary, it has contributed to a his­ toriography dense with contradiction and incoherence, in which histori­ cal narratives have blurred distinctions between interests and intentions, confused popular sentiment with official policy, and mistaken pro­ claimed objectives for actual outcomes. Much in the subsequent Am eri­ can understanding o f the U.S. role on the world stage was influenced by misrepresentations o f 1898, which in turn contributed to fashioning the purpose for which Americans used power. That Cubans developed pro­ foundly different memories o f 1898, from which they derived radically different meanings, goes a long way toward understanding the capacity o f the past to shape the purpose o f policy and the place o f power. • • • The research and writing o f this book could not have been completed without the support and assistance o f many people and institutions. Friends and colleagues gave generously o f their time and wisdom , in conversation and correspondence, especially in their reading o f early drafts o f the m anuscript Robert P. Ingalls subjected the manuscript to a careful review—and an occasional rewriting—and in the process con­ tributed to making it a better book. Michael H. Hunt posed a number o f thoughtful questions in the course o f his reading o f the manuscript, raising important issues that obliged me to reconsider and revise some o f my original formulations into sharper arguments. I am especially grateful to Walter LaFeber and Thom as G . Paterson for their many helpful suggestions and criticisms. They provided valuable comments on the completed draft, but more important they have themselves, through their own work on some o f the same issues, pointed to fuller understandings o f 1898. Many o f the ideas that follow were first raised in conversations over the years with Rebecca J. Scott, John L . Offner, O scar Zanetti, Jorge Ibarra, and Francisco Pérez Guzman. In ways that were not always apparent at the time, these discussions had a decisive impact on shaping some o f the directions taken by this study. Preface xiii

I am grateful to the Departm ent o f H istory at the University o f N orth Carolina-Chapel Hill for the opportunity to teach a graduate seminar on 1898, and to the students in that course—Chris Endy, D avid Sartorius, and Benito Vila—who engaged many o f the propositions around which this book is organized. Their response to the historiographical form u­ lations on 1898 helped clarify some o f the principal lines o f argument that follow. M y research was aided and facilitated by librarians and archivists at a number o f research institutions. In the United States I have been the beneficiary o f expert assistance and unfailing courtesy provided by the staffs o f the D avis Library at the University o f N orth Carolina-Chapel Hill, the Library o f Congress, and the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Similarly, in Cuba I received courteous assistance from the person­ nel at the Biblioteca Nacional ‘Jo sé Marti’ and the Archivo Nacional in Havana. It has indeed been a pleasure to work with Elaine Maisner o f the University o f N orth Carolina Press all the while the manuscript^ was being prepared for publication. H er support and enthusiasm-fs6m the outset contributed greatly to the completion o f this book. The contribu­ tion o f William Van Norm an is acknowledged with appreciation. His assistance with the final phase o f the research was characterized by both efficiency and thoroughness, which gready expedited the completion o f the manuscript. Rosalie Radcliffe provided vital assistance with the prep­ aration o f early drafts, for which I am m ost grateful. I owe a special note o f gratitude to Deborah M. Weissman, who read early drafts o f the pages that follow, responded with thoughtful inquiries, and offered helpful suggestions on matters all along the way. This book, finally, is dedicated to the memory o f Ramôn de Arm as, a friend o f many years, whose death in Havana in June 1997 was keenly felt by everyone who knew him. His work combined intellectual passion with historical imagination and contributed gready to a deeper under­ standing o f the decisive decades o f the late colonial and early republican periods o f Cuban history. It will henceforth be considerably more diffi­ cult to contemplate the Cuban past without having his insights to draw upon. His thoughtfulness and genial temper, the kindness and the gener­ osity o f spirit that characterized his manera de ser, distinguished him as true maitiano in the best possible sense. He will be missed. Chapel H ill, North Carolina November 1997 LAP

xiv Preface

CH RO N 0 L O G Y 1895 February 24. “ Grito de Baire” : Cuban war for independence begins. 1896 January. Generals Antonio M aceo and Mâximo Gôm ez complete die insurgent invasion o f die western provinces. August 26. Filipino war for independence begins. 1897 March 4. William M cKinley inaugurated as president. 1898 January 1. Autonom ist home-rule government installed in Cuba. January 2 j . Batdeship M aine arrives in Havana. February 9. D e Lom e letter published in the N ew YorkJournal. February 15 . M aine destroyed by explosion in Havana harbor. March 28. N aval court o f inquiry releases report pronouncing that M aine explosion was caused by a Spanish mine. April i i . President M cKinley forwards war message to Congress. April 19. Join t Resoludon o f Congress enacted. May i. U.S. Asiatic Squadron destroys Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. June 22. U.S. expeditionary force lands at Daiquiri and Siboney. June 24. Batde o f Las Guâsimas. Ju ly i. Battles o f E l Caney and San Juan Hill. July 3. U.S. Flying Squadron destroys Spanish naval fleet outside Santiago de Cuba. July 16. Spanish army command in Santiago de Cuba surrenders to the United States. Ju ly 26. United States invades Puerto Rico. August 1 2. Arm istice suspends hostilities.

Decem ber io. Treaty o f Paris form ally ends war between the United States and Spain. 1899 January 1. U.S. military occupation o f Cuba begins. 1901 February. U.S. Senate enacts the Platt Amendment. 1902 May 20. U.S. military occupadon o f Cuba ends.

Cuba, 1898

Y :

O n Context and Condition V }■)

I have always received as a political maxim the declarations made by our pre­ decessors in regard to the annexation of Cuba. Every rock and every grain of sand in that island were drifted and washed out from American soil by the floods of the Mississippi, and other estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico. The island has seemed to me, just as our predecessors have said, to gravitate back again to the parent continent from which it sprang. —William Seward (1859) When the inability of Spain to deal successfully with the insurrection has become manifest and it is demonstrated that her sovereignty is extinct in Cuba for all pur­ poses of rightful existence, and when a hopeless struggle for its reestablishment has degenerated into a strife which means nothing more than the useless sacrifice of human life and the utter destruction of the very subject matter of the conflict, a situation will be presented in which our obligations to the sovereignty of Spain will be superseded by higher obligations, which we can hardly hesitate to recognize and discharge. —President Grover Cleveland (December 7,1896) No solution of this war can be thought of for an instant that is not based upon the absolute independence of the island.. . . We have accomplished too much to accept anything short of absolute freedom. The Cubans really control all of Cuba but the fortified towns, and the more artillery we receive the more of these we will take— Why, then, should we lay down our arms for anything but the end for which we took them up: the freedom of the island and the people of Cuba? —General Mâximo Gômez (March 6,1897) The war was accepted by Spain when the island of Cuba was virtually lost. . . . when our troops lacked the most indispensable necessities.. . . Under these circum­ stances it was madness on our part to accept a conflict with an immensely wealthy



Among the people of the United States the desire to make history stands

above every other consideration, and we were incredibly stupid when we offered it to them gratis and at our own expense. —Captain Vfctor M. Concas y Palau, La escuadra del almimnte Cervera (1899)

The war o f 1898 was fought over and about a great many things: some were apparent and discernible then, others were not so clear—then or now. The war came in a decade o f one o f the m ost devastating economic depressions in U.S. history—curiously, years better remem­ bered as the “gay nineties.” These same gay nineties are also associated with places like Wounded Knee and Homestead; they were years o f Populist revolt and nativist reaction, o f labor conflict, o f shifting gender boundaries and deepening racial strife; a time o f ethnic diversity, o f immigrants and migrants, with Frederick Jackson Turner lamenting the end o f open land even as Americans abandoned the land for the cities, announcing—we know now—far-reaching demographic shifts from farm to factory, an economy in transition from agriculture to industry, implying also the need for new markets and new territories from which to defend them—all in all, very complicated times. It is difficult to ascertain the meaning o f 1898 under these circum­ stances, or even where and how to situate imperialism and colonial expansion in the larger realm o f these experiences. Precisely how such conditions contributed to shaping the disposition for war may well lie beyond the explanatory reach o f existing historical methods, although the convergence o f circumstances certainly provides ample opportunity for creative conjecture. The 1890s are thus transformed into a point o f imaginative departure, something o f a transcendental divide after which everything and everyone is different. Frank Freidel attributed the war “ to the Am erican restlessness in the 1890s.” Richard Hofstadter wondered about the impact o f hard times, about the ways that conditions “ brought to large numbers o f people intense frustration in their economic lives and their careers,” thereby resulting in “ frustration with acts o f ag­ gression, and to allay anxieties by threatening acts against others.” RobertL . Beisner pondered how “ waves o f doubt about Am erica’s strength, health, and purpose” contributed to “ a need to reaffirm Am erican strength: the United States could thrash some other country in .a w a r or, more subtly, demonstrate its ability to govern 'inferior’ peoples anfempire.” D avid Healy detected in the imperialist impulse a people searching “ to offset dass struggles with a unifying nationalism” as a way “ to combat a sordid and pervasive materialism.” In similar fashion, Gerald F. Linderm an suggested “ a crisis o f confidence,” with Americans


On Contextand Condition

“ worried about the fragility o f their society” during which “ elements essential to the [social] consensus disappeared.” Something o f a “ psychic crisis” was the way that Daniel M. Smith characterized the 1890s, a condition that found “ relief from internal economic and social tensions through a foreign crusade.” M ary Beth N orton et al. wrote o f the U.S. need for “ more space, more land.m orem arkets, and more power,” o f the “ calls for war and foreign territory,” when U.S. “ power was sufficient to deliver both.” 1 On the other hand, it is also possible to contemplate 1898 as the denouement, possessed o f an internal logic o f its own that although per­ haps not entirely predictable was highly probable, an eventuality foretold in pursuit o f interests foreseen. The United States emerged from the war as a colonial power, seizing the far-flung remnants o f the Spanish empire in the Pacific and Caribbean with remarkable efficiency o f effort and economy o f means. Whether or not empire was the object may matter less than that it was the outcome, as the United States acquired territo­ ries in the time-honored fashion o f war and conquest—responsibilities, in any event, it assumed without protestation, without hesitation. Suc­ cessively die Philippines, Guam , and Puerto Rico were seized. But it was Cuba that mattered most and, indeed, what the war was m osdy about. • • • The sources o f the war reached deeply into the nineteenth century. Americans began to contemplate Cuba very early in that century, m osdy in the form o f musings on possession. Some o f these concerns were related to regional interests. The northeastern states prized the priv­ ileged access to Caribbean tropical agricultural products that Cuba promised in seemingly unlimited quantities at consistendy low costs. Southern states wistfully contemplated the annexation o f Cuba as a valuable addition to the political strength o f the slaveholding South. But the pursuit o f possession o f Cuba was more complicated. It had to do with a specific moment in the development o f the nation, back to a time when Americans were beginning to define themselves as a na­ tionality, as a people with common—that is, “ national” —interests. Some o f this, o f course, was related to geography: Cuba was so near—“ almost in sight o f our shores,” John Quincy Adams exaggerated to make the point.2 Proxim ity did indeed seem to suggest destiny, and about destiny there was unanimity: it was manifest. Alm ost from the outset, as Americans began to conceive o f them­ selves as a cohesive nation, Cuba was a presence: capable under one set o f circumstances o f being a source o f security and under another o f On Contextand Condition 3

becoming a source o f vulnerability. In fact, it was precisely this uncer­ tainty that drove Cuba deep into the realms o f national consciousness. Cu&a figured prominently in the meditations o f nation, a means and a metaphor by which Americans took measure o f their well-being, linked direcdy to the national concern for security and prosperity: “ an object o f transcendent importance to the political and commercial interests o f our Union,” Adams proclaimed, and more: “ indispensable to the continu­ ance and integrity o f the Union itself.” Jam es Buchanan agreed, certain that “ the acquisition o f Cuba would greatly strengthen our bond o f Union” and “ insure the perpetuity o f our Union.” Secretary o f State William L. M arcy expressed similar sentiments on more than one occa­ sion. “The acquisition o f Cuba by the United States,” he insisted in 1 8 54, “ would be preeminently advantageous in itself, and o f the highest im­ portance as a precautionary measure o f security.” And in the following year, he declared: “The incorporation o f Cuba into the American Union [is] essential to the w elfare. . . o f the United States.” So much seemed to depend on Cuba, so much more was possible with Cuba. “ G ive us C u b a. . . ” Senator Robert Toom bs exulted optimistically, “ and we shall command all the . . . wants o f the human race; we shall control their wr.

_ m

-------- ^


commerce in everything.” With Cuba, Toom bs predicted, “we can make first the G u lf o f M exico, and then the Caribbean sea, a mare clausum,” whereupon the day would not be too distant “ when no flag shall float there except by permission o f the United States o f America.” It was only a matter o f time, and indeed perhaps inevitable, that N orth Americans would persuade themselves that the well-being o f the entire world de­ pended on the U.S. possession o f Cuba, “ fljh e future interests not only o f this country,” proclaimed Senator Jam es Bayard at midcentury, “ but o f civilization and o f human progress, are deeply involved in the acquisi­ tion o f Cuba by the United States.” 3 The destinies o f both countries seemed not merely intertwined,, but indissoluble. The future well-being o f the United States could hardly be contemplated without implicating Cuba. Early in the nineteenth century, and all through the century, Cuba loomed large in U.S. meditations on security, as a people, as a nation. It is not certain that these concerns were wholly rational, but it is clear that they developed fully into a preoccupa­ tion, one embedded deeply in the national character. That the vision o f nation form ed around the expectation o f inclusion o f Cuba implied that the ideal o f national integration would remain incomplete without Cuba. I f possession o f Cuba was to have made the United States stronger, more secure—and, in Buchanan’s words, “ insure the perpetuity o f our


On Contextand Condition

Union” —that Cuba remained outside the Union could not but have summoned uneasily a specter o f uncertainty. Possession o f Cuba became a fixed feature o f U.S. policy. A sense o f national completion seemed to depend on Cuba, without which the Union was unfinished and maybe even slightly wjİQ££âb]& This disquiet insinuated itself into the dominant nineteenth-century narratives on the national interest. “ [Cuba's] addition to our confeder­ acy,” Thom as Jefferson wrote to Jam es M onroe as early as 18 23, “ is exactly what is wanting to round out our power as a nation to the point o f its utmost interest.” Jam es Buchanan thought a great deal about the implications o f Cuba and gave com pelling expression to U.S. concerns: “ I f Cuba were annexed to the United States, we should . . . be relieved from the apprehensions which we can never cease to feel for our own safety and the security o f our commerce whilst İt shall remain in its present condition.” Daniel Webster referred to the “ danger to our se­ curity” and “ danger, manifest and imminent danger, to our essential rights and our essential interests” as long as Cuba remained outside the Union. The Ostend M anifesto in 1834 addressed diese apprehensions expliddy. “The Union,” explained the manifesto, “ can never enjoy re­ pose, nor possess reliable security, as long as Cuba is not embraced within its boundaries.” 4 Several times in the nineteenth century the United States attempted to buy the island outright. Jam es Polk offered $10 0 million for it in 1848, without effect. Six years later Franklin Pierce raised the purchase offer to $ 13 0 million, but with no greater success. The Grant administration also contemplated purchase, but nothing came o f that project either. The United States thus reconciled itself to continued Spanish sov­ ereignty over Cuba and, indeed, resolved to defend Spanish rule as an adequate if temporary substitute for annexation. The presence o f a weak Spain in decline, with more o f a past than a future, without the means or the motives to challenge U.S. interests, was a tolerable alternative to U.S. control. Thom as Jefferson formulated one o f the enduring tenets o f U.S. policy, affirm ing that to guarantee Cuba's “ independence against all the world, except Spain . . . would be nearly as valuable to us as if it were our own.” 5 But defense o f Spanish sovereignty was not unconditional. Central to American policy formulations, derived in large part from the M onroe D octrine, was the presumption o f U.S. succession, a transaction that necessarily precluded transfer o f sovereignty o f the island to a third party. Thus it was that the status o f Cuba suggested the circumstances On Contextand Condition 5

under which to contemplate the eventuality o f war. Secretary o f State Edward Livingston outlined U.S. interests succinctly and direcdy. “The great objects o f our Governm ent in relation to Cuba,” he stated in 1 8 5 2, “ a re . . . to preserve it in the hands o f Spain, even at the expense o f a war, and only in the event o f finding that im possible, to look to its annexation to our confederacy.” The Van Buren administration communicated the U.S. position directly to the Spanish government several years later. ‘Term it m e. . . to remark,” U.S. Minister John H. Eaton explained to the Spanish minister o f foreign affairs in 18 3 8, “ that while the United States are solicitous, that nothing may arise to disturb the jurisdiction o f Spain over this Island, or to cause its transfer to other hands, they could not with indifference & unconcern look upon an attempt, to pass it, into the possession & ownership o f another power.” Minister Daniel Barringer reiterated the U.S. position at midcentury: ^Our government [is] reso­ lutely determined that the Island o f Cuba should never be in the posses­ sion o f any other power than that o f Spain or the United States.” 6 Any modification o f sovereignty that did not result in U.S. acquisition was unacceptable. War was the recourse the United States reserved for itself, explicitly and unabashedly, as the means to guarantee succession to sovereignty: war in the first instance as deterrent and as the last recourse defense. There was no mistaking the meaning o f what became known as the “ no transfer” principle. Thom as Jefferson was unequivocal and in 1823 alluded to any number o f different possibilities, all with the same result: “ We will oppose, with all our means, the forcible interposition o f any other power, as auxiliary, stipendiary, or under any other form or pretext, and m ost especially, [Cuba’s] transfer to any power by conquest, cession, or acquisition in any other way.” Minister to Spain Washington Irving emphasized the “ determination” o f the United States “ to maintain Spain in the possession o f Cuba by force o f arms, if necessary, and to consider it a cause o f war for any other power to attempt to possess itself o f the Island.” Concerned in 1840 that perhaps in the course o f frequent Span­ ish cabinet changes U.S. interests would “ be lost sight of,” Secretary o f State Joh n Forsyth instructed the Am erican chargé d’affaires in Madrid to communicate a warning to the new Spanish ministry: “ Should you have reason to suspect any design on the part o f Spain to transfer volun­ tarily her title to the island, whether o f ownership or possession, and whether permanent or temporary, to . . . any other power, you will distinctly state that the U[nited] States will prevent it, at all hazard.” A decade later Secretary o f State John M. Clayton reaffirmed the U.S.


On Contextand Condition

position. “T his Governm ent,” he warned, “ is resolutely determined that the Island o f Cuba, shall never be ceded by Spain to any other power than the United States,” adding: “ The news o f the cession o f Cuba to any foreign power would, in the United States, be the instant signal for war.” 7 • • • The war actually began on February 24, 1895, in the remote village o f Baire at the eastern end o f the island, announced by the celebratory £H fo\the cry for liberty and independence. Hardly anyone noticed. Sep~araust uprisings in the name o f Cuba L ibre during the last decades o f the nineteenth century had become as commonplace as they were short­ lived: typically localized affairs, confined m osdy to the distant eastern province o f Oriente, and rarely reported in die capital press as anything more than scattered incidents o f lawlessness. The “ Litde War” o f 18 7 9 80 lasted eighteen months. A rebellion in Manzanillo in 1883 collapsed in weeks. Holgufn was the site o f another stillborn revolt in 18 8 5. A separa­ tist uprising in Guantanamo in 1892 ended ignominiously after only days o f fighting. Another revolt in April 1893 collapsed in a matter o f weeks. Six months later, an uprising in Las Villas ended abrupdy with the quick capture o f the principal leaders. Rumors o f new separatist stirrings in February 1893, understandably, failed to provoke undue concern among authorities in Havana. The conflict began in much the same fashion as others before it: localized skirmishes and scattered engagements, m ostly in the remote mountain folds o f the east. N o one in power or with property had reason to believe that the Grito de Baire would end in any way other than its countless predecessors: a matter o f no consequence. But 1895 turned out to be different Cubans were better organized in 1893. They had planned better and were better led, with effect. In the summer rebellious Cubans marched out o f their eastern sanctuaries and onto the rich cattle-grazing ranges o f Camaguey, by fall they had crossed the fertile sugar plateau o f Matanzas and Havana, and by winter they had reached the lush tobacco fields o f Pinar del Rio. Within eighteen months, the insurrection had expanded across the entire length o f the island, obtaining the support o f Cubans o f all classes, rural and urban, blackjm d w hitejfnen and women, young and old. What began as scat­ tered insurgent bands developed into an army o f 30,000 officers and men organized into six army corps, distributed into twelve divisions and eighty-five regiments o f infantry and cavalry. Officials in the United States followed events in Cuba with deepening disquiet. Successive presidents, first the Dem ocrat G rover Cleveland On Contextand Condition 7

and later the Republican William M cKinley, doubted that Spain pos­ sessed either th em aterialrcseu rceso r the moral resolve to end the Insurgency. “While the insurrectionary forces to be dealt with are more form idable than ever before,” Secretary o f State Richard B. Olney ob­ served as early as September 1895, “ die ability o f Spain to cope with them has visibly and gready decreased. She is straining every nerve to stamp out the insurrection within the next few months. For what ob­ vious reason? Because she is almost at the end o f her resources.” Olney concluded that “ Spain cannot possibly succeed.” Nothing changed in the following six months, and Olney became even more certain o f the outcome. “ It can hardly be questioned,” he observed in April 1896, “ that the insurrection, instead o f being quelled, is to-day more form idable than ever and enters upon the second year o f its existence with decidedly im proved prospects o f successful results.” 8 B y the second year o f the war, the Spanish government was reeling from the combined effects o f military reversals abroad and political resistance at home. Popular discontent and public opposition erupted into antiwar demonstrations, draft riots, and army mutinies. Simply the financial cost o f the war was becoming unbearable as Spanish credit on the European money markets plummeted. In August 1896 an incredu­ lous Spanish public, already weary o f the eighteen-month campaign in Cuba, learned that die unthinkable had occurred: another colonial war in the tropics—now on the other side o f the world—this one in the vast Philippine archipelago. The determination to preserve the integrity o f empire abroad was threatening Spain with dissolution at home. In late 1 897, as a last resort, the new Liberal ministry o f Prâxedes Mateo Sagasta introduced a series o f far-reaching colonial reform s. The moderate Ramön Blanco was appointed governor general o f Cuba. Am nesty was proclaimed and political prisoners were paroled. A new autonomist con­ stitution was promulgated. On January 1, 1898, a Cuban home-rule government assumed power. Colonial reform s had the net effect o f sealing the doom o f Spanish sovereignty in Cuba. Insurgent leaders denounced home rule and re­ jected accommodation with Spain on any terms other than complete independence. “ It is the firm resolution o f the army and people o f Cuba,” vowed General M âximo Gôm ez, “who have shed so much blood in order to conquer their independence, not to falter in their just cause until triumph or death crowns their efforts.” Two weeks later Gôm ez reiterated the Cuban position: “We no longer ask for concessions.. . . Even were Spain’s proposals bona fide, nothing could tempt us to treat


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with her. We are for liberty, not for Spanish reform s.” The Cuban diplo­ matic representatives in the United States inform ed the State Depart­ ment that colonial reform s were not an acceptable basis for the cessation o f hostilities. “A s the representative o f the Cubans in arms, and under their instructions,” Tomâs Estrada Palma inform ed Secretary o f State Joh n Sherman in Decem ber 1 897, “ it is my duty to announce that nothing short o f absolute independence will be accepted by us as the basis o f peace---- We will never lay down nur y tm until we have freed ourselves from the sovereignty o f Spain. »^, Wiewill not renounce-Qur objective,” 9 Rather than inducing conciliation, reform s actually encouraged in­ transigence. Cuban morale soared. The concessions were evidence o f Spain’s impending defeat, Cuban leaders concluded. “ Spain’s offer o f autonomy is a sign o f her weakening,” Provisional President Bartolom é Masô proclaimed. General Calixto G ard a agreed: *1 regard autonomy only as a sign o f Spain’s weakening power and an indication that the end is not far off.” The U.S. consul in Sagua la Grande reported exactly the same attitude among local separatist army commanders. “The insur­ gents . . . are every day more hopeful o f forcing Spain to deliver the island to them,” Walter Barker wrote in late 1897, “ and the fact is that they are also more and more encouraged seeing that Spain demonstrating by offers o f reform and autonomy her tendency o f weakness.” 10 For the defenders o f Cuba espanola colonial reform s assumed fully the proportions o f treason. Reform s that were too litde for separatists were too much for loyalists; the autonomy that was rejected in separatist camps was repudiated in loyalist cirdes. Conservatives denounced the establishment o f a home-rule government, publicly predicting that radi­ cals would overwhelm moderates, revolution would overtake reform , and independence would overcom e autonomy. The establishment o f the new moderate government, moreover, convinced loyalists—Spaniards and Cubans alike—that Spain had lost the will to fight. The more thoughtful among loyalists understood, too, that the autonomist gov­ ernment lacked the means to wage war and was without the authority to make peace. The new government had been summoned into existence to preside over the liquidation o f empire. Rallies and demonstrations were organized across the island to pro­ test autonomy. Rumors o f conspiracies swirled and multiplied. The army that had ceased to fight in the countryside became the center o f intrigue in the cities. On January 12 , hardly two weeks after the installation o f the new Cuban government, several units o f Spanish troops and volunteers in -Havana mutinied and storm ed the editorial offices o f two Havana On Contextand Condition 9

newspapers sympathetic to home rule with cries "D eath to Blanco!” and “ Down with autonomy!” Rioting troops proceeded to destroy the presses and sack the offices o f L a Discusiôn and E l Rtconcentrado. The next day, U.S. Consul Fitzhugh Lee cabled Washington with an urgent request for the prom pt presence o f a U.S. warship. On January 25 the M aine m oored in Havana harbor. • • • Spanish sovereignty in Cuba was com ing to an end, or so it appeared. And appearances influenced.AUtCOtoe& O f course, whether Cubans woulcTKavT âctüaüy ğone on to defeat Spain, then or thereafter, or even at all, cannot be demonstrated. What can be determined and docu­ mented, however, is that all parties involved had arrived at the conclu­ sion that die days o f Spanish rule in Cuba were numbered. This was the perception that, in the end, served as the basis on which the vital policy decisions were made and actions were taken. Spanish authorities openly predicted defeat in Cuba. “ Spain is ex­ hausted,” form er president Francisco Pi y Margall concluded. “ She must withdraw her troops and recognize Cuban independence before it is too late.” The failure o f autonomy, the Madrid daily E l Nuevo Regimen edi­ torialized, left only one alternative: “ Negotiate on the basis o f indepen­ dence.” L a Epoca reached a similar conclusion. “ In reality,” observed the Madrid daily, “ Cuba is lost to Spain.” 11 Cubans, too, sensed that the end was near. A new optimism lifted separatist morale to an all-time high. N ever had they been so openly certain o f triumph as they were in early 1898. “This war cannot last more than a year,” M âximo Gôm ez exulted in January 1898. “ This is the first time I have ever put a limit to it ” Bartolom é Masö agreed; in a “ Man­ ifesto” to the nation he confidently proclaimed: * 1116 war for the inde­ pendence o f our country is nearing the end.” 12 Even before the announcement o f colonial reform s, Cuban army commanders noticed a decline in Spanish morale and a decrease in Spanish military operations. “The Spanish are tired,” Maximo Gôm ez reported as early as the summer o f 1897, “ and in these days when the heat suffocates even us, I do not see how those troops move.” This view was corroborated in Havana by the British consul, who reported that Cubans retained “ possession o f the interior o f the Island, from end to end, and Spanish jurisdiction and authority are only capable o f being enforced within the cities.” 13 In the closing months o f 1897 Spanish troops lay prostrate, sapped by illness, disease, malnutrition, and the unrelieved tropical heat. The Spanish army had lost the will to fight.


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Conditions deteriorated markedly—and rapidly—after January i, 1898. Military operations came to a virtual standstill across the island. Spanish commanders simply refused to fight in behalf o f the new co­ lonial government. Arm y units were withdrawn from smaller interior towns and concentrated in the larger provincial cities, then redeployed to prepare for the defense o f the provincial capitals and major ports. In January 1898 Maximo Gôm ez wrote o f aJ^dcuLsKaLllThe collapse seemed complete. ‘T h e enemy is crushed,” Gom ez reported from the field, “ and is in complete retreat from here, and the time which favored their operations passes without them doing anything.” Spanish failure to mount a new winter offensive convinced the Cubans that Spain was exhausted and lacked the means and the motivation to continue the war. “ The enemy,” Gôm ez disclosed from central Cuba in March 1898, “ has departed, ceasing military operations and abandoning the garrisons and forts which constituted his base o f operations. Days, weeks and months pass without a column o f troops appearing within our radius o f action.” 14 Preparations for what were generally expected to be the final desper­ ate batdes had begun. In late 1897 the Cuban army command completed the organization o f artillery units and arranged to carry the war to the cities. Gôm ez wrote confidendy about making ready for the final assault against the remaining Spanish urban strongholds. With “ cannons and« great deal o f dynamite,” he predicted from Las Villas in March 1898, “we can expel them by fire and steel from the towns.” In Oriente province, General Calixto G ard a mounted a stunning and successful artillery at­ tack in August 1 897 on the d ty o f Victoria de las Tunas. In the next six months, town after town in Oriente fell to Cuban control, induding Guisa, Guâimaro, Jiguanf, Lom a de Hierro, and Bayamo. In early 1898, the port d ty o f Manzanillo was threatened. In April, General G ard a prepared to lay siege on Santiago de Cuba.15 U.S. officials were also among those who conduded that the Spanish cause was hopdess. “ Spain h ersd f has demonstrated that she is power­ less dther to conciliate Cuba or conquer it,” form er U.S. minister to Spain Hannis Taylor wrote in late 1897; “ her sovereignty over [Cuba] is . . . now extinct” Secretary o f State John Sherman agreed: “ Spain will lose Cuba. That seems to me to be certain. She cannot continue the struggle.” Assistant Secretary o f State William D ay warned grimly that the end was imminent. “ The Spanish Governm ent,” he observed, “ seems unable to conquer the insurgents.” In a confidential memoran­ dum to the White House, D ay went further: ‘To-day the strength o f the Cubans [is] nearly d ou b le. . . and [they] occupy and control virtually all On Contextand Condition 11

the territory outside the heavily garrisoned coastal does and a few inte­ rior towns. There are no active operations by the Spaniards. . . . T he eastern provinces are admittedly 'Free Cuba.’ In view o f these state­ ments alone, it is now evident that Spain’s struggle in Cuba has become absolutdy hopeless. . . . Spain is exhausted financially and physically, while the Cubans are stronger.” 16 The Spanish army was disintegrating, Consul Lee reported from Ha­ vana. “ The disparity between the contending forces is daily decreasing. I do not think the Spaniards can now muster more than 75—or 80,000 soldiers who have strength enough to carry a rifle and a haversack, while it is certain—with the exception o f the seaports and a few interior towns, the Insurgents occupy the whole island.” When asked if Spanish authori­ ties possessed the means o f ending the insurrection, Lee responded unequivocally: “ I do not think there is the slightest possibility o f their doing it at all in any way.” In a passage o f frank if perhaps unintended admission, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge noted that the proposed April armistice could not have succeeded without the agreement o f both par­ ties, “ and the Cubans, on the eve o f victory, o f course, would not con­ sen t” N aval attaché G eorge L . Dyer, assigned to the U.S. legation in Madrid during the Anal months o f negotiations, reflected on the pro­ posed arnoistice, and wrote on April 1: “ I f the insurgents would ask for an armistice I am sure we would have it at once. But would they? With their independence in sight will they risk it for long drawn out negotia­ tions which may fail in the end?” 17 • • • In early 1898 the M cKinley administration contemplated the impending denouement with a mixture o f disquiet and dread. I f Spanish sovereignty was untenable, Cuban pretension to sovereignty was unacceptable. The Cuban insurrection threatened more than the propriety o f colonial ad­ ministration; it also challenged the U.S. presumption o f succession, for in contesting Spanish rule Cubans were advancing the claim o f a new sovereignty. For much o f the nineteenth century, the United States had pursued the acquisition o f Cuba with resolve, if without results. The success o f the Cuban rebellion threatened everything. In 1898 Cuba was lost to Spain, and i f Washington did not act, it would also be lost to the United States. The implications o f the “ no transfer” principle were now carried to their logical conclusion. I f the United States could not permit Spain to transfer sovereignty to another power, neither could the United States allow Spain to relinquish sovereignty to Cubans. O pposition to Cuban independence was a proposition with a past, 12

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possessed o f a proper history, one that served to form and inform Û. principal policy formulations o f the nineteenth century. Only the pos sibility o f the transfer o f Cuba to a potentially hostile foreign country seemed to trouble the United States more than the prospect o f Cuban independence. Cuba was far too . important to be turned over t a the Cubans. Free Cuba raised the specter o f political disorder, social up­ heaval, and racial conflict: Cuba as a source o f regional instability and inevitably a source o f international tension. Many had long detected in the racial heterogeneity o f the island portents o f disorder and dissolu­ tion. “ Were the population o f the island o f one blood and color,” John Quincy Adams affirm ed in 1 82 3, “ there could be no doubt or hesitation with regard to the course which they would pursue, as dictated by their interests and their rights. The invasion o f Spain by France would be the signal for their Declaration o f Independence.” However, Adams con­ tinued, in “ their present state. . . they are not competent to a system o f permanent self-dependence.” Secretary o f State Henry Clay gave explicit definition and enduring form to U.S. opposition to Cuban indepen­ dence. “The population its e lf. . . , ” Clay insisted, “ is incompetent- at present, from its composition and amount, to maintain self govern^ merit'” This view was reiterated several decades later by Secretary o f Suite Hamilton Fish, who looked upon a population o f Indians, A fri­ cans, and Spaniards as utterly incapable o f sustaining self-governm ent.18 The cause o f Cuba Libre found little support inside the Cleveland administration. O pposition to independence was registered early and often. The withdrawal o f Spain, the administration feared, would be the signal for the onset o f desultory and destructive d vil strife. Even the “ m ost devoted friend o f Cuba and the m ost enthusiastic advocate o f popular government,” Secretary o f State Olney brooded, could not but look at developments in Cuba “ except with the gravest apprehension.” Olney continued: There are only too strong reasons to fear that, once Spain were with­ drawn from the island, the sole bond o f union between the different factions o f the insurgents would disappear; that a war o f races would be precipitated, all the more sanguinary for the discipline and experi­ ence acquired during the insurrection, and that, even if there were to be temporary peace, it could only be through the establishment o f a white and a black republic, which, even if agreeing at the outset upon a division o f the island between them, would be enemies from the start, and would never rest until the one had been completely van­ quished and subdued by the other.19 On C ontext and C ondition


A t one point the Cleveland administration contemplated purchasing the island—not, however, to establish an independent republic On the con­ trary: “ It would seem absurd for us to buy the island,” President Cleve­ land declared, “ and present it to the people now inhabiting it, and put its government and management in their hands.” 20 N or was die M cKinley administration any more sympathetic to the prospects o f Cuban independence. “ I do not believe that the population is to-day fit for self-governm ent,” M cKinley's minister to Spain, Stew­ art L . W oodford, commented in early March 1 898. W oodford character­ ized the insurgency as “ confined almost entirely to negroes,” with “ few whites in the rebel forces.” Under the circumstances, he asserted, “ Cu­ ban independence is absolutely im possible as a permanent solution o f the difficulty, since independence can only result in a continuous war o f races, and this means that independent Cuba must be a second Santo Dom ingo.” Several days later W oodford again invoked the specter o f ra-_ rial strife: “The insurgents, supported by the great majority o f the blacks, and led by even a minority o f enterprising and resolute whites, will probably be strong enough to prevent effective good go vern m en t. . . This would mean and involve continuous disorder and practical anar­ chy. . . . Peace can hardly be assured by the insurgents through and under an independent governm ent” He concluded: “ I have at last come to believe that the only certainty o f peace is under our flag.. . . I am, thus, reluctandy, slowly, but entirely a convert to the early American owner­ ship and occupation o f the island. I f we recognize independence, we may turn the island over to a part o f its inhabitants against the judgment o f many o f its most educated and wealthy residents.” W oodford predicted: “ I see nothing ahead except disorder, insecurity o f persons and destruc­ tion o f property. The Spanish flag cannot give peace. The rebel flag cannot give peace. There is but one power and one flag that can secure peace and compel peace. That power is the United States and that flag is our flag.” 21 The proposition o f possession o f Cuba persisted as a singular theme. “The ultimate acquisition o f Cuba,” affirm ed Senator Donald Cameron in Decem ber 1896 in a pronouncement reminiscent o f lan­ guage used earlier in the century, ‘lia s been regarded as the fixed policy o f the United States—necessary to the progressive development o f our system. A ll agree that [it] is not only desirable but inevitable.” 22 Both the Cleveland and M cKinley administrations acted vigorously against Cuban efforts to support and supply the insurgency from the United States. Repeatedly government authorities warned Cubans to observe U.S. neutrality laws. President Cleveland vowed to “ enforce


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observance to our neutrality laws and to prevent the territory o f the United States from being abused as a vantage point from which to aid those in arms against Spanish sovereignty.” 23 The U.S. government com­ mitted its full resources to interdict expeditions to the island. “ Expedi­ tion after expedition was circumvented or captured” Secretary o f the Treasury Lyman J. Gage boasted after the war. “The coast o f Florida was patrolled by revenue cutters o f the Treasury Departm ent and collectors o f customs were under strict orders to take the m ost effective steps at their command to prevent the violation o f the law.” Indeed, N avy cap­ tain French Ensor Chadwick acknowledged in his 1909 account o f the war that “Am erican ships were, in fact, doing the duty which should have been done by the Spanish navy on the Cuban coast” 24 Tomâs Estrada Palma was disheartened by the continued U.S. interdiction o f Cuban expeditions. “ I despair in the face o f the enormous difficulties associated with evading what the government o f this country calls 'neutrality law,’ ” he wrote from N ew York in late 1895, “ which is really a one-sided law: loosely defined for the Spanish, stricdy applied to us.” Conditions wors­ ened the following year. “ E very day it becomes more difficult to send expeditions,” Estrada Palma complained in 1896, “ and those that do leave carry only the number o f men stricdy needed to unload supplies.” Between 1895 and 1896 U.S. audiorides intercepted over h alf o f the Cuban expeditions fitted in the United States. O f the seventy expedi­ tions organized from the United States during the Cuban insurrection, only one-third reached the island.25 • • • Thus it was that the M cKinley administration contemplated the impend­ ing defeat o f Spain in early 1898 with concern and consternation. A settlement had to be reached before the summer, prior to the onset o f the rainy season. “The awful condition o f affairs in Cuba can not continue forever,” Minister W oodford warned Spanish authorities on March 9 and exhorted: “ End it at once—end it at once—end it at once.**26 But W oodford’s admonitions were to no avail. One week later the minister to Spain arrived at a dismal conclusion, an “ evident fact,” he stressed, which he communicated directly to President M cKinley: “ I do not think that any thoughtful man in Madrid now believes that [Spain] can practically suppress the rebellion before the rainy season begins.” The prospects, he concluded, were bleak. “ It now seems almost certain,” he reported to the White House in mid-March, “ that autonomy cannot suc­ ceed before the rainy season begins.” On April 1 W oodford confirm ed what the administration had feared: “ They know that Cuba is lo st” 27 Cu­ On Contextand Condition 15

bans were preparing for the final offensive operations, and few doubted that they would succeed. The summer o f 1 898, many sensed, would be decisive. A t the same time, and no less distressing, the cause o f Cuba Libre had obtained widespread popular support in the United States, manifested most dramatically in periodic congressional resolutions calling for the r^otm tionTSTCuban independence and threatening war in its behalf. A new urgency now joined the administration's concern about the out­ come o f the approaching rainy season. Cubans were nearing the end o f their war while Congress threatened to start a new war, both in the name o f Cuba Libre. These were difficult times. A ll through late winter and early spring, President M cKinley sensed the urgency o f the moment and pursued ways to foreclose or otherwise forestall the impending Cuban triumph. This was not always easy, to be sure, for noteworthy and unforeseen distractions intervened and frustrated even the best laid plans. On Feb­ ruary 9, 1 898, a private letter written by the Spanish minister in Wash­ ington, Enrique Dupuy de Lôm e, characterizing M cKinley as a “ cheap politician,” was purloined and subsequendy published in the N ew York Journal, creating something o f a sensation in the press and adding new stress fractures to strained U.S.-Spanish relations. A week later, the de­ struction o f the M aine in Havana harbor called further attention to dete­ riorating conditions in Cuba. The administration moved quickly. O n one hand, President M cKin­ ley explored the idea o f buying the island directly from Spain. “ Some way must be found,” W oodford proposed to colonial minister Segismundo M oret İn March, “ by which Spain can part with Cuba without loss o f self-respect and with certainty o f Am erican control.” W oodford pro­ posed to offer a “ fixed sum for the purchase o f the island,” part o f which would be retained as a fund for the payment o f war claims. Minister M oret pledged to consider the offer seriously.28 A t the same time, M cKinley sought to devise a way to suspend hos­ tilities on the island as a means o f averting the anticipated Spanish collapse. On March 27 the administration presented Spain with an ulti­ matum demanding an armistice until O ctober 1, an immediate revoca­ tion o f the reconcentration policy, authorization to distribute U.S. relief supplies on the island, and the acceptance o f President M cKinley as (arbiters if the conflict resumed after O ctober 1. “ I f Spain agrees,” A ssis­ tant Secretary o f State William D ay cabled W oodford, “ [the] President will use friendly offices to get insurgents to accept the plan.” O n April 5


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W oodford cabled stunning news: the queen regent o f Spain had person­ ally interceded and was at that very moment preparing a proclamation ordering a unilateral cease-fire in Cuba, effective immediately and lasting to O ctober 5. Spain had acquiesced. “ Can you prevent hostile action by Congress?” W oodford asked anxiously, adding hopefully: “ I believe this means peace.” 29 Five days later G overnor General Ramôn Blanco in Cuba ordered an immediate and unilateral cease-fire.30 But it was a concession without consequence. In fact, M cKinley al­ ready knew his plan had failed. Whether or not Spain had fully ac­ quiesced to U.S. demands, long at the center o f an ongoing historio­ graphical debate, was in fact irrelevant. Cubans settled the issue. The president had failed to persuade the Cubans to halt military operations during the rainy season. The Cuban army command refused to observe die cease-fire. In early April M cKinley had summoned Horatio Rubens, the legal counsel o f the Cuban delegation in N ew York, to the White House to discuss the terms o f the proposed settlem ent Rubens recalled the meeting: “ You must,” he clipped out at me, “ accept an immediate armistice with Spain.” “ To what end, Mr. President?” ‘T o settle the strife in Cuba,” he cried. “ But is Spain ready to grant Cuba independence?” I asked. “ That isn’t the question now,” he exclaimed, his voice rising. “ We may discuss that later. The thing for the moment is an armistice.” Rubens rejected outright the terms o f the cease-fire. Such an arrange­ ment, he countered, would benefit only Spain and have calamitous con­ sequences on the Cuban war effort. He explained to M cKinley: The reason is a practical one, Mr. President N othing you could pro­ pose would be so beneficial to Spain and so detrimental to Cuba as an armistice. I f an armistice is carried out in good faith, it means the dissolution and disintegration o f the Cuban army. There is no com ­ missary for it even now; it must live, poorly and precariously, on the country. I f an armistice is accepted the army cannot obtain its food supplies; it will starve. Furtherm ore, in the natural uncertainty pend­ ing negotiations, the men would scatter, going to their homes---- If, on the other hand, having accepted the armistice, the Cubans con­ tinued to live on the country, they would be loudly charged with breach o f faith.31 On Contextand Condition 17

On the island, Cuban leaders denounced the Spanish cease-fire and ordered army units to continue operations. President Bartolom é M aso reacted to the cease-fire immediately and categorically: “ Such a decision does not change in the slightest the situation o f Cuban forces nor in any manner does it affect our condition o f open hostility against the Spanish government and its army nor does it m odify in the least our system and procedure o f war.” General Calixto G ard a exhorted his troops to con­ tinue operations. "T hey have to be hit hard and at the head, day and night,” G ard a demanded. "In order to suspend hostilities, an agreement is necessary with our Governm ent and this will have to be based on independence.” Maximo Gôm ez explained to his officers in a "G eneral Order” : Whereas the enemy has dearly prodaim ed an armistice, without prior offidal notice or even as much as proposing such a condition to our Governm ent, I am ordering the following: 1 . We should not or shall we accept such a resolution. 2. The chiefs and officers o f the army under my command will strike at the enemy in whatever situation he is found, without the slightest modification o f our method o f war. 3. For that reason, all the decrees and circulars previously issued and by which the war for independence has been waged remain in force.32 Several days later, reflecting on his General Order, Gôm ez wrote in his diary: "M ore than ever before the war must continue in full force.” 33 • • • B y early spring the Cuban triumph appeared inevitable. Negotiations between Spain and the United States were becoming increasingly irrele­ vant to the outcome in Cuba, for events w er? "bring iluuunincd by forces beyond their control. Cubans were dictating the pace and the place o f events. The failure o f Spain to obtain separatist support o f autonomy and the inability o f the United States to secure separatist compliance with the cease-fire signified that Spain and the United States had nothing further to discuss with each other. The consummation o f Cuban independence was precisely the outcome that Spain and the United States were determined to resist but seemed powerless to pre­ ven t B y spring 1898, as the summer neared, President M cKinley faced only two choices: Cuban independence or U.S. intervention. There was nothing further to be gained by delay. On the contrary, continued postponement could only benefit the Cubans. O n April 1 1


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M cKinley forwarded his message to Congress. The portents o f his pur­ pose were clear: no mention o f Cuban independence, nothing about recognition o f the Cuban provisional government, not a hint o f sympa­ thy with Cuba Libre, nowhere even an allusion to the renunciation o f territorial aggrandizement—only a request for congressional authoriza­ tion “ to take measures to secure a full and final termination o f hostilities between the Governm ent o f Spain and the people o f Cuba, and to secure in the island the establishment o f a stable government, capable o f maintaining order and observing its international obligations.” The U.S. purpose in Cuba, M cKinley noted, consisted o f “ forcible interven­ tion . . . as a neutral to stop the war.” The president explained: ‘T h e forcible intervention o f the United States . . . involves . . . hostile con­ straint upon both the parties to the contest” 34 The war was thus directed against both Spaniards and Cubans, a means by which to neutralize the two competing claims o f sovereignty and establish by force o f arms a third one. This was the outstanding virtue o f the “ neutral intervention” to which the United States had committed itself in April 1898. “ We have already canvassed recognition o f independence,” the State Departm ent reported in an internal memo­ randum on April 7, only days before the release o f the war message, “ with an adverse conclusion.” The “ neutral intervention” offered the greatest likelihood o f guaranteeing U.S. control o f the island. “ It would make a notable difference in our conduct o f hostilities in Cuba i f we were to operate in territory transiently ours by conquest, instead o f operating İn die territory o f a recognized sovereign with whom we maintain alli­ ance.” On the same day, the pro-administration N ew York Tribune, owned by Republican Whitelaw Reid, reflected White House thinking editori­ ally. “ It must be frankly stated,” the Tribune insisted, “ that [Cubans] have not yet sufficiently established their authority to entitle them to recog­ nition.” Separatists represented only a “ small minority o f the whole population” —a minority “guilty o f many acts o f which this Governm ent could never approve.” The destruction o f property, the conduct o f guer­ rilla war, and Cuban indifference to the interests o f foreign property, concluded the Tribuney hardly “ inspired confidence in Washington that they possess the attributes necessary to qualify for independence.” Hav­ ing submitted the message to Congress, the White House let it be known that the president would veto any resolution according recognition to Cuban independence.35 Cubans looked upon the impending U.S. intervention with a mixture o f fear and foreboding. They had not sought U.S. intervention but, On Contextand Condition 19

rather, had solicited belligerency status and recognition o f the provi­ sional government. Indeed, there were many reasons to resist U.S. inter­ vention. Jo sé Marti feared that the Cuban insurrection would provide the United States with the pretext to intervene—“ and with the credit won as a mediator and guarantor keep [Cuba] for their own.” And, Marti asked rhetorically, “ once the United States is in Cuba, who will drive them out?” General Antonio M aceo similarly opposed U.S. intervention. “ I expect nothing from the Americans,” he explained to a friend in 1 896. “ We should entrust everything to our own efforts. It is better to rise or fall without help than to contract debts o f gratitude with such a powerful neighbor.” 36 N ews o f M cKinley’s April 1 1 message to Congress, proposing inter­ vention without recognition, immediately provoked hostile reactions from the Cuban leadership. “ We will oppose any intervention which does not have for its expressed and declared object the independence o f Cuba,” Gonzalo de Quesada vowed. Horatio Rubens released a state­ ment bluntly warning the U.S. government that an intervention such as M cKinley had proposed would be regarded as “ nothing less than a declaration o f war by the United States against the Cuban revolution­ ists.” The arrival o f a U.S. military expedition to Cuba under such cir­ cumstances, Rubens predicted, would oblige the insurgents to “ treat that force as an enemy to be opposed, and, if possible, expelled.” He added: “ |Tjhe Cuban army w ill. . . remain in the interior, refusing to cooperate, declining to acknowledge any American authority, ignoring and rejecting the intervention to every possible extent. Should the United States troops succeed in expelling the Spanish; should the United States then declare a protectorate over the island—however provisional or tenta­ tive—and seek to extend its authority over the government o f Cuba and the army o f liberation, we would resist with force o f arms as bitterly and tenaciously as we have fought the armies o f Spain.” 37 The State Depart­ ment, in fact, had dreaded this reaction. A s early as March 24, Secretary D ay indicated that unless the United States recognized the Cubans, “ or make some arrangement with them when we intervene, we will have to overcom e both the Spaniards and Cubans.” 38 The cause o f Cuba Libre had wide support in Congress, and de­ fenders o f the Cuban cause mounted sustained efforts to secure recogni­ tion o f Cuban independence. Seven days passed between the arrival o f the president’s message and the final war resolution on A pril 18, almost all o f which were given to acrimonious debate and intense political maneuvering by the administration and its congressional supporters to


On Contextand Condition

defeat pro-independence resolutions.39 Com prom ise was reached when Congress agreed to forgo recognition o f independence in exchange for M cKinley’s acceptance o f a Join t Resolution in which Article Four, the Teller Amendment, served as a disclaimer o f mischievous intentions: F irst That the people o f the Island o f Cuba are, and o f right ought to be, free and independent. Second. That it is the duty o f the United States to demand, and the Governm ent o f the United States does hereby demand, that the G o v­ ernment o f Spain at once relinquish its authority and government in the Island o f Cuba and withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters. Third. That the President o f the United States be, and he hereby is, directed and empowered to use the entire land and naval forces o f the United States and to call into the actual service o f the United States the militia o f the several States to such extent as may be necessary to carry these resolutions into effect Fourth. That the United States hereby disclaims any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said island except for the pacification thereof, and asserts its determina­ tion, when that is accomplished, to leave the government and control o f the island to its people.40 The Join t Resolution calmed C uban misgivings. Persuaded that the intervention made common cause with separatist objectives, Cubans prepared to cooperate with their new allies. N o matter that the United States refused to recognized the republic, as long as Washington en­ dorsed the goals for which the republic stood. “ It is true,” Calixto G ard a conceded, “ that they have not entered into an accord with our govern­ ment; but they have recognized our right to be free and independent and that is enough for me.” 41 The chronology o f the war was brief. The naval battle o f Manila Bay commenced at dawn omfMay i)and was over by the early afternoon, a total o f seven hours. Six weeks later U.S. armed forces landed at points along the southeastern coast o f Cuba wholly unopposed, first at Guan­ tanamo Bay on June 14 and eight days later at Daiquiri and Siboney. The battles at Las Guâsim as (June 24), E l Caney (July 1), and San Juan Hill (July 1) prepared the way for the siege o f Santiago de Cuba. U n July 5, the navalbattle o f Santiago de Cuba resulted in the destruction o f the Spanish fleet. On Ju ly 16, Spanish forces in Santiago Tie Cuba surren^efedTTen days later, a U.S. expeditionary force landed at Guânica, on On Contextand Condition 21

the southern coast o f Puerto Rico, and prom pdy seized control o f the island. O n August 12 , an armistice announced the suspension o f hostilides, almost two months after the first landing in Cuba. In Decem ber 1 898, Spain and the United States completed negotiations for the Treaty o f Paris, form ally ending the “ Spanish-American War.”


On Contextand Condition



Intervention and Intent ■Ş“

*■■ ■ ■

; y - , -m ■ .. t»

We are coming, Cuba, coming: we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now! —Evan M. Jones,

WeAre Coming, Cuba, Coming! (1898)

Cheers and waving handkerchiefs and laughing girls sped the troops on their way.. . . The atmosphere of the country was one of a great national picnic where each one was expected to carry his own lunch.. . . For youth the Spanish-American War was a great adventure; for the nation it was a diversion sanctioned by a high purpose. —Carl Russell Fish,

The Path ofEmpire (1919)

None of us thought that [the U.S. intervention] would be followed by a military occupation of the country by our allies, who treat us as a people incapable of acting for ourselves, and who have reduced us to obedience, to subm ission, and to a tutelage imposed by force of circumstances. This cannot be our ultimate fate after years of struggle. —Màximo Gômez (lune 1899) We have taken the responsibility of freeing them from Spain: we are equal to the responsibility of deciding whether they are capable of governing themselves. If they can maintain government as we understand the term,—that is, if they can give security to persons and property, assure religious toleration, and guarantee free* dom of thought and expression,—our specific obligations to them are at an end; if not, then we shall have to continue to regard ourselves as their guardians. —Andrew S. Draper,

The Rescue of Cuba (1899)

[The Platt Amendment] if carried out, would inflict a grievous wrong on the people of Cuba, would rob them ofthat independence for which they have sacrificed so much blood and treasure, and would be in direct violation of the letter and purpose of the


solemn pledge of the people of the United States to the world as consigned in the Joint Resolution. —Salvador Cisneros Betancourt,

An Appeal to the American People on Behalfof Cuba (1900) Politically, the people are quite untrained; for, during the long rule of Spain, there was practically no opportunity of learning how to work free institutions____They have had hardly any means of learning who are their own best men, and, in this respect, it is unfortunate for them that they did not achieve their liberty by their unaided exertion, for, in the process of winning it, the men of the most natural capacity for politics would probably have been brought to the front.

—North American Review (April 1902) The United States entered into war amid great excitement and enthusiasm. It was a popular war, it has been affirm ed often. That the public imagination could persuade itself that the call to arms represented a summons to deliver an oppressed N ew World people from the clutches o f an Old World tyranny served to consecrate the virtue o f die U.S. purpose. O ff to war Americans went in defense o f Cuba Libre, they believed, a lofty and selfless undertaking, in a spirit o f exalted pur­ posefulness, confident in their mission o f liberation. The proposition o f war in behalf o f Cuban independence took hold immediately and held on thereafter. Such was the sense o f the public mood. Such, too, was the power o f the Teller Amendment to insinuate the intent o f liberation as the dominant representation o f the U.S. pur­ pose. Certainly contemporary popular narratives celebrated the call to arms as a project o f deliverance. “The war between the United States o f Am erica and Spain,” exulted schoolteacher Jam es Henry Brownlee in 1 898, “ . . . will be known in history as the War for Humanity.” H arper's Weekly described the “ popular movement in this country” and the “ wild frenzy o f desire” to free Cuba, adding: “The horrible tales. . . have fired the imaginations o f our people, and have made them ready to incur the miseries and horrors o f war in behalf o f a struggling people.” 1 There is no reason to doubt the authenticity o f popular perceptions o f purpose in 1898. Americans did appear to feel personally and collec­ tively addressed by the plight o f the Cuban people. In the realm o f public discourse the war was indeed about the right o f the “ people of C u b a. . . to be free and independent.” Popular music o f the tim eis~ 5 ch with allusions to war in behalf o f Cuban independence. Tides alone are sug­ gestive. “ Cuba Shall Be Free,” “ Set^Cuba Free,” “ Fighting for Cuba,” “ Columbia/* “ Make Cuba Free,” and “ For the Boys Who Have G one to Set Cuba Free,f are only some o f the many hundreds o f songs written to

24 Intervention andIntent

celebrate the cause o f Cuba Libre. The lyric o f “ Cuba Must Be Free!” proclaimed the mission o f liberation explicitly: ’Tis ours to take up Cuba's plea. ’Tis ours to snap the tyrant's chain, 'T is ours to make the Cubans free, 'T is ours to break the yoke o f Spain.2 The voice o f “ We Are Com ing with Old G lory” addressed Cuba directly: We have heard you, Cuba, heard you, And your cry is not in vain; We are coming now to free you From the tyranny o f Spain! We are coming! We are coming! We are com ing with Old G lory To o ’er turn the rule o f Spain!3 “ Cuban Battle Song” announced that “ E v ’ry boom o f ev’ry gun / Tells an hour o f tyrants done; Tells an hour o f Freedom won: Cuba Shall be Free!” The “ Song o f O ur Nation” exulted: Yes, w ell tight and we’ll die with stars and stripes on high We fight for the cause o f Cuba. She shall neverm ore belong to the Spaniards ever wrong That we fight and die for Cuba.” 4 In “ Freedom for Cuba” the sacrifice o f American lives was proclaimed worth the cost: We will rally at the call boys, And Cuba shall be free. Shouting the battle cry, “ Free Cuba!” Though it cost our life and blood We will give her liberty, Shouting die battle cry, “ Free Cuba!” 5 The pages o f newspapers and magazines were filled with solemn outpourings in the form o f poems and odes eulogizing the cause o f Cuba Libre. The poem “ War” appeared in the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune'. Now, once again, the great sword awes The despot—flames o’er land and sea— Intervention andIntent 25

A volunteer in Cuba’s cause: Spain falls and Cuba rises free!6 In “ Hail O ur G lorious Banner,” Thom as Sullivan identified freedom for Cuba as the central issue o f the war: We hold one purpose, steadfast, sure; this war shall never cease T ill Cuba’s isle shall Freedom know: but, when our task is done, With joy we’ll crown our batde flags with garland wreaths o f peace, With charity for all, and malice toward none.7 G eorge E . W oodberry made die purpose o f liberation explicit in his poem “ The Islands o f the Sea” : Be jubilant, free Cuba, our feet are on your soil; Up mountain road, through jungle growth, our bravest for thee toil; There is no blood so precious as their wounds pour forth for thee Sweet be thy joys, free Cuba—sorrows have made thee free.8 The letters, diaries, and journals o f the men who rushed to volunteer for military service in Cuba similarly provide powerful corroboration o f the extent to which the cause o f Cuba Libre moved a people to action. Anşong^the reasons Corporal H arry Ross cited for volunteering was “ to assist in freeing_these half-half starved, half-clad Cubans.” Captain Joseph H . M cDerm ott used his time at sea en route to Cuba to reflect on his role, in the larger national purpose and concluded: “ We can’t fully realize that we are taking part in one o f the greatest undertakings ever instigated by this country.” Many years later, poet Carl Sandburg recalled wistfully his decision to volunteer for military service in the Sixth Infan­ try Regiment o f Illinois. “ I read about the . . . people o f Cuba who wanted independence and a republic,” he wrote. “ I read about Gôm ez, G ard a, the Maceos, with their scrabbling litde armies fighting against Weyler. They became heroes to me. I tried to figure a way to get down there and join one o f those armies.” Sandburg continued: “ I was going along with millions o f other Americans who were about ready for a war to throw the Spanish government out o f Cuba and let the people o f

26 Intervention andIntent

Cuba have their republic I f a war did come and men were called to fight it, I knew what I would do.” M ore than thirty years later, editor Oswald Garrison Villard recalled how “we were naturally all in favor o f the Cu­ ban demand for self-governm ent, sympathized with the rebels, and se­ verely criticized the Spanish offer o f autonomy made in the fall o f i r The popular fiction^pf the time and later years similarly evoked Cuba Libre as the salient story line. In the Gertrude Atherton novel Senator N orth (190 1), the protagonist proclaims astonishment at the extent o f popular enthusiasm for the Cuban cause. “The pressure upon us has been intolerable,” Senator N orth comments and adds: “ Both Houses have been flooded with petitions and memorials by the thousands: from Legislatures, Chambers o f Commerce, Societies, Churches, from asso­ ciations o f every sort, and from perhaps a million citizens. The Capitol looks like a paper factor.. . . The average Congressman and even Senator does not resist the determined pressure o f his constituents, and to do them justice they have talked themselves into believing that they are as excited as the idle minds at home who are feeling dramatic and calling it sympathy.” In the Edward Stratemeyer novel Young Volunteer in Cuba (1898), the narrator describes protagonist Ben Russell as “ patriotic to die core, and [who] from the very start had taken a deep interest in the struggles o f the people o f Cuba to throw o ff the yoke o f Spanish tyranny and oppression.” Ben speaks for him self on volunteering for military service: “ We owe it to the Cubans and to the cause o f humanity to expel the Spanish from Cuba. The poor fellows down there have been fighting for their freedom for three years, and they deserve to have it ” A t another point, he says: “ I’ve been reading up on this war trouble every day, and I’m going to help the Cubans to freedom and help give Spain the thrash­ ing she deserves.” In Shackles Cast (19 12), novelist Alvan Elm ar Claren­ don attributes Chester Fenton's decision to volunteer for the Rough Riders to the desire “ to serve his country and help Cuba—to set it free.” In the novel Crittenden:A Kentucky Story o fLove and War (19 11), John Fox Jr. speaks through his protagonist: “ It was, he said, the first war o f its kind in history. It marked an epoch in the growth o f national character since the world began. A s an Am erican, he believed that no finger o f mediaevalism should so much as touch this hemisphere. The Cubans had earned their freedom long since, and the cries o f starving women and children for the bread which fathers and brothers asked but the right to earn must cease.” This theme serves as the story line in Joseph Hergesheimer’s The Bright Shawl (1922), where the protagonist proclaims: “ I Intervention andIntent 27

came to Cuba to fight the cursed Spanish___Cuba ought to be free; this oppression is horrible.” 10 • • • These were powerful images, as irresistible as they were incontrovert­ ible. The cause o f Cuba Libre could not but have inspired noble hearts. The Cuban struggle was in full public view, reported in the press daily, exploited on the front pages and exalted in çcütonals. Much o f what passed for “ yellow journalism * was, in fact, highly charged and sensa­ tional support o f the Cuban cause.11 Cuba Libre had indeed captured the popular imagination and served as a potent means by which to rally public support for war. The Teller Amendment reflected the popular m ood in 1 898, a way to give form to moral support to the cause o f Cuba Libre. It would be unduly facile, however, to conclude that the M cKinley administration would have suddenly renounced nearly a century-long policy, one based on the proposition that Cuban independence was inimical to U.S. inter­ ests, solely as a result o f a self-denying resolution adopted by, many felt, an overzealous Congress in a moment o f war fervor. “ Personally. . . , ” explained W hitdaw Reid, publisher o f the N ew York Tribune, “ I have always regarded the resolution o f Congress, at the outbreak o f the war a grave mistake.” He continued: “ Seventy-five years o f our diplomacy on this subject has pointed steadily to this—the absolute necessity o f con­ trolling Cuba for our own defense. To announce at the outset that we were going to drive Spain out and then preclude ourselves from this control was a self-denying ordinance possible only in a moment o f na­ tional hysteria and as litde likely to be kept to the letter as was Mr. Gladstone’s pledge, twenty years ago, to leave E g y p t” 12 Form er secre­ tary o f state Richard Olney denounced the Teller Amendment as “ illadvised and futile,” adding that “ no such resolution can refute the logic o f the undisputed facts or should be allowed to impede the natural march o f events.” For Olney, the anomaly o f a free Cuba could only end—“ the sooner the better” —when Congress made “ Cuba in point o f law what she already is in point o f fact, namely, United States territory.” Senator Albert J. Beveridge quickly repented his support o f the Teller Amendment, passed “ in a moment o f impulsive but mistaken gener­ osity,” and predicted that “ it will not be kept.” In a “ personal and con­ fidential” letter to U.S. planter Edw in Atkins in 19 0 1, Senator O rvillé Platt fumed against “ that foolish Teller resolution” that “ stands not only in the way o f [annexation], but all other action which we might take i f it had never been passed.” General Jam es H. W ilson, the military gover­

28 Intervention andIntent

nor o f Matanzas province during the U.S. military occupation o f Cuba (1899—1902), insisted that the Teller Amendment was “ an unnecessary and serious mistake,” an impediment that required the United States to seek a “ different course” by which to acquire Cuba. W ilson urged a policy o f “Americanization [of] the island” and predicted: “ I f my views are carried into effect, Cuba will be in the Union within ten years.” 13 The M cKinley administration had vigorously opposed any recogni­ tion o f Cuban independence but in the end understood the necessity o f yielding to congressional demands. Acquiescence to the Teller Am end­ ment, however, did not signal acceptance o f the proposition o f Cuban independence. On the contrary, the administration never wavered in its determination to resist, restrict, or otherwise reduce the possibility o f Cuban independence, by way o f either a military victory by the insurgent army or a political resolution o f the U.S. Congress. In fact, the purpose o f 1898 was consummated in 19 0 1, and it was in the course o f the intervening three years that the larger implications o f 1 898 emerged in sharp relief. The vogue o f Cuba Libre soon waned after the war. Spain had been roundly defeated and expelled from Cuba, and insofar as “ independence” had been associated with the expulsion o f Spain, it did indeed appear that good intentions had yielded good results. The question o f Cuban independence, o f course, had not been re­ solved. In the weeks and months that followed the cessation o f hostili­ ties, the M cKinley administration moved determinedly to evade, circum­ vent, or otherwise nullify the purpose i f not the purport o f the Teller Amendment. Cubans were simply not ready to govern themselves, U.S. officials proclaimed after the war. "Self-governm ent!” General William Shafter thundered in response to a reporter’s question. “ Why those peo­ ple are no more fit for self-governm ent than gunpowder is for hell.” General Samuel Young insisted that “ the insurgents are a lot o f degener­ ates, absolutely devoid o f honor or gratitude. They are no more capable o f self-governm ent than the savages o f A frica.” General William Lud­ low agreed. “ We are dealing here in Cuba,” he reported to Washington, “ with a relatively uninstructed population, whose sensibilities are easily aroused but who lack judgment, who are wholly unaccustomed to man­ age their own affairs, and who readily resort to violence when excited or thwarted. . . . The whole structure o f society and business is still on too slender and tottering basis to warrant putting any additional strain upon it ” 14 The implications were clearly drawn. The United States could hardly release Cuba into the family o f nations so utterly ill-prepared for respon­ Intervention andIntent 29

sibilities in self-governm ent One cabinet member announced blundy that President M cKinley did not intend to expel Spain only to turn the island “ over to the insurgents or any other particular class or faction.” General Leonard Wood, the U.S. military governor o f Cuba, articulated administration thinking succinctly. “ When the Spanish-Amencan war was declared,” he insisted, “ the United States took a step forward, and as­ sumed a position as protector o f the interests o f Cuba. It became respon­ sible for the welfare o f the people, politically, mentally and morally.” 15 • • • The rationale to retain control over Cuba was established immediately after the war and found justification in the very congressional resolution that had promised independence. The Join t Resolution was reexamined and reinterpreted. Had not the Teller Amendment stipulated the neces­ sity for “ pacification” ? Sw ift and striking, the new consensus form ed around the proposition that “ pacification” implied more than simply the cessation o f hostilities. It also meant stability. “ It is true,” editorialized the Philadelphia Inquirer, “ that the Congressional resolutions. . . set forth that we, as a nation, had no designs upon Cuba, and that our sole object was to free it But these resolutions went further. They also declared it to be our intention to see to it that a

should be form ed.”

The N ew York Times made a similar point, but with far more ominous implications: 'T h e pledge we made by no means binds us to withdraw at once, nor does full and faithful compliance with its spirit and letter forbid us to become permanent possessors o f Cuba if the Cubans prove to be altogether incapable o f self-government. A higher obligation than the pledge o f the resolution o f Congress would then constrain us to continue our government o f the island.” The United States, insisted the N ew York Tribune, “ is not repudiating, but is scrupulously and exactly fulfilling the obligation it assumed in the A ct o f Intervention. It did not then recognize the independence or sovereignty o f the so-called Cuban Republic It did not promise to establish that republic, or to put the in­ surgents in control o f the island. It avowed the intention o f pacifying the island.” The implications if not the intention o f these propositions were not lost on M cKinley confidant Charles Dawes. “ ‘Until pacified’ ” — Dawes reflected privately in his diary. “ The latter logically under condi­ tions now and hereafter to exist in Cuba means ultimate annexation.” 16 The meaning o f the Teller Am endm ent which once had seemed so explicit and so clear, now became ambiguous and vague. “ Pacification” soon came to mean many different things, as circumstances warranted. “ What does ‘pacification* mean in that clause?” Senator O rville Platt

30 Intervention andIntent

asked rhetoricaUy two years after the war had ended. “We became re­ sponsible for the establishment o f a government there, which we would be willing to endorse to the people o f the world—a stable government, a governm ent for which we would be willing to be responsible in the eyes o f the world.” And at another point, Platt insisted: “ ‘Pacification’ o f the ‘island’ m anifestly meant the establishment in that island o f a govern­ ment capable o f adequately protecting life, liberty and property.” Atten­ tion—and emphasis—shifted from “ independence” to “ pacification.” “ The m aster-factor o f the whole problem lies in the phrases already quoted, ‘except for the pacification’ and ‘when that is accomplished,’ ” the N ew York Tribune explained as early as August 7 ,18 9 8 , adding: “ We have gone into Cuba to pacify it, and we are under no obligation, legal or moral, expressed or implied, to leave it until it is fully pacified. On the contrary, we under the strongest possible obligation, legal and moral, expressed and implied, not to leave it until it is fully pacified.” 17 There was, perhaps, no clearer explanation o f the original intent o f the Join t Resolution at die time o f its passage than that offered by Senator Joseph Benson Foraker in an article dated April 28, 1898, and published in The Forum the following June. “ The resolutions meant the absolute and unqualified independence o f the Cubans,” Foraker ex­ plained ten days after the passage o f the Joint Resolution, “ with the right to establish their own government without let or hindrance from us or anybody else.” But Foraker, too, seems to have had a change o f mind or possibly a lapse in memory. Writing almost two decades later, he recalled that although “ we had pledged to the Cubans a free and independent governm ent. . . that did not mean that we would or should be indifferent as to the kind o f government they established; nor did it mean that die relations between the two countries should not be clearly defined and properly and permanently established.” 18 M any reasons were given to fear Cuban independence. Cuba had to be protected from pernicious forces, whether they originated from the outside or especially from those that might arise from within. “ I f it is our business to see that the Cubans are not destroyed by any foreign power,” Senator Beveridge asked in 19 0 1, “ is it not our duty to see that they are not destroyed by themselves?” “ We have pledged ourselves to give Cuba independence,” conceded journalist Herbert P. Williams in 1899. But the results, he predicted grimly, “ will be disorder, fierce contention between the leaders, and then civil war o f the old familiar guerrilla kind, degener­ ating into butchery,” and thereby “ expose” large sectors o f the law abid­ ing residents “ to the fury o f the negroes, and the o*h™- inflommahle Intervention andIntent 31

elements . . . which the demagogues will stir up.” Congressman Town­ send Scudder made the point explicitly: O ur dominant purpose [in 1898] was that o f destroying a regime under which savagery flourished . . . and setting up instead the ma­ chinery o f a true and lasting civilization. We shall not discharge in honor the duty we have voluntarily assumed by a mere technical observance o f the Teller resolution. We have promised to Cuba peace, order, equal rights, security for life and property, justice, and material progress. D oes any sane man believe that these results are likely to be attained b y . . . surrendering the destinies o f the island to the form er insurgent leaders?19 Once stability was subsumed into the meaning o f the Teller Am end­ ment, independence itself became a condition over which the United States claimed authority to recognize, restrict, or regulate, as circum­ stances warranted. Stability, like pacification, underwent repeated re­ definition. It did not signify simply political order. It came to imply a condition capable o f inspiring public confidence and encouraging pri­ vate investm ent General Leonard Wood characterized stability wholly as a condition o f “ business confidence.” “ The people ask me what we mean by stable government in Cuba,” he explained to Secretary o f War Elihu Root in early 1900. “ I tell diem that when money can be borrowed at a reasonable rate o f interest and when capital is willing to invest in the island, a condition o f stability will have been reached.” Wood offered a similar definition to President M cKinley: “ When people ask me what I mean by stable government, I tell them ‘money at six percent’ ’,2° B y 1901 the definition o f pacification had undergone final trans­ figuration as an extension o f U.S. interests. What circumstances would satisfy U.S. notions o f “ pacification,” the Philadelphia Inquirerzsked—and answered: “A s soon as the Cubans show themselves able and ready to govern the Island in accordance with American principles o f order, liberty, and justice, it is to be assumed that this Governm ent will be ready to fulfill its pledge and relinquish control to them. It is not to be assumed that it will do so one day before that time.” Leonard Wood was unequiv­ ocal. To end the occupation without having established prior control over Cuba, Wood predicted, would be tantamount to inviting E uropean powers to occupy every harbor o f the island. The United States de­ manded some definition o f a “ special relationship” as a precondition for the completion o f “ pacification,” and hence compliance with “ indepen­ dence.” And this “ special relationship” necessarily required defining the


Intervention andIntent

terms by which the new government o f Cuba would be obliged to act in a manner consistent with U.S. interests, even i f this meant violating the spirit o f the Teller Amendment. The United States, Secretary o f War Elihu Root explained years later, insisted on “ vitalizing the advice” to be offered to the Cuban government. “ A dvice’ meant, in this connection, more than the advice a man might give to his client; it meant Enforceable advice,’ like the advice which G reat Britain might give to Egypt.” Sena­ tor Platt expressed his preference for “ very much more stringent mea­ sures” but understood, too, that “when they concede to us the right o f intervention and naval stations. . . that the United States gets an effective moral position, and which becomes something more than a moral posi­ tion.” Platt was categorical. “A ll that we have asked,” he responded in defense o f the amendment that would bear his name, “ is that the mutual relations [between Cuba and the United States] shall be defined and acknowledged coincidentally with the setting up o f Cuba’s new govern­ ment. In no other way could a stable government be assured in Cuba, and until such assurance there could be no complete ‘pacification’ o f the island, and no surrender o f its control.” 21 The passage o f the Platt Amendment in 1901 fulfilled the U.S. pur­ pose. The new Cuban republic was_to he shorn o f all essential properties o f sovereignty prior to its creation. The Cuban government was denied* authority to enter into “ any treaty or other compact with any foreign power or powers,” denied, too, the authority to contract a public debt beyond its normal ability to repay, and obliged to cede national territory to accommodate a U.S. naval station. Lastly, Cubans were required to concede to the United States “ the right to intervene” for the “ mainte­ nance o f a government adequate for the protection o f life, property and individual liberty.” 22 News o f the Platt Amendment provoked widespread protests in -



Cuba. Anti-U S. demonstrations spread across the island. Cubans took to the streets in organized demonstrations and rallies to denounce the Platt Amendment. Municipalities, civic associations, and veterans orga­ nizations on the island cabled their protests to U.S. authorities. “ Repre­ sentatives o f all social classes in impressive manifestation,” Mayor Leopoldo Figueroa o f Cienfuegos appealed directly to President M cKinley, “ ask me to transmit to you the persistent desire for absolute indepen­ dence o f Cuba.” The Sancti-Spfritus Council o f Veterans registered its “ profound displeasure” with the Platt Amendment, and the Regia mu­ nicipal council pleaded with Secretary Root “ to com ply with the terms o f the Join t Resolution.” Federal Party president Pelayo Garcia called for Intervention andIntent 33

the “ complete fulfillment o f the Join t Resolution which embodies the constant aspiration o f the Cuban people, that for which they have sacri­ ficed so many lives and wasted so much property.” 23 This display o f public opposition strengthened the resolve o f the constituent assembly, to which the task o f approving the Platt Amendment was presented, to reject the amendment. A naval squadron was prepared for a “ courtesy call” to Havana. General Wood became uneasy and cabled Root for instructions: “ Can you indicate our action in case convention refuses to accept Platt Amendment?” 24 N orth American authorities remained unmoved. Acceptance o f the Platt Amendment, Cubans were told, was the minimum condition for ending the military occupation. “ We should . . . make our requests and desires known to Cuba,” Representative Scudder insisted, “ and there­ after, if necessary, these requests should be put in the form o f an ulti­ matum___ The probability is that Cuba will yield; but i f she does not do so readily, then our troops must remain until an absolute understanding is reached.” Elihu Root was equally adamant. “ Under the act o f Con­ gress they can never have any further government in Cuba, except the intervening Governm ent o f the United States until they have acted,” Root pronounced. “ N o constitution can be put into effect in Cuba, and no government can be elected under it, no electoral law by the Conven­ tion can be put into effect, and no election held under it until they have acted upon this question.” Root’s point was unambiguous: “There is only one possible way for them to bring about the termination o f the military government and make either the constitution or electoral law effective; that is to do the whole duty they were elected for.” 25 - ( Cubans)eventuaUy acquiesced. The choice before the assembly, dçlegate"Manuel Sanguily understood^waiJimited independence or noinde­ pendence at all. “ Independence with restrictions is preferable to the [U.S.] military regime,” he explained in casting his vote to accept the Platt Amendment. Enrique Villuendas agreed. “ There is no use objecting to the inevitable,” he conceded. “ It is either annexation or a Republic with an amendment.” 26 The Platt Amendment was incorporated into the Cuban Constitution o f 1901 as an appendix and subsequently ratified into fixed bilateral relations by way o f the Permanent Treaty o f 1903. •

- •

This, then, was the final form in which the “ independence” pledged by the Join t Resolution o f Congress was delivered. The conditions im posed on the exercise o f Cuban nationhood rendered meaningless all but the m ost cynical definition o f independence. The Platt Amendment de­

34 Intervention andIntent

prived the republic o f the essential properties o f sovereignty while pre­ serving the appearance o f independence» permitting self-governm ent but precluding self-determination. “ There is, o f course, litde or no inde­ pendence left in Cuba under the Platt Amendment,” Leonard Wood acknowledged to M cKinley in a moment o f private candor in late 19 0 1. And more to the point, he advised: “The only consistent dung to do now is to seek annexation.” 27 A disconsolate General Maximo Gom ez under­ stood well what had happened. “ The Republic will surely come,” he wrote to a friend in May 19 0 1, “but not with the absolute independence we had dreamed about.” 28 The Platt Amendment thus brought the U.S. purpose in 1898 to a successful conclusion. National interests were guaranteed, not—to be sure—by way o f the direct succession o f sovereignty so long foreseen. On the other hand, neither did sovereignty pass to a third party. The United States went to war, as it always said it would, to prevent the transfer o f sovereignty o f Cuba, in this instance to the Cubans them­ selves. “ I am constrained to vote for the [Platt] amendment . . . ,” Congressman John B. Corliss announced as he cast his vote, “ because I believe that the adoption thereof will insure the continuance o f our sovereignty. I am unalterably opposed to the surrender o f the sover­ eignty o f the United States over die island o f Cuba___ I voted for that (Teller] resolution and intend thereby to extend to them the same liberty, freedom , and independence enjoyed by the citizens o f our own territory. What greater liberty, freedom , and independence can be obtained than that enjoyed under the protection o f our flag?” 29 The United States thus acted in defense o f long-standing national interests. Cuba had insinuated itself into some o f the most important policy initiatives o f the nineteenth century, explained and expounded, again and again, and passed into those spheres o f policy where assump­ tions shaped anticipations. They assumed the power o f a larger logic that ceased to be apprehended as anything other than self-evident truths. The perceptions o f war in 1898, however, did not enter the realm o f public comprehension as a defense o f national interests but rather as the discharge o f moral responsibilities, o f ideals upheld, o f sentimental for­ mulations—a war for humanity, for example—which early seized hold o f the popular narratives and professional discourses as the dominant rep­ resentations o f the U.S. purpose. Central and essential to these form ula­ tions was the proposition o f intervention undertaken explicitly in pur­ suit o f a higher purpose, principally in the form o f Cuban independence. The proposition o f Cuban independence as objective and outcome o f Intervention andIntent 35

1 898 has long enjoyed a dominant position in the historiography o f the war. Indeed, war as a deliberate undertaking, if admitted at all, possessed o f rationale and rationality, a war willed and waged with forethought o f purpose and o b ject has found its most enduring representation as an act in behalf o f Cuban independence. The difference between, on one hand, the end o f Spanish rule and, on the other, the exercise o f Cuban sov­ ereignty early lost all distinction, as if to imply that the latter was syn­ onymous with the former. Americans then and thereafter could cele­ brate the self-proclaimed selflessness with which the nation went to war and obtained Cuban independence. Fifteen years later Theodore Roose­ velt could unflinchingly continue to sustain the proposition o f Cuban independence. “We made the promise to give Cuba independence,” he proclaimed in his Autobiography, “ and we kept that promise.” 30 CÊxplanatory narratives of 1898 have not typically represented the war as a defense o f national interests, in which intervention sought to ob­ struct the Spanish relinquishment o f sovereignty to Cubans, that is, war as a response to specific circumstances, precisely as the United States had always threatened. On the contrary, the war has been represented largely as an undertaking to obt^n C u b ^ independence. In fact, the proposition o f war in behalf o f Cuba Libre lacks coherent logic. The depiction o f the United States as undertaking national mobili­ zation for war to obtain independence for Cubans runs direcdy counter to the central tenets o f nearly one hundred years o f U.S. policy. If, in fact, this was the U.S. purpose in 1898, then it would have represented a remarkable reversal o f long-standing policy tenets o f the nineteenth century, o f such magnitude that it would itself demand explanation. What factors, in short, would have persuaded the United States to aban­ don one hundred years o f strategic thinking? That Cuban independence was neither the objective o f the interven­ tion or the outcome o f the war has not found a place in U.S. historiogra­ phy. The imposition o f the Platt Amendment in 1901 as both a condition o f and a constraint on the “ independence” pledged in the Joint Resolu­ tion has passed largely unnoticed in the historical literature. Indeed, it is not at all clear that U.S. historians have fully understood the extent to which the Platt Amendment restricted the independence to which the United States committed itself in 1898. There have been a number o f notable exceptions, to be sure, but in the main historians have routinely propounded the fiction that the pledge o f “independence” had been fulfilled, apparendy unmindful o f or indifferent to the ways that the Platt Amendment negated the project o f Cuba Libre.31

36 Intervention andIntent

With the end o f the military occupation, R. D. W. Connor proclaimed, “ Cuba was at last free and independent” Mabel B. Casner and Ralph Henry Gabriel similarly insisted that, “ according to its prom ise, the United States withdrew the Am erican soldiers and made Cuba indepen­ dent.” John Holladay Latané and D avid W. Wainhouse were unabashedly exuberant; “ N ever has a pledge made by a nation under such circum­ stances been more faithfully carried o u t” Jam es Ford Rhodes affirm ed in 1922 that the “ pledge contained in the Teller amendment was faithfully kep t” Seventy years later G ary N ash et al. continued to insist that the “ United States honored Cuban independence, as it had promised to do in the Teller Amendment.” The military occupation o f Cuba ended in 1 902, affirm ed William Wood and Ralph Henry Gabriel, whereupon “ the pledge o f the nation, given at the time o f the declaration o f the war on Spain, had been redeemed.” Randolph Greenfield Adams pointed with pride to “ one o f die m ost creditable pages in American foreign policy,” when the United States kept its promise to make Cuba “ a free and inde­ pendent nation,” and Ralph Henry Gabriel on another occasion could characterİ2e the military occupation (1899—1902) as a “ period o f aid,” whereupon Cuba “was established as an independent nation.” H . Wayne Morgan was categorical. “ In 1902 the Cuban Republic became indepen­ dent,” he affirm ed, although he did acknowledge in the next sentence that a kind o f “ supervision” lasted until 1934, without mentioning the Platt Amendment by name. Robert E . Welch Jr. wrote in similar terms, depicting the U.S. purpose in 1898 as “ necessary to end an intolerable sit­ uation, free Cuba from Spanish misrule, and put the island on its feet as an independent nation.” But Welch also felt obliged to acknowledge in a passing but otherwise unobtrusive caveat that “ independence. . . should be obtained under Am erican tutelage so that Cuba would have a govern­ ment stable and sensible as well as independent.” Joh n A . S. Grenville and G eorge Berkeley Young could, on one hand, refer to M cKinley’s devotion to “ his duty to the Cubans” and the demand that Spain “grant Cuba its independence,” and yet in another paragraph give historio­ graphical credibility to policy constructions o f the M cKinley administra­ tion: “ Many knowledgeable Americans doubted whether the Cubans were really ready for self-governm ent and feared that immediate inde­ pendence would create fresh problems for the United States. M cKinley shared these fears and inclined to the view that the Cubans would first have to pass through a period o f American tutelage before they could be trusted to make wise use o f a representative government.” 32 N or is it simply or solely that the implications o f the Platt AmendIntervention andIntent 3 7

ment on the exercise o f sovereignty have not been fully understood. In fact, considerable energy has been expended to reconcile the constraints o f the Platt Amendment with the commitment o f the Teller Amend­ m ent John A . Garraty disposed o f the contradiction in peremptory fashion, but only after having first ignored the “ free and independent” clause in the Join t Resolution as the proclaimed purpose o f the interven­ tion, to suggest instead that “ the purpose o f the Spanish-American War” was “ to bring peace and order to Cuba.” Garraty concluded that “ [t]he Platt Amendment was a logical step.” Richard H. Collin sought to recon­ cile the obvious contradiction between the promise (Teller) and the product (Platt) by arguing both sides o f the issue. “Americans were both idealistic and practical,” he suggested. Collin, in fact, began with the assumption that independence was untenable, whereupon he proceeded to fashion an imaginative but implausible rationale. “ M ost businessmen shrank from giving Cuba absolute freedom,” he argued, “ for fear that Cubans would seize American property or, equally onerous, that revolu­ tionaries would take control o f trade relations between the United States and Cuba.” What Collin may have had in mind by alluding to revolution­ aries taking “ control o f trade relations” is not clear. The proposition that Cubans threatened to “ seize American property,” moreover, was utterly fatuous. With these dubious propositions in place, however, Collin could complete his case by arguing that “ ß]imited autonomy and respon­ sibility were good pragmatic American solutions for maintaining enough control for practical purposes.” Frederic L. Paxson argued that “ Cuba came into possession o f an independence limited only by restrictions against self-destruction and an American guarantee o f law and order.” Paul L . Haworth conceded that the “ general effect” o f the Platt Amend­ ment was “ to make Cuba a protectorate o f the United States,” but he hastened to add: “ The United States has never. . . exercised its protecto­ rate in a manner contrary to the interests o f the Cuban people.” And still, evërf after having conceded, in a fashion, the condition o f protectorate, Haworth could conclude: “ On May 2 0 ,19 0 2 ... the last Am erican troops sailed from the island, and the new republic form ally entered upon her independent existence. Thus closed one o f the most admirable chapters İn human annals.” 33 These have been among the most compelling historiographical repre­ sentations o f 1898: a nation aroused by a noble mission, inspired to defend the cause o f Cuban independence. That these are, in fact, debata­ ble i f not dubious formulations does not, o f course, reduce the authen­ ticity o f popular support o f Cuba Libre. On the contrary, vast numbers

38 Intervention andIntent

o f men and women who were party to and participants in 1 898 acted in good faith, persuaded that the U.S. purpose was both righteous and rightful. Indeed, careful and nuanced studies o f 1898 have been care­ ful to draw fine but important distinctions between popular persua­ sions and policy purpose. There is, in fact, litde reason to disagree with Julius W. Pratt’s observation that “ [a]s far as the American public was concerned, intervention, if it came, should be intervention for Cuba libre—for a Cuba free and independent, not a Cuba transform ed from a colony o f Spain to a colony o f the United States.” In die same way, D avid F. Trask’s observation that the “American people went to war convinced that they had embarked upon an entirely selfless mission for humanity” was well-founded, as was Joh n M. D obson’s assertion that “ public opinion in the United States swung behind the rebel cause.” J. Rogers Hollingsworth was absolutely correct in his carefully phrased observation that “ the American people were convinced that the nation had entered the war for purely humanitarian reasons, and they imme­ diately rallied behind the government.” 34 That public opinion seemed so powerfully arrayed on the side o f Cuba Libre, in behalf o f Cuban independence, however, has also served as a means by which to take a larger leap o f faith and validate the proposition o f a policy designed as a project o f liberation. Cognitive thresholds were crossed in subde fashion, almost imperceptibly, as pub­ lic sentiment was rendered as official policy. Popular narratives and polit­ ical pronouncements seemed possessed o f the capacity to validate them­ selves and passed direcdy into the collective memory and thereupon proceeded to inform the assumptions from which historical scholarship was derived. The purpose pronounced in 1898 developed easily enough into the principal explanatory formulations o f the war. This necessarily and not surprisingly conceded privileged narrative space to beneficent representations o f the U.S. purpose. These were perhaps, under the circumstances, inevitable pronouncements, the stuff by which the na­ tional purpose was ennobled and duly consecrated: no sordid imperialist impulses here, no mischievous motives or insidious intentions—rather, selfless service to the cause o f humanity and confirm ation o f the deep­ ening conviction o f American exceptionalism. The historical literature is rich with allusions to popular support for Cuban independence and in the aggregate constitute one o f the domi­ nant narratives o f 1898. “ The Spanish-American War,” affirm ed Walter T. K . Nugent, “ began as an American attempt to bring about the independence o f the Cuban people.” Foster Rhea Dulles used a similar atguIntervention andIntent 39

ment, declaring that “ the nation embarked, idealistically, enthusiastically, on its war to establish the independence o f Cuba/’ The war, asserted Wayne S. Cole, “ expressed American determination to throw o ff O ld World control in the Western Hemisphere and win independence for the Cubans.” Daniel M. Smith forced the argument even further, insisting that M cKinley him self “ sympathized deeply with the Cuban rebel cause, on humanitarian grounds and because o f an ideological aversion to Old World rule and a belief in the virtues o f independence and democracy.” John Garraty maintained in 1993 that the “ Spanish-American War was fought to free Cuba.” Two years later Maldwyn A . Jones atgued that the United States embarked upon war “ to free a colonial people from Old World oppression.” D avid Trask made a similar point: “A hupaanitgrian^ crusade had attained its prime object, Cuban independence.” 35 The invocation o f idealism as a source o f war emerged as one o f the dominant representations o f the U.S. purpose in 1898. For contempo­ raries, it made for self-validating notions about the nobility o f the nation, the higher moral ground by which the United States defined its purpose in world affairs. The proposition o f war in defense o f freedom and liberty was not without self-confirm ing appeal, o f course. Political lead­ ers especially were fond o f proclaiming the generosity o f purpose with which the United States went to war. The war, Secretary o f War Rus­ sell A . A lger maintained, was inspired by the need o f the United States to “ discharge . . . its responsibilities to civilization.” M cKinley confidant Charles G . Dawes years later wrote that the president’s purpose was “ in accord with the dictates o f humanity.” It was a war that “ was as necessary as it was righteous,” asserted John Hay, and “ a remarkable altruistic perform ance,” Champ Clark later exulted. Carl Schurz wrote with heart­ felt sincerity o f a “ war o f liberation, o f humanity, undertaken without any selfish m otive,. . . a war o f disinterested benevolence.” Senator John Spooner was eloquent in his appeal to conscience. “ We intervene to put an end to savagery,” Spooner maintained during the debate over the Joint Resolution. “ We intervene because, as a Christian nation at the end o f the nineteenth century, we cannot stand İt any longer in the sight o f G od.” He concluded: “ We intervene . . . not for conquest, not for aggrandizement, not because o f the M onroe doctrine; we intervene for humanity’s sake; we iritëfvëne to gain security for the future; we inter­ vene to aid a people who have suffered every form o f tyranny and who have-made a desperate struggle to be fre e .. . . We intervene upon the highest possible ground.” 36 President M cKinley in particular invoked humanitarian motives as 40

Intervention and Intent

the source o f U.S. policy. It was, in the end, “ in the name o f humanity” and “ in the name o f civilization” that he requested congressional author­ ity “ to secure a full and final termination o f hostility between the G o v­ ernment o f Spain and the people o f Cuba.” “We took up arms only in obedience to the dictates o f humanity,” the president insisted, “ and in the fulfillment o f high public and moral obligations.” Repeatedly, he explained the U.S. purpose in the name o f “ humanity and the advance o f civilization.” O n one occasion, he said: “ We went to war, not because we wanted to, but because humanity demanded it.” M cKinley asserted: “ We went [to war] only that we might relieve the Cuban people o f an oppres­ sion under which they had been suffering for years—our neighbors, close to us, almost on our very borders. We went to war that we might give them re lie f.. . . [W]e must carry the burden, whatever it may be, in the interest o f civilization, humanity, and liberty.” 37 Certainly this was a view with which most contemporary writers agreed. “ The war between the United States and Spain was, in brief,” proclaimed Alexander K . M cClure and Charles M orris two years later in their biography o f M cKinley, “ a war for humanity, for Am erica could no longer close her ears to die wails o f the starving people who lay perish­ ing, as may be said, on her very doorsteps. It was not for conquest or gain, nor was it in revenge for the awful destruction o f the M aine” W oodrow W ilson was especially receptive to this form ulation, and in his H istory o fthe Am erican People (1902) he maintained that the war was “ not for the material aggrandizement o f the United States, but for the asser­ tion o f the right o f the government to succor those who seemed hope­ lessly oppressed.” 38 “ I f ever there was a war that was entered into purely from motives o f humanity and with no thought o f conquest,” affirm ed A . D. Hall in 1 898, “ it was this one.” He continued: “The entire people o f the United States were agreed that their purpose was a holy one___ War is justifiable, when waged, as the present one unquestionably is, from purely unselfish motives, simply from a determination to rescue a people whose suffering had become unbearable to them and to the lookers-on. The United States, by its actions, has set a lesson for the rest o f the world, which the latter will not be slow to learn and for which future generations will bless the name o f Am erica.” 39 William Jam es was equally em phatic “ The basis o f it all

IS •

y he wrote in June 1898, “ perfectly honest

humanitarianism, and an absolute disinterested desire on the part o f our people to set the Cubans free.” N ovelist Jack London was certain that the war was “ a stroke against monarchy & for political democracy.” 40 The purpose proclaimed in 1898 passed directly into the historical Intervention andIntent 41

literature. In the successive telling and retelling o f 1898, the place o f noble intentions assumed an ever larger prominence. The literature as­ sumed unabashedly self-congratulatory tones, as the dominant historio­ graphical discourse commemorated selflessness and sacrifice, magna­ nimity o f intention and generosity o f purpose, as the source o f the U.S. policy. Idealism—not interests—inspired U.S. actions. The Teller Amendment in particular served as a powerful corroboration o f the U.S. objective, to which the U.S. scholars could point confidently as p ro o f o f purpose. “ It reflected both America's idealistic and humanitarian m o­ tives in [the] intervention,” asserted Daniel M. Smith. Randolph Green­ field Adams rejoiced over the Teller Amendment as a “ burst o f generous enthusiasm.” In the “ very declaration o f war,” Adam s exulted, “ Con­ gress did a thing which will forever mark the dawn o f a new era İn international relationships, a thing to which every American may point as an evidence o f the fact that Am erica had a mission in world politics which was not sordid, nor materialistic nor merely land-grabbing.” The war was waged “ in the great cause o f humanity,” H. Addington Bruce proclaimed. Harold and Margaret Sprout characterized the war as “ a crusade to liberate Spain’s Cuban colony.” Using slighdy different imag­ ery, Albert Shaw conveyed the same idea. “ We undertook the war as a re­ lie f mission,” he contended. “ O ur own grievances were slight and inci­ dental, and we were embarking upon an adventure that was essentially altruistic” Howard Jones agreed, insisting that intervention “ in behalf o f Cuba’s independence seemed justified as a crusade” and that the “ the war with Spain was a crusade to free Cuba from Old World Oppression.” Arthur Hendrick Vandenburg swelled with pride as he wrote in 1926 o f a war undertaken as “ one o f the loftiest purposed acts in the history o f civilization.” The gesture,” he continued, “ compliments the altruism o f a nation w h ich . . . is prepared to serve human-kind in its own way and on its own initiative with a purity o f dedication unmatched in any other government on earth.” M ore than twenty-five years later Frank Freidel employed elegant prose to celebrate the generosity o f the U.S. purpose. “ It was a nation innocent o f the nature o f modern warfare,” he wrote in 1958, “ and with little inkling o f world-power politics that so boldly and idealistically set forth to punish Spain for her mistreatment o f her Cuban colony.” A t another point Freidel insisted that the United States entered into war “ to rescue the Cuban people from the Spanish malefactors,” for the purpose o f “ setting forth to right great wrongs, to rescue Cubans from the cruel and wicked grasp o f the Spaniards.” 41 Ruhl Bartlett characterized the war as an “ act o f liberating Cuba from


Intervention andIntent

an iniquitous Spanish empire” and “ not the acquisition o f territory, nor economic advantage, nor imperialism in any form ” ; A . F. Pollard insisted that “ [n]o one imagines that the United States went into the war o f 1 898 in order to annex the Philippines, or Cuba, or Puerto Rico. The motive was rather humanitarian sentim ent” Robert Endicott O sgood affirm ed the U.S. purpose in categorical terms: “Americans began the war not out o f a realistic calculation o f national advantage but largely as an idealistic crusade to free the Cubans from Spain's imperial shackles.” 42 Eventually the representation o f the U.S. purpose in 1898 went be­ yond independence for Cuba to include even loftier objectives. H. Wayne M organ gave perhaps one o f the fullest expressions to this line o f argu­ ment. The suffering in Cuba, he described the U.S. purpose İn 1898, “ inevitably and understandably aroused humanitarian sympathy in the United States.” This notion o f inevitability provided the occasion for M organ to expound on the national character o f the American and its influence on U.S. policy: “ generously and honesdy endowed with the desire to relieve suffering and to extend to others what he considers die blessings o f his way o f life.” In the convicdon that the United States “is history’s chosen child,” the American believes that it is “ not merely a right but a duty” to extend assistance “ to the less fortunate.” Some “ fight for their countries boundaries or to add a province to their nadon’s domains” ; the American, M organ insisted, is “ more easily moved to liberate the provinces o f the heart and mind,” even when such acrions are “ averse to his own country’s immediate best interests.” He added: “ But these feelings, so deeply and honesdy a part o f the nadon’s history and thought, have been the greatest single force in American foreign policy. Cuba in 1 898 was a classic example o f their opérations.” A t another point M organ characterized M cKinley’s intentions: “ Humanitarian desires to relieve the island’s suffering, to make it free, and to establish a LatinAmerican democracy were upperm ost in his own mind.” Morgan’s con­ clusion was a stirring tribute to the national purpose: The nation’s movement toward world power and participation in international events, which the Spanish-American War symbolized rather than caused, carried in it potent ideas and ideals that captured the allegiance o f most Americans. It promised to carry the dream o f freedom to all com ers o f the world___It fed pride in Am erica’s great­ ness; not merely in military or diplomatic might, but in the goodness o f her institutions.. . . Honest indignation at the thought o f misery in other lands, and the earnest desire to end cruelty and oppression fortified the general public’s belief in the American mission.43 Intervention andIntent 43

These themes appeared often as the dominant historiographical for­ mulations o f 1898, as unassailable as they were unquestionable. Allan Keller linked the war to M cKinley’s angst “ that a democratic, freedomloving nation like the United States could not sit by forever while tyranny and stupidity destroyed the Cuban people.” Sam Acheson gave colorful expression to the U.S. purpose: “ The Spanish-American War was . . . a natural child o f American emotionalism, conceived in that loosely senti­ mental pocket o f the mass mind out o f which from time to time issue crusades against the Saracens, attacks on windmills, and wars to end war: in short, the altruistic idealism o f civilized beings.” 44 Tony Smith sug­ gested that the war was “ largely inspired by a [U.S.] determination to stop Spain’s repeated abuse o f human rights in Cuba” and rescue “ Cu­ bans suffering at the hands o f the Spanish.” 45 Soon even the Platt Amendment was celebrated as an act o f benefi­ cent magnanimity. It was, in the end, in Cuba’s best interest. Once more, policy paradigms served to drive historical narratives. It would have been irresponsible for the United States to have conceded complete indepen­ dence to a population “ made up o f some pure-blood Spanish, and a mass o f negroes and mixed bloods, to a great extent illiterate,” con­ tended John Truslow Adams. “There was no ‘public,’ in the AngloSaxon sense, educated and fit for self-governm ent, but there were plenty o f the unfortunate type o f South Americans who take naturally to politi­ cal agitation and insurrection.” Adams drew the obvious moral: “ The Platt Amendment was . . . for the good o f the Cuban people, and if we threw to the wind the idealism with which we had started the war, we at least maintained it with regard to Cuba, and gave an example o f restraint in leaving the rich ‘Pearl o f the Antilles’ to work out its own destiny in comparative freedom if it could.” For John Schutz, it was a matter o f Congress defining relations with Cuba “ by laying down some apparendy sensible restrictions on Cuban independence that permitted N orth Americans to supervise island affairs,” whereas Robert H. Ferrell charac­ terized the Platt Amendment as an “ improvement upon [Cubans’] con­ stitutional labors.” John S. Bassett observed that “ turbulent methods had become habitual to the Cuban masses who were without experience in self-government. Congress, accordingly, devised a restraining mecha­ nism in 1901 in the Platt Amendment.” 46 • • • The resonance o f idealism as an explanation o f 1898 had other sources. It could assume a place o f prominence in the historical literature pre­ cisely because the possibility that the success o f the Cuban indepen­

44 Intervention andIntent

dence struggle might threaten or in any other way adversely affect U.S. interests was never contemplated. The historiography, in fact, could not imagine that U.S. interests were in any way implicated in the outcome o f the Cuban insurrection. The narrative framework o f 1898 has thus tended to favor modes o f historical explanations derived principally from “ realist” paradigms. G eorge F. Kennan argued that the Cuban insurrection “ was none o f our business,” and the United States could “have let things take their course.” Kennan added: “ Our national se­ curity, as we think o f it today, was not threatened.” D avid Trask form u­ lated a variation o f this argument, insisting that “ irrational impulses rather than calculated strategic, economic, ideological, or religious con­ siderations moved [the United States] to a great crusade in defense o f Cuba L ib re? The war o f 1898, claimed Norm an Graebner, “ was not the result o f any deliberate weighing o f interests and responsibilities,” af­ firm ing specifically that “ the United States had no legitimate cause for declaring war on Spain.” Ruhl Bartlett likewise maintained that “ the United States had no just cause for war against Spain,” and Bernard Bailyn et al. argued that the United States embarked upon war “ for no particularly compelling reasons o f national interest” William E . Leuch­ tenburg made the same point with equal directness: “We entered a war in which no vital American interest was involved.” The United States, affirm ed Jam es C. Bradford, went to war “ for an abstract principle [and] out o f a sense o f moral obligation.” Bradford concluded: “ The SpanishAmerican War was the first brought on by consideration for the lives o f others, and entry into it marked the first step in what was to constitute a revolution in American foreign relations.” 47 These formulations were themselves a product o f the assumptions around which the dominant historiographical representations o f 1898 took form . That these narratives passed fully as conventional wisdom about the U.S. purpose—war explicitly in behalf o f idealism and moral imperatives—eventually produced a counternarrative in the form o f a realist critique o f U.S. foreign policy. Accordingly, 1898 was represented as the point at which the United States went astray, when the nation abandoned policy based on rational articulation o f national interests to pursue ambiguous and abstract moral principles at the expense o f strate­ gic interests. Hans J. Morgenthau was among the first to represent 1898 as the decisive point o f deviation at which the United States broke with nineteenth-century traditions. “The intoxication with moral abstrac­ tions,” Morgenthau wrote, “ which as a mass phenomenon started with the Spanish-American War and which in our time has become the pre­ Interventhn andIntent 45

vailing substitute for political thought, is indeed one o f the great sources o f weakness and failure in American foreign policy/’ Whereas Thom as Jefferson and John Quincy Adams were represented as upholders o f the “ realist tradition,” acting principally on the basis o f “ interests,” M cK in­ ley was depicted as having inaugurated the era o f the “ moralistic tradi­ tion,” acting on the basis o f sentiment. Morgenthau asserted: “ M cKinley leads the United States as a great world power beyond the confines o f the Western Hemisphere, ignorant o f the bearing o f this step upon the national interest, and guided by moral principles, completely divorced from the national interest.” 48 Robert Welch made a similar argument, insisting that the war “ un­ doubtedly hastened Am erica’s acceptance o f international responsibili­ ties, but in equal measure American military successes encouraged a national tendency to confuse the prom otion o f United States interests with the progress and well-being o f other peoples.” Jam es M. M cCor­ mick agreed, holding in 1 992 that the war resulted from Spanish “ alleged moral violations,” in which “ a variety o f moral arguments was advanced to justify American actions,” adding: “ Few arguments for American participation were advanced on the basis o f how it might affect the national interest; instead, moral arguments provided the dominant ra­ tionale.” Robert Endicott O sgood pointed to 1898 as the juncture at which U.S. policy lost its clarity o f purpose. The need to guarantee “ the nation’s ability to survive,” O sgood affirm ed, required a policy based on “ a disposition to perceive and act upon the real conditions under which a nation may achieve its ends in international society.” These principles were compromised in 1898, O sgood insisted, in the belief that “ stan­ dards o f personal conduct, including even altruism, were entirely appli­ cable to national conduct; and that these standards were quite compat­ ible with national self-interest” The United States entered the war with a mixture o f “ self-righteousness and genuine moral fervor,” in the form o f a “ crusade” and a combination o f “ knight-errantry and national self­ assertiveness,” in response to “ the pitiful plight o f the Cuban revolution­ ists.” O sgood argued: “A war to free Cuba from Spanish despotism , corruption, and cruelty, from the filth and disease and barbarity o f G en­ eral ’Butcher’ Weyler’s reconcentration camps, from the devastation o f haciendas, the extermination o f families, and the outraging o f women; that would be a blow for humanity and democracy.” However much this impulse may have been a “ product o f a compelling conviction, rooted solidly in American character and tradition,” the war was also a “ product o f a policy that militated against a more realistic and wide-spread recog-

46 Intervention andIntent

nition o f the conditions for a stable and effective foreign policy.” O s­ good concluded: “The nation entered and fought the war with Spain out o f a combination o f self-assertive egoism and altruistic idealism which was inconsistent with its long-run scale o f priorities among national ends and motives.” 49 N orm an Graebner depicted 1 898 as “ a turning point in the history o f the Republic,” the point at which the United States “ deserted. . . those principles o f statecraft which had guided it through its first century o f independence” and in which “ moral abstraction as a mass phenomenon was substituted for the political realism which had circumscribed all previous diplomacy.” Graebner maintained that “ [f]ew Americans at­ tempted to justify the war against Spain except in humanitananism.” Although such motives were “ not strange to American liberal thought,” he argued, “ before 1898 they had never governed action” ; with the “ Spanish-American War, moral abstraction as a mass phenomenon was substituted for the political realism that had circumscribed previous Am erican diplomacy.” Graebner continued: This defiance o f American diplomatic experience la y . . . in the deci­ sion to anchor such unprecedented national behavior to abstract moral principles rather than to the political wisdom and common sense o f the p ast This newly acquired sense o f moral obligation which propelled the nation on its twentieth-century course in world affairs was totally incompatible with the assumptions and methods which had permitted earlier generations o f Americans to defend the perennial interests o f the United States with style and distinction. A fter the events o f 1898, the nation no longer possessed an unblurred diplomatic tradition which reached deeply into its own history or which could enlighten the thought and decisions o f the future.50 In fact, the realist critique was itself derived from and based on a literal if uncritical reading o f the dominant historiographical narratives by which 1898 became generally known and comprehended. So well had the story o f idealism as the source o f U.S. policy been told and retold, that it assumed a logic o f its own, self-evident and self-validating. Critics, too, appeared to have made the same normative leaps o f faith and pro­ ceeded to give new resonance to the old historiographical formulations o f 1898. This scholarly consensus overlooked the long history o f N orth Am er­ ican preoccupation with Cuba. A ll through the nineteenth century, suc­ cessive policymakers shared a common view about the future disposi­

Intervention and Intent 47

tion o f Cuba. The central policy tenets were defined precisely in terms o f national interests, driven by propositions that were perceived as prag-

madrrfSirifti’gijr iBtt iy its^dsoxiqjsfapot ^ntigieot^ndm aaBBi ufantal ttadç. and. rnmmunini drtacMtty nftr^tdilisnar informed the dogninap t contem­ plated the prospects o f calamity and catastrophe associated with Cuban independence. These were propositions so deeply embedded in U.S. strategic thinking, so universally endorsed and commonly understood, that they passed as self-evident assumptions o f U.S. policy. What changed in 1 898 was that an established policy canon having to do with vital national interests entered into the public discourse, subject to political mediation and popular debate. M ore specifically, popular sentiment did indeed endanger security interests, for rising public sym­ pathy for Cuban independence threatened to undermine a policy with antecedents deep into the nineteenth The president had vigorously op­ posed the Teller Amendment, and when it seemed that its passage could not be prevented, he setded on alternative means through which to advance U.S. interests. M cKinley’s war message was noteworthy on sev­ eral counts. His silence on the question o f Cuban independence was striking. JjBiaiiataaowilihirhnitiffrnnn piiMinseaflypaenaïNor was this sim­ ply an oversight. The president defined the role o f the United States in the conflict as a “ neutral third party” at the precise moment that the public was demanding support o f Cuba Libre—not neutrality. Policy officials associated prominently with the defense o f U.S. strate­ gic interests, including Elihu Root, Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, understood well the strategic and political importance o f Cuba to the long-standing project o f the Isthmian canal; they also feared for the future stability o f the region with a free and independent Cuba. Elihu Root repeatedly invoked “ interests” as the driving consideration behind defining the terms o f Cuban-U.S. relations, which included the right o f U.S. intervention “ to maintain a government adequate for protect life, liberty and property” and the establishment o f a U.S. naval base on the island. Root was blunt. He understood exactly what “ the m ost obvious meaning” o f the Teller Amendment signified and bristled that Congress had “ thus so tied the hands o f the President by its resolution” that it would have forced the president to abandon “American interests by literal compliance with the obvious terms o f the resolution.” The United States, Root affirm ed categorically, must “ insist upon provisions essential to our interests and 48

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to the maintenance o f international obligations and the protecdon o f property and life in Cuba/* He conceded privately that the “ most ob­ vious meaning” o f the Join t Resolution called for the establishment o f an independent government in Cuba to be followed in the ordinary course o f events with the negotiation o f a treaty o f mutual relations. But, Root pothered, what if the Cubans could not be itself forced “ to abandon American interests by a literal compliance with the obvious terms o f the resolution or must engage in a controversy with Cubans in which they shelter themselves under the resolution o f Con­ gress against the Executive.” To withdraw in strict compliance with the terms o f the Teller Amendment, Root declared, was to place the United States “ in a worse condition in regard to our own vital interests than we were while Spain was in possession.” 51 The exercise o f power in pursuit o f interests in 1 898 found its most efficacious representation in appeals to noble instincts and the lofty principles on which Americans understood their political institutions and public transactions to be based. Yale law professor Theodore Salis­ bury Woolsey, writing only weeks after the passage o f the Join t Resolu­ tion, contemplated war in terms that would have delighted the realists. “ We shall require a foothold in China to compete in trade facilities with other powers,” Woolsey affirm ed in May 1898. “ We should insist upon the exclusive control o f a Central Am erican inter-oceanic canal___ We should need Cuba as the key to the eastern approach o f this canal. We should need coaling stations and dry docks—in other words, fortified and garrison ports—at convenient points in the Pacific and south Atlan­ tic.” 52 Senator Stephen Elkins understood the implications o f the war in ways that were fully alive to U.S. interests: When Cuba shall become a part o f the Am erican Union and the isthmian canal shall be completed, which is now assured, Porto Rico, Cuba, Hawaii and the Philippines will be outposts o f the great Re­ public, standing guard over American interests in the track o f the world’s commerce in its triumphant march around the globe. Our people will soon see and feel that these island possessions belonging to the United States are natural and logical, and in the great part we are to play in the affairs o f the world we would not only not give them up but wonder how in the working o f our national destiny we could get on without them. This splendid chain o f island possessions, reaching half-way around the world, would not be complete without Cuba, the gem o f the Antilles.53 Intervention andIntent 49

What, in fact, changed in 1 898 was not so much purpose as presenta­ tion. fo-the decision for war-seemed determined to subsum e soategia interests and security needs into formulations o f ide­ alism 'and altruisih. N o one less than Theodore Roosevelt, among the m ost outspoken defenders o f "interests,” seemed to have persuaded himself—or at least sought to persuade others—o f the beneficence o f die U.S. purpose in 1898. “ O ur own direct interests [in Cuba] were great. . . ” Roosevelt remembered years later. “ But even greater were our interests from the standpoint o f humanity. Cuba was at our very doors. It was a dreadful thing for us to sit supinely and watch her death agony. It was our duty, even more from the standpoint o f Nadonal honor than from the standpoint o f National interest, to stop the devastation and destruction.” Captain Mahan, long associated with the pursuit o f bases and the defense o f trade routes as vital to national interests, who de­ fended publicly and in print the need for an interoceanic canal with Cuba and Hawaii as territories indispensable for the security o f such a canal, insisted that “ the avowed purpose and cause o f our action” were “ to enforce the departure o f [Spain] from Cuba . . . as its deliverance from oppression was the object o f the war.” Senator Henry Cabot Lodge had a clearly defined notion o f “ interests.” In 1895 he had invoked “ the interests o f our commerce and o f our fullest development” as the basis on which to urge the development o f a canal in Nicaragua, which in turn would require “ at least one strong naval station” in the Caribbean. With the completion o f the canal, “ the island o f Cuba, still sparsely settled and o f almost unbounded fertility, will become to us a necessity.” Lodge pointed out the “ vast interests which lie just outside our borders,” which were “ not only o f material im portance” but which concerned “ our greatness as a nation and our future as a great people.” One year later he referred to “ broader political interests in the fate o f Cuba,” adding that “ she commands the G ulf, she commands the channels through which all our coastwise traffic between the G u lf and our N orthern and Eastern States passes. She lies right athwart the line which leads to the Nicaragua Canal.” N one o f these issues were subsequently mentioned in relation to the war. On the cause o f the war, Lodge was transform ed into a senti­ mentalist. He was downright m oving in writing about the “ gathering strength” o f “ popular sentiment” and about how the Cubans’ “ brave fight for liberty and against Spain presently aroused the sympathy o f the American people.” 54 The realists’ critique o f 1898, best represented in the work o f M orgenthau, O sgood, and Graebner, was itself a product o f the larger nor-

50 Intervention andIntent

madve assumptions from which the historiography was derived. Their work served to further confuse die issues o f the U.S. purpose İn 1898. The proposition o f morality as the source o f U.S. policy in 1898, the focus o f the realist critique, in fact, acted to validate its place in the historiography. Having accepted the argument that idealism was the source o f U.S. policy, realists moved the debate one step further away from its historical bases, away from a discussion in which premises were tested to a debate where assumptions were shared and only outcomes were debated. In accepting as valid war in behalf o f the long-suffering Cuban people, out o f sentiment and sympathy, and debating these for­ mulations as policy truths, the realist critique contributed to reinforcing the privileged place o f idealism as the dominant historiographical canon. • • • T he proposition o f a U.S. war in behalf o f Cuban independence, as an act o f idealism and altruism, necessarily required the construction o f cor­ roborating interpretations o f 1898. Once these formulations assumed a place o f prominence in the historical literature, historiographical ad­ vances were registered less in the form o f new research than new in­ ferences on old assumptions. The logic o f historical arguments thus constructed summoned into existence a sequence o f corollary proposi­ tions that seemed to “ fit” within the larger discursive framework. I f the United States went to war in behalf o f Cuban independence, the obvious inference to draw was because the Cubans had revealed themselves illequipped for the task o f their own liberation. These deductions were made early, and the moral was unambiguous. Trumbull White insisted in 1898 that the,Cuban Liberation Arm y was “ a distincdy inferior body” and added: “ I f the Cuban soldier had been the equal o f the American mentally and physically, if he had been as well armed, well clothed, and w ell fed, he would not have needed our aid. It was because he was distincdy inferior that we gave our assistance.” 55 “A fter they had been fighting for three years,” wrote Herbert H. Sargent in 1907, “ they held no important city, had captured no important stronghold, had won no important batde.” 56 becam e furd^er necesfräry to chatwcterixe^dïe insurgents and the insure gqnoy^as unfit .for, i f not unworthy of, success. This argument, in turn, required the presumption o f Cuban setback and failure. Consultation o f Cuban sources was rarely deemed necessary, for apparendy the infer­ ences seemed as incontrovertible as they were inescapable. John D. Hicks and G eorge F. M owry proclaimed that it was an “ exaggeration” to Intervention andIntent 51

“ speak o f the disorder in Cuba that broke out in 1895 as a revolution,” and David Saville Muzzey characterized the Cuban war for indepen­ dence as hardly more than “ ambush, assassination, and devastation.” Cubans were “ poorly organized” and “ poorly disciplined,” G eorge K ennan argued. John L. O ffner maintained that insurgent “ military efforts” were “ inadequate to win Cuban independence,” further branding the 50,000 Cubans in arms as “ a small army . . . divided into small, poorly armed units scattered across the island,” unable to “ confront the Span­ ish in a decisive battle or force them from their entrenched fortifications associated with towns and cities.” O ffner concluded: “ Cuban develop­ ments were stalled.” H arry T. Peck described the Liberation Arm y as “ prowling bands o f ill-armed peasants,” adding: “A Cuban Republic had been proclaimed; but it had no capital and had organized no govern­ ment. It had not even an army, in the proper sense o f the word.” D avid Gawronski dismissed the three-year Cuban campaign as “ hardly a fullscaled rebellion” ; rather, “ it consisted m ostly o f part-time insurgents who periodically looted and raided the villages and then hid out in the mountains.” Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer portrayed Cubans as “ little above banditti” engaged in “ bushwacking and banditry, assassination and m as­ sacre,” whose “ pradaceous spirit [and] cruelly vindictive measures were a disgrace to the profession o f arms.” The Cuban army, Joseph Smith argued, had been “ unable to capture any city or important center o f local government.” Smith concluded: “ In reality the [Cuban] ‘army* was disor­ ganized and widely dispersed throughout the island. It consisted mainly o f roving bands o f soldiers led by individual chiefs who assumed the titles o f ‘general’ and ‘colonel.’ Lacking training and more often armed with machetes than rifles, these men adopted the tactics o f guerrilla warfare in which skirmishes and ambushes were preferred to large-scale battles.” 57 The condition o f the Cuban campaign in 1898, moreover, was repre­ sented in a variety o f ways, almost all o f which were predicated on the proposition that the Cuban cause had stalled if it was not altogether hopeless—exactly the opposite o f the views that had prevailed during the early months o f 1898. The Cuban insurrection, John W. Chambers affirm ed, had “ bogged down in a bloody stalemate.” Frank Freidel pro­ vided the rationale for U.S. intervention by contending that the Cubans “ were not strong enough to win, yet not weak enough to capitulate, and the entire island suffered.” A similar argument was made by Walter K arp, who described the Cuban army as “ chiefly black ex-slaves” who were “ half-beaten . . . confined largely to the wilder eastern portion o f the

5 2 Intervention andIntent

island, and reduced to mere roving bands more frightening to the neutral population—the pacificos—than to the Spanish army.” Sidney Lens char­ acterized the Cuban campaign as something that “ sputtered along, with rebels fighting only small harassing actions,” and Charles S. Campbell observed that the “ beautiful island seemed to be foundering in a welter o f bloodshed.” Foster Rhea Dulles insisted that “ it had become apparent that neither side could prevail in the fighting in Cuba” ; Albert Shaw proclaimed that the U.S. intervention was designed “ to end a three-year struggle that had become deadlocked and increasingly disastrous.” This was also the situation as depicted by H. Wayne Morgan, who wrote o f “ insurgents [who] could not defeat the Spanish, nor could the Spanish defeat the insurgents.” The year 1898 was a decisive moment, asserted Lately Thom as, for Cubans “were reported to be in desperate straits, their forces threatened with collapse unless help came soon.” Alan Brinkley et al. actually suggested that by the end o f 1897 “ the insurrec­ tion [was] losing ground.” Richard Collin argued that “ Cubans did need help” and drew the predictable inference: “ The Americans were their only likely allies.” 58 Inevitably, one last corollary explanation was required to complete the logic o f intervention-for-independence narratives. The argument also required Cubans to be desirous o f U.S. intervention to assist them in achieving what they themselves were alleged to be incapable of. Cubans were thus represented as welcoming U.S. intervention, for in the larger explanatory schema ^ ra à ji^ftcy ÿ ÿ y y toyftprcsent the U:S. decision to* intervene as ."whpj^y ra^BStstent- with, and indeed in behalf of, Cuban interests. Norm an Graebner suggested that “ Cuban leaders knew from the beginning” that they were “ unable to mount a successful revolution” and hence that “ their success hinged on American support.” Cuban strategies throughout the war were represented less to defeat Spain than to draw U.S. intervention to rescue the flagging separatist effort. “ The insurgents,” wrote John Schutz, “ trying to involve the United States in the dispute, destroyed N orth Am ericans’ property, compromised the neutrality laws by running arms, and spread propaganda.” Robert Ferrell made a similar point directly: “ In the hope o f [U.S.] intervention the revolutionaries did their best to disrupt the island’s sugar production.” Walter K arp insisted that Cubans “ did not expect their scorched-earth tactics to drive the Spanish from Cuba or their revolt to win widespread popular support.” Rather, K arp proposed, the “ main objective. . . was to create conditions so atrocious in Cuba that the United States in due course would intervene.” O ver and over historians İn the United States Intervention andIntent 53

persisted with the proposition o f a campaign waged by Cubans not to defeat Spain direcdy but to obtain U.S. intervention^“ Rebel tactics in 1 89 5 William M iller suggested implausibly, “ included deliberate attacks on American property with the objective o f forcing the United States to. intervene to restore order that Spain was too weak to maintain.” H arry J. Carman, William G . Kim m el, and Mabel Walker made the point ex­ plicitly: “ B y destroying the sugar plantations, many o f which were owned by Americans, the rebels hoped to provoke American intervention.” Dumas Malone and Basil Rauch argued that Cubans “ destroyed sugar plantations and mills, some o f which were owned by Americans, hoping to induce intervention.” Walter LaFeber also interpreted Cuban tactics as undertaken “ in the hope o f forcing M cKinley's intervention.” In what was at one time the standard text o f U.S. diplomatic history, Thom as A . Bailey argued that the “ insurrectos put the torch to Yankee property in the hope that the United States would be forced to intervene.” H. Wayne M organ made the same observation: “ Gom ez destroyed property to keep the issue alive in the United States and to provoke American inter­ vention.” A similar argument was advanced by Daniel Boors tin and Brooks Mather Kelley, who insisted that Cubans destroyed U.S. property “ to prod the United States to intervene.” In a slightly different variation o f this theme, William Leuchtenburg could write that Cuban leaders rejected the April cease-fire because “ they were confident o f ultimate American intervention.” 59 H i l t presumption ô fC ü b â il desîfè fo r U.S.Tntërvention servecflog^ ically and perhaps inevitably to implicate Cubans in the destruction o f n e Maine for, within this r e a s o n in g ,w o u ld - have. h ad £h ç.m ostJ^| fe n fro m JJ.S . intervention This proposition was derived by way o f inference, o f course, and was always unabashedly speculative, because everyone knew that nobody knew. What could not be corroborated by evidence was thus offered as conjecture and with the desired effect: a way to suggest a point without having to assume responsibility for it. In other words, it was sufficient simply to suggest possibilities, not prove them. “The Cuban revolutionaries—perhaps—made their supreme effort to secure American intervention,” Robert Ferrell theorized in 1975. He continued: “ N o one to this day has discovered who or what in 1898 blew up the M aine. One can say only that the vessel’s destruction greatly benefitted the Cuban revolutionaries, already distinguished by the aban­ don with which they conducted their guerrilla actions against the Span­ ish.” If, in fact, the explosion was not internal, John Richard Alden conjectured, “ it is more likely that the Cuban insurgents were responsi-

54 Intervention andIntent

blc for it,” for “ presumably rebels stood to gain from American action against Spain.” Thom as Bailey similarly speculated that the “ Cuban in­ surgents may have sunk the vessel to force Am erica into the war on their side.” Harold Underwood Faulkner implicated the Cubans just by mus­ ing on the possibility: “ Was it set o ff by insurgents eager to embroil the United States?” This occurrence was also suggested by John Holladay Latané, who speculated that the destruction o f the M aine “ may have been the work o f Cuban insurgents, whose object was to bring on war.” Arthur S. Link and Stanley Coben argued that “ to this day no one knows who planted the mine, although the m ost likely culprits would seem to be either the Cuban rebels, ruthless in their pursuit o f American inter­ vention; or else one o f the groups o f Spanish nationalists in Havana.” Gerald R. Baydo arrived at a similar conclusion in similar language, acknowledging that “ no one knows who planted the mine” ; he could see only two possibilities: “ Either Cuban rebels anxious for American inter­ vention or Spanish nationalists protesting the softening o f Spanish pol­ icy.” Wayne Cole suggested that Cubans had motives to destroy the M aine but “ probably would have lacked the technical requirements for the task.” 60 What is particularly remarkable about these propositions, advanced as formulations on which larger arguments are derived and developed, is that they pretend to represent the Cuban purpose without even the pre­ tension o f examining Cuban sources. In fact, Cuban tactics were not designed to draw U.S. intervention. Cubans_contiucted military operâ^ tions against property U S :'âlîd noh-US. alike, as a means to deny Spain the resources to wage war on the island and to force a realignment o f socialforces in such a m anner» toreducerSpanish support inside Cuba. In­ deed, the burning o f cane fields as a method o f colonial resistance was as old as sugar production itself. The premise that Cubans sought to force a N orth American intervention, so central in U.S. historiography, was wholly contrived—and subsequently repeated and repeated—because it was an element necessary to corroborate the equally unfounded sugges­ tio n that Cubans desired U S. interventw#i. The genealogy o f these prop­ ositions, so central in U.S. historiography, can be traced to assumptions derived from historiographical formulations o f U.S. policy, from which the Cuban purpose was in turn inferred. It was a short and perhaps inevitable step, finally, to portray Cubans as culpable in 1898. Cubans were thus held responsible for apparently forcing the United States into war with Spain by their insistent and presumably unreasonable demand for independence. H. Wayne Morgan Intervention andIntent 55

contemplated the “ blame” and reflected on the conditions that might have “ saved the peace” —die U.S. peace, supposedly—and concluded that war might have been averted “i f the Cubans had not been so irk­ some and had no influence in Congress and the press.” Samuel Flagg Bemis affirm ed outright that Cubans were “ more to blame than the Spaniards for the character o f hostilities” and that Cubans were “ more inhuman in their warfare than the Spaniards” ; N elson Manfred Blake and O scar Theodore Barck Jr. maintained that “ rebel terrorism pro­ voked the Spaniards.” Lester D. Langley implied a critique o f the Cubans in noting that the failure o f the autonomist government “ was the fault o f the insurrectionists” due to their “ absolute rigidity.” John O ffner ren­ dered a particularly severe judgment o f the Cubans. “ Whereas the Span­ ish made some attempts to end the colonial war and to prevent an Am erican conflict,” he argued, “ the Cubans were inflexible.” In Offner’s view, the Cubans were to blame for the “ Spanish-American War.” They were “ unyielding.” Mâximo Gôm ez—“ not known for compromise” — was guilty o f “ stubbornness [and] kept the revolutionary forces in the field despite a staggering cost in lives and property.” The Cuban commit­ ment to independence was thus at the heart o f Offner’s causal explana­ tion. “The result was inflexibility as the Cubans adhered to one position that all could agree on: independence from Spain at all cost.” O ffner was eloquent in wondering “ what might have occurred if the Cubans had attempted to cooperate” and speculated: “They might have respected American property and obeyed the neutrality laws; when they obtained the de Lom e letter, they might have taken it to the State Departm ent rather than spread it across the front page o f the Journal. M ore im por­ tant, they could have helped the M cKinley administration to establish an armistice in Cuba in order to prevent a Spanish-American war.” 61 A ll o f this was undoubtedly true. But it was also undoubtedly true that Cubans would likely have remained under Spanish rule—and that is precisely what they had set out to change.

56 Intervention andIntent

Meaniag pF the Maine

She had been destroyed, by deliberate and fiendish treachery, and her destroyers must be brought to account. That was the verdict rendered by a public opinion so strong, so unanimous, so earnest, that no official authority, however anxious to avoid a conflict so long as an honourable way of escaping it was to be found, could restrain the voice of national indignation. —Richard H. Titherington, A History of the Spanish-American Warof 1898 (1900) To arbitrate the liability for the loss of the Maine—that would have been the ideal, the logical course. But there are moments in the life of nations, as well as of individuals, when logic does not point the road. The youth of to-day, like his savage ancestor centuries ago, chooses his mate when the supreme passion flames up in his breast, and considerations of fortune and position are forgotten. The man vindi­ cates his rights when his blood is up, and pays a flve-hundred-dollar fee to recover a five-doltar claim. The nation, stirred beyond endurance, throwing logic and econ­ omy to the winds, interprets its duty to suit its passion, and rushes into war. —Theodore Salisbury Woolsey, America’s Foreign Policy (1898) It looks as though we were to have war.. . . If the Spaniards back down now, it would be the source of the very bitterest disappointment. They will have to kneel and crawl in a manner that historyhas never before seen. Why did they blow up our Maine? No matter what pretext any or all of the members of Congress can give for war, we must

have it. The cause of the war lies in a set of American colors blown up in an explosion, and with the colors the men who served to protect them; blown up at night while asleep—evidence in itself sufficient to show that a contemptible Span­ iard did it. The blood almost fills my head when I think of this; it makes me almost wild with anger. —Ensign Worth Bagley to Mother (April 3,1898) Remember the Maine'. . To hell with Spain! —Popular refrain (1898)


O n the evening o f February 15 , 1898, the battleship M aine ex­ ploded in Havana harbor. The explosion occurred in the forward part o f the vessel, near the port side, almost direcdy under the enlisted men’s quarters. The loss o f life was staggering: out o f a total complement o f 354 officers and men, 266 perished in the explosion. The destruction o f the M aine had immediate repercussions and lasting implications. Relations between the United States and Spain, already strained by mutual suspicions and mounting tensions, deteriorated rap­ idly thereafter. American impatience with Spain’s conduct o f the w ar in Cuba was increasing. So was popular support for Cuba Libre. For alm ost three years public officials and public opinion acted upon one another in such a fashion as to make die insurrection in Cuba an unsettling intru­ sion in domesdc politics. These conditions were exacerbated by the excesses o f “ yellow journalism,” in which sensational news stories about the Cuban war had become the stock-in-trade o f the circulation rivalry between William Randolph Hearst’s N ew YorkJournal and Joseph Pulit­ zer’s N ew York World. Anti-Spanish sentiment was on the rise. Only one week before the destruction o f the M aine, ill will toward Spain had flared over the publication o f the de Lom e letter. But the impact o f the M aine was not only a matter o f timing. T he explosion was also a question o f circumstances. That a U.S. warship exploded in Havana harbor, waters nominally under Spanish jurisdic­ tion, invited immediate and obvious conclusions. “The M aine was sunk by an act o f dirty treachery on the part o f the Spaniards,” Theodore Roosevelt concluded the day after the tragedy—a suspicion that gained currency in many quarters.1 Events moved quickly after February 1 j . On the following day Presi­ dent M cKinley convened a naval court o f inquiry to investigate the cause o f the explosion. Two weeks later Congress appropriated $50 million for war preparations. On March 25 the naval court completed its investiga­ tion and three days later released its findings. Two explosions were re­ sponsible for the destruction o f the M aine, the naval inquiry concluded. A n initial external explosion—one that “ could have been produced only by the explosion o f a mine situated under the bottom o f the ship” — detonated a second internal blast in “ two or more o f the forward maga­ zines.” 2 The court o f inquiry declined to fix responsibility for the disas­ ter, but the determination that the first explosion originated externally, attributed explicitly to a submarine mine, could mean only one o f two things: the explosion was either the result o f criminal negligence or the work o f malicious intent. In either case, the implication was clear: Spain was responsible.3

58 Meaning ofthe Maine

The destruction o f the M aine developed almost immediately into one o f the dominant narrative vehicles for the explanation o f 1 898. The myste­ rious coincidence and unforeseen consequences, matters o f chance and circumstance, combined intriguingly to provide more than ample mate­ rial unth which to contemplate the imponderables o f 1898: a presumed random casus belli o f unverifiable if not unknown origins, apparently a case o f bad timing at a bad place, and o f such far-reaching consequences. These have been some o f the subplots that have made the M aine the object o f such enduring appeal: a wholly fortuitous event to which is attributed the cause o f a war that altered the course o f U.S. history. There is some charm to this narrative structure. In the hands o f a skilled storyteller the destruction o f the M aine İs rendered rich with layers o f far-reaching meaning, moral and metaphysical, epistemological and existential, from which to ponder weighty consequences, continuously revealing themselves, always transcending temporal bounds and spatial boundaries. The story appeals to the delights o f private meditations on irony and invites contemplation on what otherwise might have been only i f .. . . Causal relationships are drawn by supposition, deduced by in­ ference, and advanced by implication. Why did the M aine explode at that moment, at that place, G . J. A . O ’Toole asked rhetorically: “ The answer to such questions lies beyond the realm o f chemistry, physics, or naval architecture. Each must find it within his own personal understanding o f the universe. However, there seem to be but three answers to choose among: G od, chance, or the impatient hand o f destiny.” For Peggy and Harold Samuels, the destruction o f the M aine “ contributed to the out­ break o f the Spanish War and thus to the rise o f Am erican imperialism.” But that was only the beginning. The Samuels’s added: “ The history o f the turn o f the last century, and o f much that has taken place since then, was affected by what happened after the battleship exploded.” 4 The explanatory function o f the M aine, moreover, is often set within a larger conceptual framework in which the deeper meanings o f the war serve as the larger, if not always stated, object o f historical narratives. To a remarkable degree, the historiography o f 1898, and specifically the explanation o f the war, have been a function o f and fashioned by param­ eters suggested by the causal role attributed to the M aine. Indeed, the use o f the M aine as an explanation has sustained larger assumptions about the war. That the M aine has enjoyed enduring historiographical preemi­ nence underscores the conceptual appeal o f treating the war as a func­ tion o f chance, not choice. War with Spain is represented as the result o f Meaning oftheMaine


an “ incident” and aberration, a chance event—a random occurrence that just as easily might not have happened. The consensus developed immediately out o f the events o f 1 898, with policymakers and political leaders among the first to proclaim the causal role o f the M aine. Theodore Roosevelt was categorical: “ When the M aine was blown up in Havana Harbor, war became inevitable.” Senator Shelby M. Cullom agreed. “ I have no doubt at all,” he wrote a decade later, “ that war would have been averted had not the M aine been de­ stroyed in Havana harbor.” Champ Clark characterized the M aine as “ the straw that broke the camel’s back,” and Secretary o f War Russell A . A lger believed that the incident “ swept away forever” all likelihood o f a peace­ ful setdement. Arm y commander General N elson A . Miles later af­ firmed fiady that the M aine “ precipitated the war with Spain.” 5 Early historical accounts o f 1898 similarly emphasized the causal role o f the M aine. “The sinking o f the M aine meant war between the United States and Spain,” Richard R. Titherington wrote in 1900. “ But for the destruction o f the M aine,” John R. Musick observed in the same year, “ war might have been averted.” Horace Edgar Flack argued that “ it was largely due to the M aine that intervention took place” and that, “ in all probability, there would have been no war, had our battleship not been destroyed.” For Theodore E . Burton, “ peace might have been obtained had it not been for the blowing-up o f th e . . . M eaner “A fter the M aine” Trumbull White insisted, “ the logic o f events was irresistibly drawing the country toward war with Spain.” 6 Subsequent historical narratives o f the war have departed only slightly from interpretations first formulated at the turn o f the century. The M aine has persisted as a factor o f singular importance and the principal cause o f war, proclaimed by three generations o f historians in terms as categorical as those employed in 1898. William A . Robinson insisted that “ the explosion shattered the hope o f preserving peace as completely as it had shattered the vessel itself.” “ H opes for peace sank with the M aine” proclaimed D avid Burner, Robert D. Marcus, and Em ily S. Rosenberg. “ O n the night o f February 1 j, 1898,” William Leuchtenburg asserted, “ came the terrible blow which ended all real hope for peace.” “ The M aine incident,” wrote A . E . Campbell in terms strikingly reminiscent o f The­ odore Roosevelt’s phrasing, “ made war all but inevitable.” Robert Welch similarly argued that the tragedy “ not only heightened the war hysteria in certain sections o f the American press and public but persuaded M cK in­ ley that events had overtaken the possibility o f putting an end to the struggle in Cuba by means o f Spanish reform s and limited autonomy.”

60 Meaning oftheMaine

Eim er Plischke speculated that “had President M cKinley not sent the batdeship M aine into Havana harbor. . . the war with Spain might not have broken o u t” “ I f any one event was responsible for the SpanishAm erican War,” Charles Campbell posited, “ it was not the mere destruc­ tion o f the M aine but her destruction by an outside explosion as attested by a responsible board o f inquiry.” For Turnbull White, theAfö/wwas the “ culminating influence for American intervention.” “A n affair o f tre­ mendous importance,” wrote Herman Reichard Esteves, “ the disaster was unquestionably first among the immediate causes o f the SpanishAm erican War.” Allan N evins and Henry Steele Commager declared that the explosion “ rendered war almost unavoidable,” and for Thom as Bailey the destruction o f the M aine “was unquestionably the m ost impor­ tant single precipitant o f the war with Spain.” 7 T he particular usefulness o f the M aine as an explanatory device has been the ease with which it has lent itself to corollary causal categories. Explanations first formulated at the turn o f the century have displayed remarkable endurance and indeed have persisted as central elements o f the m ajor historiographical narratives o f 1 898. The functions attributed to the M aine have over time undergone periodic reinterpretation and revision, to be sure. However, the primary explanations o f 1898 have derived much o f their internal coherence and larger logic from possibili­ ties suggested, and m ost o f all rendered plausible, by the M aine. The war is made to make sense and is situated in a larger sequence o f events that implies an underlying design, even i f the design is inform ed by the notion o f randomness. The M aine has thus enabled contradictory and otherwise conflicting possibilities to be linked together into a seemingly coherent and creditable explanatory framework. The M aine has dis­ charged various historiographical functions, central to which has been the proposition o f chance as a principal explanation o f 1 89s.8 The actual weight assigned to the M aine as the cause o f the war, no less than the means by which it was perceived to have precipitated the war, has remained the subject o f divergent and often conflicting interpreta­ tions. To the M aine has been variously attributed, and often at the same time, the predominant and immediate cause o f the war, the necessary as well as the sufficient cause; the M aine has been represented as having made war at once possible and inevitable. Opinion also differs on whether it was one o f many causes or chief among all, whether it pre­ cluded an obtainable peace or merely accelerated an inevitable war. For die m ost part, however, differences have been less o f kind than o f degree and emphasis, generally in the form o f variations on a common MeaningoftheMaine


theme. Taken together, they represent a larger consensus about the origins o f the war, from which have been derived the principal explana­ tions o f 1 898. The argument assumed fully the properties o f an article o f faith and early developed into one o f the enduring historiographical truths o f 1898. Whether or not Spain was actually responsible for the destruction o f the M aine was, in fact, o f marginal significance. In fact, the justification o f war was not related direcdy to a determination o f Spanish gu ilt That the explosion occurred at all raised issues at least as important as ques­ tions o f Spanish complicity and offered no less compelling grounds to undertake war as an appropriate response. The need to establish Spanish guilt was unnecessary, even i f possible—and particularly because it was n o t N o matter what or who may have caused the explosion, Spain was responsible simply for tolerating conditions that resulted in the loss o f U.S. lives and property, thereby justifying the expulsion by arms o f an unsettling Spanish presence so near the United States. The historiography is rich with consequences attributed to the de­ struction o f the M aine. Thus, under one set o f circumstances, die M aine exposed the weakness o f Spanish authority İn Cuba, a condition that could only prolong regional instability and endanger U.S. interests. The “ condition o f affairs in Cuba was a constant menace to our peace,” declared M arrion W ilcox. He continued: ‘T h e destruction o f the M aine, by whatever exterior cause, was a patent and impressive p ro o f o f a state o f things in Cuba that was intolerable. That condition was thus shown to be such that the Spanish Governm ent could not assure safety and se­ curity to a vessel o f the Am erican navy in the harbour o f Havana on a mission o f peace and rightfully there.” In similar fashion, Jam es M orton Callahan argued that the “ feeling in the United States was strong that it was time to remove medievalism from our front doors, so that our ships could safely enter Havana.” Expelling Spain from Cuba, hence, “ ap­ peared to be a necessary act o f duty for die health o f civilization.” Callahan concluded: “ I f Cuba had been in other hands the M aine might have been safe, and the blood o f American citizens might not have caused the foul waters o f Havana to blush with shame.” The argument o f Willis Fletcher Johnson was much the same: the destruction o f the M aine was “ p ro o f o f the worthlessness o f the Spanish administration and was an additional reason for turning it out, bag and baggage.” Robert L. Jones pointed out that the “American government took the position that Spain failed to exercise proper police supervision in the harbor and was therefore culpable,” and N elson Blake and O scar Barck carried the argu62

Meaning oftheMaine

ment one step further: “ Even were Spanish complicity never proved, many Americans argued that the explosion had demonstrated Spain’s inability to protect foreign lives and property in Cuba. D id the United States not therefore have an obligation to intervene on behalf o f the civilized world?” According to Charles Campbell, the explosion o f the M aine demonstrated the collapse o f Spanish sovereignty; he thereby suggested that the approaching extinction o f colonial authority precipi­ tated the war. It was not that Spain had direct responsibility for the destruction o f the ship, but rather that its “ crumbling authority in Cuba had made it possible.” Campbell added: “ N o nation had the right to claim sovereignty in an area where its control had disappeared, where disorder had become chronic, where it had no chance o f regaining con­ trol.” 9 M ore than providing moral justification to declare war, the destruc­ tion o f the M aine has been represented as having forged the political consensus required to wage war. “ The loss o f the M aine” suggested Trumbull White in 1898, “ had focused American attention upon the Cuban situation as it had never been before, and . . . people began to realize as they had not before, the horrors that were being enacted at their thresholds.” Thom as Bailey made a similar point: ‘‘Nothing could have brought home to the American republic more forcibly the disor­ dered conditions in Cuba and the proposed solution that the island be freed.” D avid Trask agreed. ‘T rio r to this,” he wrote, “ the Cuban ques­ tion had been but one o f a number o f public issues o f interest to the Am erican people; but after the M aine went down the fate o f Cuba domi­ nated the public consciousness.” 10 A fter the M aine, hence, political opposition to war could hardly be sustained. Differences between Republicans and Democrats, expansion­ ists and anti-imperialists, northerners and southerners, administration foes and friends were set aside in the face o f the national crisis, ^he result was the popular support and public consensus necessary to make war ^ jjolitically acceptable instrument o f foreign p olicy J. Rogers Hollings­ worth described a “ nation united,” and with “ the country ablaze with patriotic emotion, pacifists and doubters were silenced; partisanship and sectional hostility were temporarily laid aside.” Sectional divisions were replaced by national unity, Paul H. Buck suggested, as the “ South at once responded to the national excitement which followed the sinking o f the M aine” ; he added: “ For a time all people within the country felt the electrifying thrill o f a common purpose. When it subsided a sense o f nationality had been rediscovered, based upon consciousness o f national Meaning oftheMaine


strength and unity." John Weems agreed, insisting that the sinking o f the M aine “ did beyond a doubt unify Am ericans for the w ar." Weems also suggested that the incident “ served to unify the N orth and the South, whose Civil War differences were still apparent” N o less important, he suggested, the M aine had the net effect o f neutralizing opposition to war. A fter March 28, “ the voice o f the pacifist was generally stilled.” Elbert Benton made a similar point, insisting that an “ ultimate pacific settle­ ment had becom e improbable when die Am erican world was startled by the blowing up o f the M aine” and added: “ It only required such an event as that in Havana harbor and the recriminations which grew out o f it to fix the wavering convictions o f both parties and render diplomacy im po­ tent.” Jack Cameron Dierks maintained that “ die country was united as it hadn’t been for decades,” observing: 'T h e common enemy provided an excuse to heal the old bitternesses between Yankee and Confederate that thirty-three years o f peace since 1865 had been unable to do.” 11 • • • The persistence o f the M aine as a dominant explanatory element under­ scores some o f the more enduring characteristics o f the historical litera­ ture. Historiographical advances have been conspicuously few ; indeed, the principal conceptual formulations o f 1898 have remained largely unchanged. Narratives have relied primarily on contradictory and in­ conclusive evidence. Causal arguments based on the M aine have always been far easier to propound than to prove. The importance o f the M aine has been presumed self-evident and self-explanatory, derived m ore from a reworking o f the historical literature than from a reexamination o f historical evidence. I f there has been general agreement about the causal role o f the M aine, there has been no comparable consensus about specifically how the M aine acted to cause the war. Central to the explanatory functions o f the M aine have been derivative arguments about the role o f public opin­ ion. In fact, public opinion has served as the historiographical device o f choice and has played an important part in making explanatory form ula­ tions “ work.” The relationship o f public opinion to the com ing o f the war has undergone repeated presentations and representations in the course o f one hundred years o f historical writing. So, too, have the ways public opinion has been measured. W hatever else may separate the vari­ eties o f usages o f the notion o f “ public opinion,” however, the historical literature has been all but unanimous in the conclusion that popular sentiment figured prominently in propelling the United States to war.12 The historiography has long pointed to the destruction o f die M aine

64 Meaning oftheMaine

as a source o f public wrath, whereupon a climate o f opinion developed in which war became an acceptable if not inevitable course o f action. T his proposition has appeared in a variety o f narrative formulations but over time has remained substantially constant. The historiographical consensus has indeed been striking. “T he disaster to the M aine was but a match touched to the powder o f public sentiment,” stated Charles M or­ ris a year after the war ended; “ an unparalleled wave o f horror and indignation swept over the United States,” Russell H. Fitzgibbon agreed. Thom as Bailey similarly insisted that “ the explosion o f the M aine was matched by an explosion o f public opinion.” G eorge Kennan wrote that “ the Am erican public was profoundly shocked and outraged to hear that the battleship M aine had been sunk,” and Daniel Smith noted that “ the sinking o f the M aine aroused the public to a fighting temper.” 13 The electorate was thus depicted as having entered directly into the decision-making process, transform ing an issue o f foreign policy into a concern o f domestic politics. The public did not merely resign itself to the possibility o f hostilities; on the contrary, it demanded the prosecu­ tion o f war. Im plicit in this argument was the proposition that once public opinion began to influence the course o f events, the drift to war became irreversible. The “ effect o f the M aine disaster on the American public opinion,” D avid F. Healy contended, “ seemed to make war inevi­ table.” The incident “ so affected Am erican opinion,” G eorge Kennan argued, “ that war became inevitable with the sinking o f the M aine. From that time on no peaceful solution was really given serious consideration in the Am erican government.” Alluding to “ public pressure,” Dorothy Bum e G oebel concluded that “ popular opinion determined foreign pol­ icy.” D exter Perkins stated the argument succinctly: “ N ever was there a clearer case o f a war brought about by public opinion.” 14 The role attributed to public opinion, from which a number o f corol­ lary generalizations have been derived, serves several functions—some conceptual, some theoretical, some methodological. Public opinion pro­ vides a plausible causal factor without the necessity o f explanation or evidence. Accordingly, the onset o f the war in 1898 was portrayed as a function o f an aroused public opinion that, as commonly acknowledged, did not need to be rational and therefore required no explanation. The inference was inescapable: the United States was propelled to war by an agitated citizenry, overcom e by stirred passions and at the brink o f mass hysteria. Represented as a powerful undercurrent, public opinion was thus depicted as an unseen, relentless force that, once aroused, assumed an inexorable logic o f its own, one that could be calmed by nothing less Meaning oftheMaine


than war. Responsibility for war was attributed to die aroused masses, who, it was suggested, had taken collective leave o f their senses. The literature is rich with such characterizations: "an ungovernable burst o f popular emotion” ; "w ar hysteria swept the country” ; "public opinion outran. . . sober judgment” ; the "lid was now o ff” as a result o f "the unthinking Am erican masses” ; "the nation had gone mad” ; the "pressure generated by the ensuing emotional outburst swept away all reason and hesitation” ; "hysteria seized upon a large part o f the Am eri­ can people” ; "in response to the clamorous war spirit aroused by the sinking o f M aine in the harbor o f Havana, the United States was about to go to war with Spain” ; “ a hurricane o f emotion swept the country” ; “ across the country, thousands gave themselves up to emotional ex­ cesses like those o f tent-meeting revivals” ; "the people, acting out o f powerful irrational impulses, dictated the decision o f April 1 898.” 15 War thus found one o f its m ost enduring representations as a result o f spontaneous emotional reaction to a random incident—armed retribu­ tion brought on by the caprice o f public opinion anxious to avenge the M aine. Indeed, public clam or for revenge was represented as the force that propelled the country inexorably into war. "It cannot be denied,” Alexander K . M cClure and Charles M orris argued in 19 0 1, "that this unparalleled outrage intensified the war fever in the United States, and thousands were eager for the opportunity to punish Spanish cruelty and treachery.” The destruction o f the M aine, M orris wrote elsewhere, “ gave rise to a natural feeling o f resentment in the minds o f the Am erican people, which quickly deepened to a thirst for revenge.” The explosion, suggested O scar D oane Lam bert, "created a storm for retribution.” Charles E . Chapman agreed, writing: “ People nearly went out o f their heads in a wave o f patriotic feeling that was mingled with a call for vengeance against Spain.” John Grenville and G eorge Young indicated that “ patriotic fervor now demanded vengeance for the M aine” “ The Am erican people were calling for blood,” wrote Jam es A . Henretta et al. E . Berkeley Tompkins similarly suggested that the public "clam ored for revenge,” and Joh n D obson asserted that the public "considered aveng­ ing the Am erican deaths a matter o f national honor.” 16 • • • The linkage between the M aine and public opinion, on one hand, and war, on the other, is not, however, without historiographical anomalies. The contradictions have not been simply a matter o f conflicting inter­ pretations, although at times differences in interpretation have been sufficiently great to raise larger questions about attention to accuracy

66 Meaning oftheMaine

and use o f evidence. There are, in fact, at least two substantially different and irreconcilable accounts o f die timing and character o f public reac­ tion, both o f which appear to share a congenial and untroubled coexis­ tence in the historiography. In one version, public opinion is depicted as having been aroused immediately after and in direct response to the explosion, that is, immediately after February 15 . This form ulation is best represented by Foster Rhea Dulles: “ When it mysteriously blew up . . . an already worked-up public went wild. There were occasional cautionary voices urging that judgment should be withheld until an offi­ cial investigation could determine the cause o f the M aine’s destruction, but they were scarcely heard in the noisy clamor demanding immediate retaliation against Spain as without question being responsible for the disaster.” 17 Other accounts agree. “A n already war-conscious Am erican public opinion was still further aroused when, on February 15 ,18 9 8 , the M aine blew u p .. . , ” H ollis W. Barber wrote, adding: “ When word o f this blast reached die United States it seemed that war might be only minutes away.” Samuel W. M cCall made a similar point, noting that “ the country was at once stirred from one end to the oth er.. . . The popular impulse was to rush into war.” William Roscoe Thayer wrote that the following m orning a “ tidal wave o f anger surged over this country.” In his account o f these days, D onald Barr Chidsey declared that “ papers back and forth across the land—not only the yellow press—were screaming for war.” A “ wave o f belligerent enthusiasm . . . swept at once throughout the coun­ try,” Walter Millis noted. According to Charles M orris, “ indignation was extreme on learning o f the terrible event” 18 A second version, however, describes a public reaction substantially different in chronology and character. In this account the citizenry is represented as having remained calm during the days and weeks follow­ ing February 15 , and not until March 28, when the naval court o f inquiry implicated Spain in the explosion, did public wrath erupt. Henry Watterson wrote in 1898 that citizens “ awaited patiently the report o f their com m ission. N o more than the President did they wish to perpetuate any injustice against Spain.” “ There was no violent demand for ven­ geance,” H arry Peck maintained. “T he gravity o f the situation gave steadiness and poise to public opinion. The nation displayed a universal willingness to suspend judgment until a full and vigorous inquiry should be made. The tone o f the press through the country was admirable.” Roscoe Lew is Ashley insisted that “ for five weeks, with rare self-control, the nation waited.” Thom as Bailey wrote that it was “ to the credit o f the Meaning cftheMaine


American people that on the whole they were inclined to suspend judg­ ment. . . . This fact is all the more remarkable when one considers the surcharged atmosphere.” But, Bailey added, “ following the official re­ port on the M aine, the masses were on fire for war.” “ When the court o f inquiry reported that the explosion was caused by a mine,” wrote John Holladay Latané, “ the Am erican people, who had displayed great selfcontrol, threw aside all restraint and the country witnessed an outburst o f patriotic fervor such as had not been seen since 18 6 1.” 19 O ther ac­ counts concur: “ public judgment was restrained” ; “ m ost o f the public withheld judgment pending the findings o f the official inquiry,” after which “ the cry for war rose over the land” ; “Am erican public opinion was restrained and dignified” ; “ there was no instantaneous and unan­ imous outcry for war” ; “ the Am erican public had suspended judgment until the investigation was over.” 20 Discrepancies o f this type suggest ambiguities o f other kinds. The linkage o f public opinion to the com ing o f the war, a causal form ulation long associated with explanations o f 1898, stands as one o f the more problematical constructs o f the historical literature and, indeed, sets in sharp relief the degree to which interpretations o f 1898 have often tended to operate independently o f the requirements for evidence. Pub­ lic opinion arguments derive plausibility more from normatively derived democratic theory than from a body o f assembled evidence. A vast literature has form ed around arguments for which adequate verification is either incomplete or unavailable, or both. Explanations have relied freely i f implicidy on the theoretical functions o f public opinion in a political democracy: the electorate, from which emanates political legit­ imacy and to which elected officials are presumed responsible, is repre­ sented as dictating the pace o f events and the course o f policy. War as a product o f public opinion has long relied on the proposition o f functional democratic structures, mandated by political consider­ ations and sanctioned by constitutional injunction. Attributed as it is to the will o f the people, war stands as a metaphor for the triumph o f popular democracy. Historiography as national narrative itself serves at one and the same time to form and inform notions o f nation, to foster a sense o f past and place congruent with the normative structures around which the nation defines itself. Accordingly, elected officials are obliged to acquiesce to public pressure, perhaps against their better judgment if not against their will. Popular demand for war thus legitimizes war as an imperative o f democratic processes. The argument suggests an element o f choicelessness on the part o f elected officials, who presumably have

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no alternative and for whom war becomes the means by which to dis­ charge their constitutional responsibilities to the electorate. A n unwill­ ing Congress and a reluctant president appear thrown on die defensive, resorting to war to meet the demands o f an aroused citi2enry. These propositions were first advanced by elected officials them­ selves, many o f whom subsequently justified the war resolution as the expression o f popular democracy. “ It was this public sentiment,” wrote Senator H enry Cabot Lodge in 1899, “ that drove Congress forward to meet the popular will, which members and Senators very well knew could be fulfilled by war and in no other way.” “ Thousands o f peti­ tions came to Congress demanding war,” recalled L . White Busby, pri­ vate secretary o f Representative Jo e Canon. Busby concluded that “ the Governm ent was being forced into war.” Senator Joseph Foraker later explained that “ public sentiment was so aroused that it was im possi­ ble longer to delay positive action to put an end to the trouble,” and Champ Clark recalled that “ the Am erican people cried out with one accord for vengeance and forced the gentle and kind-hearted President’s hand.” Senator Shelby Cullom was no less unequivocal about the conse­ quences o f the M aine: “ The country forced us into it after that appalling catastrophe.” 21 These propositions entered the historiography early and, with only slight interpretative variations, have subsequently flourished as the prin­ cipal thematic staples o f the 1898 scholarship. “A ll well-meaning sophist­ ries were brushed aside by the rude hand o f a popular demand for reprisal,” wrote Henry Watterson in 1898, “ and Congress was admon­ ished that it disobeyed the summons at its peril.” The “ verdict rendered by a public opinion [was] so strong, so unanimous, so earnest,” agreed Richard R. Titherington, “ that no official authority, however anxious to avoid a conflict so long as an honorable way o f escaping it was to be found, could restrain the voice o f national indignation.” The “ temper o f the people” was so “ distinctly belligerent,” declared H arry Peck, that it was “ obvious to those in power that war could not be long averted.” “A fter the M aine episode,” T. H arry Williams, Richard Current, and Frank F rd d d asserted, “ there was little chance the government could keep the people from war.” A s M ary Mander put it, “ when the M aine blew up . . . a tidal wave o f public dam oring for intervention washed over all sentiments to the contrary.” 22 The role attributed to public opinion makes for an appealing causal construct on several counts. It provides a plausible explanation for a war that many scholars have judged harshly or otherwise represented as Meaning oftheMaine


having lacked both dear reason and com pelling purpose. A war depicted often as sensdess and irrational—described variously in the historiogra­ phy as “ unfortunate,” “ unnecessary,” “ unnecessary and perhaps even avoidable,” “ foolish and unnecessary,” “ totally unnecessary,” and “ need­ less” —is thus rendered comprehensible.23 G eorge Kennan made the point expliddy, insisting that the United States “ resorted to w ar for subjective and emotional reasons” and at another point describing the war “ as an example o f superfidality İn concept as well as the pow er o f chauvinistic rhetoric and war hysteria.” Robert E . Riegel and D avid E Long characterized the conflict as the “ strangest war in Am erican his­ tory,” one o f “ sheer military aggression against a hopelessly outclassed and conciliatory adversary.” 24 In this way, the explanation o f acts that fail to conform to preconceived and generally im plidt norm s o f political rationality can be attributed to the recklessness o f the public. It was not the leaders who failed, or their polides that fell short, but the body politic that was derelict. Attributing the war to the demands o f aroused public opinion sug­ gests a subtext o f another kind. The proposition o f war by design, delib­ erate and intentional, is thus by implication rendered inadmissible. Polit­ ical leaders are presumed innocent o f willing war and thereby absolved o f responsibility for it. They are overtaken by events, or they are weak or incompetent. But they are not represented as willing war in die defense o f national interests. The proposition o f war as unwarranted and even unnecessary thus proceeds to arrange explanatory categories around alternative causal modalities. The M aine fits perfectly into this order o f things, for it makes possible—and plausible—war as a function o f chance and happenstance, as an im provised response to an unforeseen circumstance. But it is public opinion that connects the random event to the needless outcome. That the war is proclaimed irrational while political leaders are presumed rational further places the causes o f the war more in the realm o f chance than o f choice. The subtext o f public opinion as a prime m over in this instance invites a moral o f another kind: a statement on how mass politics often acts to undercut enlightened policy choices. War “ did not take place because o f the failure o f Am erican diplomacy,” wrote Joh n Hicks, G eorge M owry, and Robert Burke. “ War came in spite o f the complete success o f Am eri­ can diplomacy, and primarily because the Am erican people wanted to have a war.” Thom as Bailey agreed, insisting that the people “ were deter­ mined to have their w a r . . . , and they got it.” 25 William Leuchtenburg

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briefly considered William Randolph Hearst as the culprit but then fo­ cused on “ the people,” noting that “ no newspaper can arouse a people that is not willing to be aroused” ; he concluded: “A t the root lay the Am erican gullibility about foreign affairs___ The Am erican people were not led into war; they got die war they wanted.” Randolph Greenfield Adam s wrote about the “ fascinatingly interesting evidence o f the popu­ lar control o f foreign policy,” affirm ing that “ the populace clamored for war” and the “ will o f the masses overbore the judgment o f the President and had its way.” This was indeed a momentous occasion, Adams pro­ claimed: “ From the depths o f lethargy about their foreign policy and from an appalling abyss o f ignorance on the subject, the Am erican peo­ ple suddenly determined to control their own destinies in international relations.” N orm an Graebner characterized the conflict as “ a people’s war,” and Jam es Bradford described the U.S. resort to military action as “ a people’s war pressed on a reluctant administration.” “ The masses warmed to the prospect o f new adventure,” was the way Harold Under­ wood Faulkner portrayed the momentum behind the war.26 These circumstances suggested, too, a hint o f the irrational, for a war proclaimed as unnecessary could hardly be explained except as irrational in some manner. “ The United States went to war,” Carl D egler con­ cluded, “ because the body o f its citizens, overwrought, highly moralistic, and heedless o f the consequences, insisted upon it.” Thom as Bailey wrote o f “ the war-mad masses” forcing “ the nation into an unnecessary clash with Spain, in spite o f M cKinley, Mark Hanna, and Big Business.” D avid Trask argued that “ the people, acting out powerful irrational impulses, dictated the decision o f A pril, 1898.” G eorge Brown Tindall had a similar view: “The ultimate blame for war, i f blame must be levied, belongs to the Am erican people for letting themselves be whipped into such a hostile frenzy.” 27 The role attributed to public opinion as an explanation o f 1898 is itself derivative o f generally implicit and culturally determined notions about the nature o f political democracy. The proposition works without need o f verification precisely because it draws inferentially from shared assumptions about democratic theory and im plicidy corroborates domi­ nant views about the practice o f democracy in the United States. It is as self-evident as it is self-validating. Public opinion influences public offi­ cials because it is supposed to. There are thus no evidentiary require­ ments in this formulation. The normatively presumed influence o f pub­ lic opinion in public affairs substantiates itself, corroborated primarily by the b elief system that produced it and is, in turn, validated by it. Meaningofthe Maine


The form ulation o f public opinion as the source o f the war was stated explicitly by Thom as A . Bailey and D avid M. Kennedy: M cKinley “ be­ lieved in the democratic principle that the people should rule, and he hesitated to deny die Am erican masses what they demanded—even i f it was not good for them.” Carl Russell Fish condemned the haste with which the United States went to war; “ responsibility rested immediately upon the Am erican people themselves, all too eager for a war which they were not prepared and for a speedy victory at all costs.” Carl D egler drew a larger moral. “ The w a r . . . ” he argued, “ revealed that a democracy's foreign policy was peculiarly and especially vulnerable to the threat o f an irresponsible citizenry.” W olfgang Drechsler provided one o f the clear­ est expressions o f this formulation. “ It is probably safe to say that nei­ ther Congress, nor the president, nor business interests were to blame,” he affirmed. “A ll o f them viewed such a war as foolish and unnecessary.” Who, then, was “ to blame” ? The people were, concluded Drechsler. The war was thus explained as the result “ o f a system that is too democratic: a system in which the leaders' good reason is swept aside by an unscrupu­ lous yellow press and an ill-advised fanatical public.” The role o f the president and Congress was “ to exercise the will o f the people o f the United States,” and “ In this case, presidential as well as congressional action in t h e . . . war would actually exem plify a well-functioning repre­ sentative government.” 28 The role o f the press was also central to the discussion o f public opinion. Public ire was represented not so much as a spontaneous re­ sponse to the destruction o f the M aine as it was the result o f deliberate and cynical manipulation by prowar elements, principally the yellow press and expansionist politicians, who seized the opportunity to ad­ vance larger policy goals. “ Whipped on by unscrupulous journalists,” Samuel Flagg Bemis wrote, “ the public hastily held Spain responsible for the vengeful destruction o f an Am erican warship.” Jam es P. Warburg stated that the “ yellow press held Spain responsible and whipped up a frenzy,” and Louis Martin Sears suggested that public opinion “ suc­ cumbed to the arts o f yellow journalism.” “ Public sentiment had been worked up by the sensational press, frequently called the fe llo w press,’ ” Jam es Ford Rhodes wrote; “ it had manipulated the real news, spread unfounded reports, putting all before their readers with scare headlines.” W. E . Woodward insisted that “ the war was created by the newspapers. They put it on the market just as a soap manufacturer makes a market for a new brand o f washing powder. . . . It was an advertising campaign o f the m ost lavish character.” Roger Burlingame suggested that it was 72

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“ d oubtful. . . that the war would have developed without the agency o f the m ost vicious and cynical behavior o f a part o f the Am erican press that our nation had yet seen.” Joseph E . Wisan was categorical: “ The Spanish-American War would not have occurred had not the appearance o f Hearst in N ew York journalism precipitated a bitter batde for news­ paper circulation.” Richard W. Leopold carried the argument one step further: ‘Topular indignation was kept at a boiling point by an irrespon­ sible press whose disgraceful practices were not confined to any one city.” 29 H. Wayne M organ held the press directly responsible for the war. “ N ewspaper pressure,” M organ argued, “ helped cause the war by keep­ ing diplomacy unsettled in the face o f mounting public opinion and ranting congressmen.” Cuba was a “godsend to popular newspapers,” O scar Handlin affirmed. “ Exciting stories set forth in horrifying detail the record o f Spanish atrocities and whipped sentiment to a boiling point.” 30 Historiographical formulations o f public opinion, aided and aroused by yellow journalism, as the explanation for 1898 have not, however, always been convincing or conclusive. Certainly not all narratives accord the same prominence to the press. Lew is G ould argued quite the op­ posite, insisting that the press “ reflected what the public wanted, rather than shaping it.” Joh n O ffner similarly insisted that “ there is no evi­ dence” to indicate that the “ sensational press” influenced M cKinley’s policy, suggesting that “ its impact on changing public opinion may have been limited.” 31 But even if it were possible to demonstrate the relationship between policy and public opinion, the larger and perhaps more important ques­ tion involves precisely the character o f popular opinion. What, in short, was the opinion o f the public that was said to have moved political leaders toward a specific course o f action? O n this question there does exist scattered i f admittedly anecdotal evidence. In fact, “ public opin­ ion” by all accounts had arrayed fully in support o f Cuban independence. A s early as September 1895, Secretary o f State Richard Olney prepared an internal memorandum on the Cuban insurrection, submitted for “ the careful consideration o f the Executive,” warning about “ public opin­ ion.” Olney wrote: “ The contest fıs] attracting the attention o f all our people as well as enlisting their sympathies, if for no other reason, than because the insurgents are apparently the weaker party—politicians o f all stripes, including congressmen, either already setting their sails or pre­ paring to set them so as to catch the popular breeze—it being not merely probable but almost certain that next winter Washington will swarm Meaning oftheMaine


with emissaries o f the insurgents demanding at least recognition o f their belligerency.” 32 Years later Senator Foraker reflected on his support for recognizing die insurgent provisional government: “ In entertaining the opinion by which I was governed that the Governm ent known as the Republic o f Cuba was entided to recognition, I was but in harmony. . . with the majority o f my colleagues, and an overwhelming majority o f the Am erican people.” 33 If, indeed, public opinion in a democracy acted in such a decisive fashion to determine the course and conduct o f policy, the steadfast opposition o f both the Cleveland and M cKinley administrations to Cu­ ban independence in the face o f “ public opinion” poses an apparent problem. In fact, public pressure in behalf o f Cuba Libre, including the call for the recognition o f the Cuban provisional governm ent and granting belligerency status, was rejected at every turn. Cleveland and M cKinley were unabashed in their resistance to “ public opinion.” O n die contrary, opposition to popular clamor was celebrated at the time as evidence o f courageous presidential leadership. Occasionally this point is acknowledged in the historical literature. Jam es M acG regor Burns took note o f the “ popular sympathy for the Cuban revolution” but stressed that the Cleveland administration “had resisted these pressures.” A simi­ lar argument was made by Gerald C. Eggert in his biography o f Richard Olney. “ When guerrilla warfare in Cuba became more savage,” Eggert affirm ed, “ and public sympathy for the rebels increased, the administra­ tion refused to alter course.” In truth, at the time President M cKinley was congratulated for standing up against public opinion. The Phila­ delphia Inquirer praised M cKinley for resisting popular support o f the Cuban cause: “The President was wise when he fought valiandy against the recognition o f a Cuban republic.” The H artford Post, published by M cKinley’s private secretary, Joh n Addison Porter, was openly exultant. “ President M cKinley,” the Post editorialized, “was right when with all his power he successfully resisted the demand o f Congress and o f a large section o f people that these cowardly, good-for-nothing insurgents be recognized as an independent government.” The Journalo fCommerce also reflected official exaltation. “There is great gratification in the Cabinet,” the Journal affirm ed, “ that the United States have escaped from the ridiculous and embarrassing position in what they would have found themselves if they had been compelled to recognize G o m e z .. . . T he firm ness o f the President saved the country from such a situation.” 34 • • • Public opinion further implicated the actions o f President M cKinley. The representation o f the war has often been personalized and linked to

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the character o f the president, his temperament and disposition. Form u­ lation o f policy has often been eclipsed by form ation o f personality; questions o f the national interest are overshadowed by individual idio­ syncrasies. In one view, M cKinley is depicted as standing up coura­ geously against mounting pressure from an aroused public and a belli­ cose Congress. The White House is a bastion o f reason during a time o f irrationality, but eventually is obliged to capitulate to the will o f the people and the demands o f their elected representatives. Jam es Henretta et al. argued that “ President M cKinley did not seek war. He had no stomach for the martial spirit sweeping the country.. . . But, in the end, M cKinley had no choice." ‘T h e destruction o f the M aine? Joh n Spencer Bassett concluded, “ increased the feeling against Spain and strength­ ened the hands o f those who were trying to press M cKinley into w ar." According to W olfgang Drechsler, after February 1 5 “ public opinion rapidly turned against those who wanted to exercise caution, particularly against M cKinley."35 “ The administration was unable to stem the tide which both the Congress and the country was making for war,” Herbert Croly insisted. He continued: “ Up to the last moment the President sought to find some middle ground. He sought to placate Am erican public opinion by acting energetically on behalf o f Am erican citixens in Cuba, and by pressing Spain to im prove its conduct o f the war and to redress the grievances o f its Cuban subjects. I f the M aine had not blown up, he might have succeeded. . . . A s it was, the President risked his popularity and the confidence o f the country by his reluctance to aban­ don a peaceful solution.” 36 There are variations on this theme, o f course, and not all o f them are favorable to M cKinley. Indeed, his role in thé events o f 1898 has been one o f the more controversial aspects o f a literature otherwise note­ worthy for the prevalence o f consensual narratives. Sympathetic ac­ counts portray M cKinley as personally committed to peace, but in the end obliged to acquiesce to events beyond his control. The president emerges in these accounts as a pragmatic politician, attentive to political considerations, and mindful o f the need to defend the constitutional prerogatives o f the executive branch o f government. He is depicted as having understood, too, that he could not long ignore public opinion or resist congressional pressure—not, at least, without calamitous political consequences or a monumental constitutional crisis, or both. M cKinley has thus been represented as finding him self in an im possible situation and finally bowing to the inevitable. The M aine produced an “ extraordi­ nary burst o f public opinion to which a struggling President could find Meaning oftheMaine


no effective antidote,” argued D avid Trask. M cKinley was “ desperate to avoid hostilities” but was “ ultimately responsive to the voice o f the people” ; what “ compelled [McKinley] to act against his deepest desire for peace was the irresistible popular demand welling up everywhere in Am erica after the destruction o f the M aine.” *1 “ B y the spring o f 1898,” asserted Thom as Bailey, “ die pressure o f herd hysteria had become so overwhelming that it could not have been stemmed by any ordinary mortal.” Richard Welch contended that the destruction o f the M aine “ not only heightened the war hysteria in certain sections o f the Am erican press and public but persuaded M cKinley that events had overtaken the possibility o f putting an end to the struggle in Cuba by means o f Spanish reform s and limited autonomy.” “ M cKinley could not resist the growing pressure to intervene,” wrote Irwin Unger, and O scar Handlin believed that “ M cKinley had to act, much as he was reluctant to do so.” “M cKinley, despite his personal desire to avert war, did not feel he had freedom o f action,” was how Alexander DeConde saw it; E . Berkeley Tompkins concluded that M cKinley “ had com e to feel that it was best to acquiesce and give the people the war they were demanding.” John Spencer Bassett also spoke o f “ popular demand,” a “ feeling [that] grew so strong that it swept away M cKinley’s resistance and made war inevitable.” G eorge Tindall agreed, speculating that M c­ Kinley “ might have defied Congress and public opinion, but in die end the political risk was too high.” 38 That M cKinley resisted pressure for war as long as he did, the argument concludes, was in itself no small trib­ ute to his leadership ability. “ It would be easy to condemn M cKinley for not holding out against war,” contended William Leuchtenburg, “ but M cKinley showed considerable courage in bucking the tide.” “ M cKin­ le y . . . exhibited commendable restraint,” asserted Richard Leopold.39 N ot all observers agree, however. Other interpretations o f 1898 ques­ tion the inevitability o f the war and reject the proposition that M cKinley was without choices. That he capitulated to public pressure, the inflam­ matory press, and jingoes in Congress, some have argued, says more about the character o f the president than the constraints on his options. The logic o f the school o f thought that represents the war as unneces­ sary often leads directly to the president, to whom the inexplicable war is attributed. M cKinley was incompetent and ineffective, and thus the war was his fault. B y implication, war became possible because o f a weak president who, at a decisive moment o f a deepening political crisis, failed to assert executive leadership. “ Possibly a strong President might have headed o ff the rush to war by openly denouncing the clam or for inter­

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vention,” speculated T. H arry Williams, Richard Current, and Frank Freidel, “ but M cKinley was not a strong executive.” The M aine so em­ boldened jingoes, Wayne Cole suggested, that it “ would have required a stronger President than M cKinley to resist their war-making influence.” M cKinley “ had not the nerve and power to resist the pressure for war,” argued Jam es Ford Rhodes, and Frederick M erk observed that “ moral courage. . . was not part o f the kindly make-up o f this President” Roger Burlingam e, who persisted with his indictment o f the press, maintained that pressured by “ the press-inflamed Congress, goaded by the pressinflamed people, breathing down his neck, [McKinley] was frightened into sending his war message,” adding: “ It was a compelling pressure, surely, but a strong leader would probably have resisted it ” “ M cKinley exhibited neither the determined leadership nor the moral courage that might possibly have restrained his impatient, war-minded countrymen,” declared Foster Rhea Dulles. “ His failure did not lie in the field o f diplom acy. . . but in national leadership at home.” 40 “ In a period o f acute national crisis the executive was paralyzed,” asserted Gerald Linderm an. Ruhl Bartlett wrote o f “ a weak President,” and Charles and M ary Beard noted that M cKinley was perceived as “ weak-kneed.” “A kindly soul in a spineless body,” was the way Samuel E liot M orison described him, and Leland D. Baldwin stated: “ M cKinley, had he been a strong leader, might conceivably have won his ends by diplomatic ends.” “ Congress wanted war,” Harold Underwood Faulkner indicated, “ and M cKinley was not the man to resist.” 41 In still another explanation o f 1898, the relationship between the M aine and public opinion, on one hand, and Congress, the president, and the com ing o f the war, on the other, have been m odified and trans­ form ed into a proposition from which significantly different causal hier­ archies have been arranged. With a slight change o f sequence and a shift o f emphasis, the M aine was represented as the occasion contrived as a pretext for war rather than a chance precipitant. The incident was thus exploited by expansionist politicians to m obilize public opinion in behalf o f a policy o f territorial expansion. It was not an aroused public that pressured unwilling politicians into war but, on the contrary, unscrupu­ lous politicians who manipulated the unsuspecting public into war. The M aine simply played into the hands o f expansionist elements in Congress and the administration. “ O ur government,” wrote Horace Edgar Flack, “ had practically decided on w a r. . . the M aine question was considered the best thing to arouse popular enthusiasm.” “ The shocking disaster was a stroke o f good fortune for Am erica’s interventionists,” insisted Meaning o f theMaine


Walter K arp, “ a stroke o f good fortune" that “ drastically shortened the road to w ar." Ruhl Bartlett characterized the de Lom e letter and the M aine as the “ fortuitous circumstances and events” that increased “ the influence o f those who wanted war with Spain for imperialistic reasons.” He continued: ‘T h ere existed a small, influential group o f politicians with imperialistic ambitions who seized an opportunity they partly cre­ ated to further their designs." D. A . G räber described the M aine as one o f the incidents “ used by the yellow press and by expansionist Am ericans such as Senator [Henry Cabot] Lodge and Assistant Secretary o f the N avy Theodore Roosevelt to inflame public opinion.” William Appleman Williams similarly argued that the M aine incident “ significandy in­ creased the tension and did encourage those, like Roosevelt, who had been ‘hoping and working ardendy to bring about our interference in Cuba.* " Horace M errill and Marion M errill agreed, affirm ing direcdy— but without naming names—that “ the Senate warm ongers, employing the M aine episode in particular, pushed the nation relentlessly toward w ar." This view was shared by J. Rogers Hollingsworth, who argued that by “ deliberately creating a war sentiment, the expansionists were rapidly producing an atmosphere in which the voices o f sanity could hardly be heard." “ Pro-annexationists in the Adm inistration," Philip Foner also suggested, “ could not let such an opportunity pass without taking as much advantage o f it as possible.” In a careful study o f policy and public opinion, Robert C. Hildebrand concluded that as early as 1 897, President M cKinley had formulated a Cuban policy that could only lead to war. Public support was “ made certain" by the destruction o f the M aine and “ rendered superfluous any efforts o f [McKinley] to prepare the public for war." Hildebrand concluded: “ The president could . . . predict the direction o f the public’s drift, and he saw little reason to guide a public opinion that was m oving—parallel to his own diplomacy—inexorably toward war.” 42 This interpretation produced a substantially different assessment o f M cKinley. N o longer characterized as weak and ineffectual, buffeted by forces he neither controlled nor comprehended, M cKinley was por­ trayed as an expansionist, calculating and clever, steadfastly pursuing clear objectives and skillfully exploiting a fortuitous event to embark on an expansionist policy. With the naval court report completed, K arp wrote, “ M cKinley’s difficulties were at an end." It was now only neces­ sary to “ bring his diplomacy with Spain to a crisis—never very difficult in dealing with a fifth-rate power." K arp concluded: “ Had M cKinley been seeking a peaceful solution, the Spanish concessions certainly provided

78 Meaning ofthe Maine

the basis for one. Instead, M cKinley rejected the offer. . . . With the official release o f the M aine report on March 28, he now had overwhelm­ ing popular support for armed intervention.” 43 Conspicuously absent from m ost accounts o f 1898 has been the possi­ bility o f U.S. intervention as a response to the imminence o f a Cuban tri­ umph. Some o f the conflicting and otherwise contradictory explanations o f U.S. policy acquire far greater coherence when set against the pros­ pects o f an insurgent victory. Julius Pratt argued that the war would have been avoided “ if M cKinley had been resolute enough to exercise a little m ore patience with Spain and defy Congress.” N o doubt, too, Jam es Ford Rhodes was correct in suggesting that had M cKinley not suc­ cumbed to public pressure and “ abandoned his policy and went over to the war party,” Spain “ might have been led to grant independence to Cuba.” But that was precisely the one eventuality M cKinley was seeking to foreclose. Thus, on one hand, a rebellious Congress responded to public pressure to intervene in behalf o f Cuban independence and, on the other, rebellious Cubans within a measurable distance o f military victory defined the necessary policy course in defense o f U.S. interests. H enry Bam ford Parkes came slightly closer to the mark by noting that Spanish capitulation to the March 27 ultimatum “would probably have led to the liberation o f Cuba without war; but a peaceful settlement would not h ave. . . enabled the United States to acquire bases overseas.” 44 Perhaps the most persistent criticism o f M cKinley has centered on his decision to proceed with war despite Spanish acquiescence to the U.S. ultimatum o f March 27. W ithout an acknowledgment o f the Cuban role in these events, U.S. historians have been left to im provise an explana­ tion to account for M cKinley’s actions. One line o f argument has main­ tained that the Spanish concessions were, in fact, suspect, and that M c­ K inley lacked confidence in Spain’s commitment to peace. “ Spanish evasion and delay had destroyed confidence in the good faith o f the Spanish government,” was the way that William M acDonald saw it. W. E . Woodward speculated that M cKinley “ may have thought the Spaniards were insincere and playing for time.” N elson Blake and O scar Barck suggested that M cKinley “ could thus shrug o ff the Spanish con­ cession . . . as insincere and worthless.” Richard Leopold indicated that Spanish concessions were rejected by “ contemporaries who had grown weary o f broken promises and the inevitable Spanish manana.” It was Thom as Bailey’s belief that Spanish acquiescence did not matter, for Spain “ had pursued such a tortuous course that M cKinley had little faith in her prom ises, or in her ability to carry them o u t” According to A r­ Meaning oftheMaine


thur M. Schlesinger, M cKinley “ doubted Spain’s good faith in com ply­ ing,” and Joh n Bassett argued that the administration believed that lastminute concessions “ would be evaded, as in the past.” 45 Various types o f weaknesses have been attributed to M cKinley: weak­ ness o f character, or o f courage, or o f conviction were all offered as explanations o f why he proceeded to war even after Spain had appar­ ently capitulated to his demands. “Any President with a backbone would have sei2ed this opportunity for an honorable solution,” pronounced Samuel E liot M orison. Randolph Greenfield Adam s arrived at a similar conclusion: “ left alone, M cKinley would probably have avoided a war, as he was a peaceful and gentle man.” Jam es Warburg agreed, suggesting that M cKinley “was not a man who would stand out resolutely for a lit­ tle more patience when a peaceful and honorable settlement was in sight___ He acted as a follower—not a leader.” 46 In fact, the problem M cKinley confronted had less to do with Spain than with Cubans, who, in refusing to observe the cease-fire and suspend military operations, seemed poised to overrun Spanish positions. In­ deed, intervention was as much against the expanding Cuban claim o f sovereignty as the declining Spanish claim. M cKinley could not have ac­ cepted Spanish acquiescence to the March 27 ultimatum without Cuban participation, and Cuban participation was predicated entirely on the proposition o f independence. Thus, the war arrived in the early spring o f 1898 and its origins have continued to be debated in terms established one hundred years ago. The M aine propelled the nation to war, a denouement that was inexora­ ble in the face o f an aroused public and timid public officials. In the process, an “ unnecessary” war became known an “ inevitable” one.

80 Meaning oftheMaine

Conştrucdng the Cuban Absence

le ss assistance than expected was obtained from the Cubans___In the campaign in Cuba we had so little aid from the Cubans. It must be allowed that they made very weak allies. —Andrew S. Draper, The Rescue of Cuba (1899) It becomes necessary to speak of the men’s opinions of the Cubans. To put it shortly, both officers and privates have the most lively contempt for the Cubans. They despise them. They came down here expecting to fight side by side with an ally, but this ally has done little but stay in the rear. . . manifesting an indifference to the cause of Cuban liberty which could not be exceeded by some one who had never heard of it. —Stephen Crane (|uly 14 ,18 98) \

The [June 20] meeting between General Shatter and General Garcia was very cordial, and they immediately repaired to General Rabi’s tent, around which a guard was placed___ In General Rabi’s tent were gathered Admiral Sampson, General Shatter, General Garcia, General Rabi, and a few members of their respective staffs. The object of General Shatter’s visit was to leam from General Garcia and his officers what they knew concerning the strength of the enemy in and around Santiago, to question them concerning the nature of the country, and to ascertain what assis­ tance could be expected of them. —Lieutenant Colonel John D. Miley, In Cuba with Shafter (1899) General Garcfa . . . received numerous visits at his headquarters. American com­ manders and officers, marines and naval officers, newspaper reporters and repre­ sentatives of foreign governments consulted with him. American troops conducted frequent movements, while their officers were completely disoriented. They be­ sieged us with questions and heaped attention upon us. They needed us: they knew that without our cooperation, their failure was imminent. —Mariano Corona Ferrer, De la manigua (Ecos de la epopeya) (1900)


The Americans waited for the support of the insurrectos in order to be able to land at Daiquiri, given that without Cuban assistance, they would not have been able to land their troops. This seemed strange to us, that such a powerful nation needed the help of our forces, given that during three years of war they could not help us, with us needing help far more than they did. —Rodolfo Bergés, Cuba y Santo Domingo: Apuntes de la guerra

de Cuba de mi diario de campada, 1895-1898 (190s) I search in vain in the history books of my country for proper appreciation and recognition of the role which Cuban patriots played in the liberation of this country. It would seem that the Spanish-American War was fought only by American soldiers. Not that I would in any way discredit the patriotic service which my countrymen lent your country in 1 8 9 8 . . . . However, I wish to take this occasion to assure you that patriots throughout the world appreciate the valor and unselfishness of the valiant Cuban patriots who, long before their American brothers arrived here, had fought and died for the liberation of their country. —Senator Dennis Chavez (D-N.M.), Havana: On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Maine (February 15,19 4 8 ) Senator Chavez turned over the text of his speech to the Public Affairs Officer of the Embassy one day prior to the ceremony, but declined to make any changes when it was pointed out that Americans do appreciate the efforts of the Cubans to achieve independence and that his remarks might be used to our disadvantage by the Communists. —U.S. Ambassador R. Henry Norweb (February 17,19 4 8 )

The war ended in August 1898, but not entirely the way the Cubans had envisioned it would. Spain had been defeated, to be sure, and at least that part o f the Cuban purpose had been achieved. However, the pur­ suit o f independence had provided the occasion for U.S. intervention, whereupon everything changed, as it was meant to. From the outset the State Departm ent had crafted the “ neutral intervention,” precisely, A s­ sistant Secretary o f State Alvey A . Adee explained, for the purpose o f operating “ in territory transiendy ours by conquest.” E ven before the form al armistice o f August 12 , General William Shafter proclaimed Sandago de Cuba conquered territory. “ The soil occupied by the army o f the United States was part o f the Union,” Shafter said, “ and would remain so until the Union through its proper offices should declare otherwise.” Attorney General Joh n G riggs inform ed the Cuban provisional vice president, Dom ingo Méndez Capote, that the U.S. army in Cuba was an “ invading army that would carry with it American sovereignty wherever it went.” Admiral William T. Sampson gave explicit meaning to the U.S. presence. “ It does not make any difference whether the Cubans prove amenable to the sovereignty o f the Governm ent or not,” he asserted.


Constructingthe CubanAbsence

“ We are there. We intend to rule and that is all there is to it ” Secretary o f War Elihu Root was brief and blunt. The United States had the “ right to protect Cuba,” Root affirm ed after the Treaty o f Paris, “ by virtue o f our occupation o f Cuba and the terms under which sovereignty was yielded to by Spain.” 1 The war became known as the “ Spanish-American War,” a construct that in purpose and point o f view denied the Cuban presence and par­ ticipation. Cubans seemed to have disappeared, denied a role in the very outcom e to which they had contributed so significandy. They had been displaced from the front lines. They were excluded from the negotia­ tions for the surrender o f Santiago de Cuba. They did not take part in the. deliberations on the armistice. They were not signatories to the Treaty o f Paris. On January i, 1899, during the official ceremonies in Havana signaling the end o f four hundred years o f Spanish rule, Cubans form ed an audience o f mere onlookers as sovereignty o f the island passed from Spain to the United States. It did indeed appear that the sixty-day conflict in Cuba was a Spanish and Am erican war. Appearances mattered. O bservers were not slow to draw portentous inferences. The scale o f public opinion in the United States turned against the Cubans. In press dispatches and army field reports, Cubans were portrayed as unworthy allies, undeserving o f the sacrifices made in their behalf, whereupon it became easy to disparage, dism iss, or deny altogether their contribution in the final months o f their war for independence. Cubans had contributed nothing to the victory over Spain, the Am er­ icans proclaimed. “ They are the most worthless . . . lot o f bushwackers extant,” Captain Frank R. M cCoy inform ed his parents. M ajor Jam es Bell was b rief and to the point: “ What they want is to see us do the work and themselves reap the fruits.” The N ew York Tim s wax correspondent agreed: “The Cubans did little or no fighting. The insurgent army, there­ fore, has borne no testimony to its desire for a free Cuba. I f it wants it, it was not willing, in die presence o f a magnificent opportunity to fight for it, or make any sacrifice for it.” One M issouri volunteer recalled Cubans contemptuously: “ We did not expect much help from them, so were not disappointed when they failed to come into the battle when we needed them badly. They disappeared almost immediately into the jungle.” When later asked to evaluate the contribution o f Cuban troops during the war, General Samuel B. M. Young responded categorically: "T hey were o f no use to me whatever.” General Shafter expressed his views with his usual parsimony o f language: “They were o f no earthly service Constructing the CubanAbsence 83

to me.” In one o f the m ost complete contemporary accounts o f the Santiago campaign, Herbert H. Sargent, him self an infantry officer dur­ ing the war, pronounced the definitive judgment on Cubans: Since the Americans were in the island fighting to make Cuba free, one would naturally suppose that the Cuban soldiers would have fought with desperate determination and courage, and that they would have been ready and anxious to take the initiative and lead the way in every batde, in order to show their allies and the world that they were worthy o f freedom , in that they knew at least how to fight and how to die. The truth is that the insurgents did litde or no hard fighting at this time or afterwards___ They could not be depended upon to close with the enemy and fight till one or the other was defeated or crushed. N or could they be depended upon to prosecute in a systematic manner any particular military operation that required severe fighting or great sacrifice. Sargent could reach only one conclusion: “ While the freedom o f Cuba was being decided under their very eyes, they stood by inefficiendy, inactive. The rewards were theirs, but the Am ericans made the sacrifice. B y the blood o f the Am ericans the victories were won.” 2 These pronouncements had far-reaching implications, o f course, for if it could be demonstrated that Cubans had actually declined to play a part in their own liberation, their claim to independence could hardly warrant serious consideration. War correspondent Stephen Crane un­ derstood the significance, if not the source, o f these developments. I f the Cuban “ stupidly, drowsily remains out o f these fights,” Crane pondered, “what weight is his voice to have later in the final adjustments? The officers and men o f the [U.S.] army, if their feeling remains the same, will not be happy to see him have any at all-----It is the worst thing for the cause o f an independent Cuba that could possibly exist.” 3 This sentiment gained currency immediately after the surrender o f Santiago de Cuba. “The assistance [Cubans] were to give to our men,” affirm ed Joh n Ward o f the Second D ivision Hospital Corps, “ has turned out to be an absolute delusion. . . . In fact, the Cuban insurgents are looked upon by all our men who have seen them in their native land as a huge fake. The idea o f giving them controlling power in the governm ent o f the island is farcical.” The N ew York Times correspondent agreed: “The Cubans who have made a pretense o f fighting with us have proved worthless in the fie ld .. . . It would be a tragedy, a crime, to deliver the island into their hands.” 4


Constructing the CubanAbsence

In the weeks and months that followed, hostility against the Cubans increased. They were not, as the Am erican public had been led to be­ lieve, inspired by love o f liberty but by the lure o f looting. “ From the highest officer to the lowliest ‘soldier,’ ” Rough Rider Burr M acintosh wrote scornfully, “ they were there for personal gain.” 5 Perhaps the United States was the victim o f an elaborate hoax, duped into an unnec­ essary war to assist an unworthy cause in behalf o f an undeserving people. “ We are not unmindful o f this N ation’s pledge concerning ‘Cuba fo r Cubans,’ ” the N ew York Tribune assured its readers. “ But why was it made? Because Cuban leaders declared, and their friends here declared, that the people o f the island were ready for self-governm ent.. . . Have our troops found such to be the case? The answer is an unhesitating and emphatic N o .. . . I f thus the basis and foundation o f our pledge be found false and unsubstantial, with what grace can it be demanded that the pledge itself stand?” Reports from the island made the same point. “ Poll the United States troops in the province o f Santiago de Cuba,” die N ew York Evening Post war correspondent suggested five days after the sur­ render o f Santiago de Cuba, “ and 99 out o f 100 will say İn almost so many words: *We have bought a gold brick İn Cuba L ibre? ” 6 These propositions seemed possessed o f an internal logic o f their own, from which a number o f conclusions seemed irresistible. There was no Cuban army or Cuban republic; there was no such thing as Cuba. "T h e Cuban .soldjfiE iş. a myth,” proclaimed General H. W. Lawton, “ an evanescent dream.” New York Times correspondent Stanhope Sams, who was attached to General Shafter’s staff, reflected official thinking after the fall o f Santiago de Cuba. “ We came to conquer for another people,” he wrote on Ju ly 29, “ vainly imagining that a new nation had been born. But there is no Cuba. There are no Cuban people. There are not freemen here to whom we could deliver this marvelous island. We have fought for a spectral republic___ I f we are to save Cuba, we must hold it. I f we leave it to the Cubans, we give it over to a reign o f terror—to the machete and the torch, to insurrection and assassination.” A week later Sams returned to this theme more forcefully: “ There is . . . no Cuban aspiration, no Cuban sentim ent Indeed, there could be discovered no ‘Cuban people’ where the United States sent its fleets and armies to find them, and to aid in establishing another free republic among the nations o f the world.” 7 • • • T he absence o f Cubans from frontline U.S. military operations was the result o f decisions made at the highest official levels in Washington precisely as a means to reduce, if not preclude altogether, Cuban de­ Constructing the CubanAbsence 85

mands to participate in the negotiations o f postwar settlements. U.S. officials scrupulously avoided any contact or communication that might be construed as official recognition o f the authority o f the provisional governm ent and insurgent army command. Control over the conduct o f the war guaranteed mastery over the arrangements o f peace. Adjutant General H . C. Corbin specifically warned General Shafter against “ put­ ting too much confidence in any persons outside o f your own troops.” Lieutenant Colonel Joh n D. Miley recalled the meeting at which Cuban General Calixto G ard a offered to place his troops under U.S. command, an offer that Shafter deftly declined, responding that he “ could not exerdse any authority over him, but would, however, be very glad to accept his voluntary services.” Colonel Arthur L . Wagner, a cavalry o f­ ficer at Santiago de Cuba, subsequendy disclosed that he was “ enjoined to be extremely careful to avoid in every way anything that might be construed as a recognition by my superiors o f the Cuban forces as the army o f an independent power or belligerent nation.” T he N ation was direct: “ It is our war and we must depend upon ourselves to conduct it.” 8 In fact, Cubans played a decisive i f largely unacknowledged role in the U.S. victory. They served as scouts, guides, and interpreters; they pro­ vided vital intelligence and inform ation.9 But m ost o f all, they engaged in military operations at critical moments o f the campaign. Cubans se­ cured the beaches and facilitated the landing o f U.S. forces. A division under the command o f General Dem etrio Castillo Duany secured the designated landing site at Daiquiri, east o f Santiago de Cuba. U.S. forces under General Shafter arrived there on June 22, and within twenty-four hours, 15,000 soldiers had safely reached shore without a single hos­ tile shot being fired. “ Landing at Daiquiri unopposed,” Shafter cabled Washington triumphantly.10 A t exactly the same moment, seven miles away, another U.S. division waded ashore at Siboney, also unopposed. Simultaneous with the U.S. landing Cuban General Jesus Rabl led 500 troops in a diversionary attack against Spanish positions at Cabanas west o f Santiago de Cuba to distract local Spanish forces. A t no point did the United States encounter Spanish resistance upon landing. Indeed, one reason the United States selected southeastern Cuba as a disembarkation site was the control Cubans exercised over vast expanses o f the province, the interior as well as the coastline, thereby guaranteeing U.S. forces a safe landing.11 The U.S. march from the landing site at Daiquiri inland toward Las Guasim as was aided by a Cuban vanguard column com ­ manded by Colonel Carlos Gonzalez Clavell, with Cuban soldiers serv­ ing as flankers and skirmishers.


Constructingthe CubanAbsence

In the days and weeks that followed, Cuban army units took up positions across southeastern Cuba to contain and check the movement o f Spanish military forces. A n estimated 3,000 Cuban officers and men under General Luis de Feria were deployed at Holguin and prevented 1 2,000 Spanish soldiers from relieving the garrison at Santiago de Cuba. A n estimated 3,000 Cuban soldiers under the command o f General Pedro A . Pérez contained 6,000 Spanish troops inside the city o f Guan­ tanamo in the east, while another 1,000 insurgents soldiers commanded by General Salvador Rios were deployed to contain 6,000 Spaniards in Manzanillo on the west. General Francisco Estrada’s forces were de­ ployed south o f Bayamo. O ver 1,000 Cuban soldiers under the com­ mand o f General Garcia subsequendy participated alongside U.S. forces in the batde o f E l Caney. A fter E l Caney and San Juan, several thousand Cuban troops under the command o f Generals G ard a and Agustin Cebreco occupied positions along an extensive perimeter west and northwest o f Santiago de Cuba along mountain passes leading in and out o f the eastern capital. A t several points during the campaign, the Cuban role was decisive. O n June 22, the day U.S. forces landed at Daiquiri and Siboney, a Spanish relief convoy o f 3,750 officers and men under the command o f Colonel Federico Escario set out from Manzanillo to reinforce the Spanish gar­ rison at Santiago de Cuba. Much depended on the timely arrival o f this column. “ I f your excellency can hold out until the arrival o f E scario . . . , ” Spanish governor general Ram ön Blanco in Havana cabled the Spanish army commander in Santiago de Cuba, “ the situation will be much im proved.” 12 For ten days, throughout the course o f the 160-m ile march eastward, a smaller Cuban force o f some 600 troops under the command o f General Frandsco Estrada attacked, ambushed, and harassed the relief column daily, engaging Spanish troops in frequent if intermittent day-long skir­ mishes. “The column has been harassed all day . . . ” Colonel Escario recorded in his operations diary on June 23; “ all day . . . a steady lively fire” ; in an entry two days later, he noted: “The same as yesterday, the column was harassed all day.” N ear Palma Soriano, Escario wrote o f hav­ ing “ to fight the enemy all along the road, on both sides o f which the latter occupied good positions and endeavored to detain the column at any price.” The next day the Cubans mounted a fierce attack, to which Escario conceded grudging respect, remarking “ there were moments during that battle when the tenacity o f the enemy and the order with which they fought gave the im pression that they might belong to our Constructingthe CubanAbsence 87

own column.” He added: "T o do the enemy justice it must be stated that they defended these well-chosen positions with persistency and in good order, and that they rose to unusual heights that day, making this the fiercest batde which we sustained on the march from Manzanillo to San­ tiago and one o f the m ost remarkable ones o f the present campaign.” 13 Escario reached Santiago de Cuba on Ju ly 3, but at considerable cost. The column had been engaged in no less than thirty combats, suffering a total o f twenty-seven dead and more than seventy officers and soldiers wounded. It had expended more than 30,000 rounds o f Mauser car­ tridges and consumed vital supplies originally destined for the relief o f the defenders o f Santiago de Cuba. In fact, the column arrived so de­ pleted and its resources so spent as to be o f no use in the defense o f the dty. On the contrary, the arrival o f Escario’s force made a bad situation worse. "Provisions and ammunition, already scarce,” Spanish lieutenant Jo sé Müeller y Tejeiro remembered, “ became still more so, because there were twice the number o f mouths to be fed and twice the number o f muskets to be supplied.” J. Rodriguez Martinez was also in Santiago de Cuba the evening that Escario arrived and remembered the occasion well: "Such timely reinforcement could not but have been received with rejoicement, but at the same time it was depressing to think about the lack o f provisions, for if supplies were extremely scarce for those who were already there defending the city, what was going to happen as a result o f the increased consumption produced by the new arrivals?” 14 Escario’s arrival in Santiago de Cuba had been expected on or about June 28. The Manzanillo—Santiago de Cuba march was norm ally com ­ pleted in six days, but on this occasion, as a result o f Cuban harassment, the march took ten days. The delay was decisive. Had Escario arrived as planned, G . J. A . O 'Toole speculated, the Spanish fleet might not have had to sail out o f the harbor to face certain destruction. During the fourday delay, moreover, U.S. forces had overrun Spanish positions at E l Caney and San Juan. Captain A lfred Mahan, later musing on small events with big outcomes, reflected on the delay o f the Escario column—with­ out, however, mentioning the reason for it. The column reached San­ tiago de Cuba on July 3, “ too late, to take part in the defence o f San Juan and E l Caney,” Mahan wrote, "upon holding which the city depended for food and water,” observing that "it gives a shivering suggestion how much more arduous would have been the task o f our troops had Escario come up in time.” Mahan concluded: ‘T h e incident but adds another to history’s long list o f instances where desperate energy and econom y o f time have wrested safety out o f the jaws o f imminent disaster.” 15


Constructing the CubanAbsence

In the larger view, the Cuban insurrection had already brought the Spanish army to the brink o f defeat. During three years o f relendess war, die Cubans had destroyed railroad lines, bridges, and roads and para­ lyzed telegraph communications, making it all but im possible for the Spanish army to move across the island and between provinces. That Cubans had, m oreover, inflicted coundess thousands o f casualties on Spanish soldiers and effectively driven Spanish units into beleaguered defensive concentrations in the cities, there to suffer further the de­ bilitating effects o f illness and hunger, in no small fashion contributed to the final ease with which Spain was defeated.16 The part played by Cubans in the outcome o f the war passed largely unrecognized and unacknowledged in the United States. What was re­ markable about contemporary accounts was the degree to which U.S. victories were attributed either to Am erican valor or Spanish blunders, or a combination o f the two, but rarely to the contribution o f Cubans. Afterward, Adm iral William Sampson was at a loss to explain Spanish ineffectiveness. “ What motive induced the Spaniards to leaving [the] landing-places without a defense remains a mystery,” Sampson pon­ dered. “ Had [Spain] been prepared to resist,” he suggested, “ it would have greatly increased the danger in landing our men and the time re­ quired in landing. The very irregular character o f the ground would have furnished good protection for its defenders.” Joh n J. Pershing also took measure o f conditions and arrived at the same conclusion: “ One thou­ sand determined men could have made this disembarkation difficult if not impossible.” That they seemed to have failed to do so obliged Persh­ ing to im provise some plausible explanation: “ Spain, realizing the ulti­ mate outcome, waged it much as an inferior swordsman who had been challenged by a master o f the art; she accepted the engagement and let the adversary shed a certain amount o f her blood. In other words, she saved her honor.” Correspondent G eorge Kennan concluded that the United States was the beneficiary o f Spanish ineptitude. I f the landing sites had been held by a more determined enemy, he speculated, “ it would have been extremely difficult, if not absolutely im possible, to get the troops ashore.” He explained: “ In order to drive them out it would have been necessary to land in the su rf under fire, and storm the heights by scaling the precipitous terraces in front o f the rampart on the sea side. This might, perhaps, have been done, but it would have involved a great sacrifice o f life. Fortunately for General Shafter and his troops, the Spaniards did not attempt to oppose the landing. The Spanish officers in C u b a. . . were Constructingthe CubanAbsence 89

not skillful tacticians. Instead o f anticipating General Shafter’s m ove­ ments and occupying, with an adequate force, the only two places in the vicinity o f Santiago where he could possibly land, they overlooked or neglected the splendid defensive positions that nature herself had provided for them, and allowed the army o f invasion to come ashore without firing a shot. It was great luck for us, but it was not war.” 17 Som e years later General Shafter recalled his apprehensions as he steamed toward Santiago de Cuba, mindful o f the presence o f tens o f thousands o f Spanish troops in the surrounding provincial towns, fear­ ful that they ( 5 3 1; H arry T. Peck, Twenty Years of the Republic, 188J-190J (N ew York, 1905), pp. 6 17 -18 . 48. Walter M illis, The MartialSpirit: A Study of Our Warwith Spain (Boston, 19 3 1), pp. 320, 3 6 1-6 2 . 49. Richard H. Collin, Theodore Roosevelt: Culture, Diplomacy, andExpansion (Baton Rouge, 1985), P- 1 3 5i William Wood and Ralph Henry G abrid, In Defense of Liberty (N ew Haven, 1928), p. 190.

15 2 Notes to Pages9J-100

50. Barbara Tuchman, The Proud Tower (N ew York, 1966), p. 156; Jam es Truslow Adam s,

The Epic of'America, p. 337« 51. Carl Russell Fish, The Path ofEmpire (N ew Haven, 19 19 ), pp. 15 5 ,16 6 -6 7 ; M orris, The War with Spain, pp. 257, 266; Frederick M erk, Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History (N ew York, 1966), pp. 2 5 0 -5 1; Joh n R. M usick, Cuba Libre: A Story of the Hispano-American War (N ew York, 1900), p. vii; William Harding Carter, The Life of Lieutenant General Chaffee (Chicago, 19 17 ), p. 156. The tendency to attribute valor as the decisive factor o f U.S. success has been especially pronounced in the biographies o f the U.S. officers who participated in the Santiago campaign. See, for exam ple, the early biographies o f Theodore Roosevelt, m ost notably William D raper Lew is, The

Life of Theodore Roosevelt (N ew York, 19 19 ), pp. 13 4 -4 7 ; G odfrey R. Benson, Theodore Roosevelt (Boston, 1923), pp. 5 0 -52; William Roscoe Thayer, Theodore Roosevelt: An Intimate Biography (Boston, 19 19 ), pp. 10 9 -30 ; and Joseph Bucklin Bishop, Theodore Roosevelt andHis Time, 2 vols. (N ew York, 1920), 1:9 2 -10 8 . See also Carter, TheLife of Lieutenant General Chaffee; Paul H. Carlson, uPecos BUT*:A Military Biography of William R. Shafter (College Station, Tex., 1989); and Heath Twichell, Alien: The Biography ofan Army Officer, 1839—1930 (N ew Brunswick, 1974). 52. Frank Freidel, The SplendidLittle IKsrr (N ew York, 19 58 ),p. 3; Allan N evins and Henry Steele Comm ager, America: The Story ofa Free People (Boston, 1943), p. 424. 53. Robert L fttistitr, From the OldDiplomacy to the New, 1863-1900 (Arlington Heights, 111., 1986), p. 1 30; Julius W. Pratt, '"M cKinley and M anifest Destiny,” in Earl Schenck M iers,ed., TheAmerican Story (Great N eck, N .Y., 19 56 ),p. 263; Pendleton Herring, The Impact of War (N ew York, 19 4 1), pp. 4 1-4 2 ; T. H arry W illiams, Americans at War (Baton Rouge, i960), p. 95; O scar Handlin, The History of the United States, 2 vols. (N ew York, 1968), 2:2 59; Walter T. K . Nugent, ModemAmerica (Boston, 1973), p. 15 3; Woodward, New American History, p. 69 1; Charles M. D ollar, Joan R. Gunderson, Reid A . Holland, and John Hammond, America: Changing Times:A BriefHistory, 2d ed. (N ew York, 1984), p. 405. 54. William Mälzt, A New History ofthe UnitedStates (N ew York, 19 58 ),p. 332; W inthrop Jordan and Leon Litwack, The UnitedStates, 7th ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N .J., 19 9 1), pp. 5 52 - 54; John M orton Blum , Bruce Catton, Edm und S. M organ, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Kenneth M. Stamps, and C. Van W oodward, The NationalExperience (N ew York, 1963), p. 506; Dulles, The United States since 1863, p. 167; Roderick N ash, From These

Beginnings (N ew York, 1973), p. 2 7 1; Edwin C. Rozwenc, The Making ofAmerican Society, 2 vols. (Boston, 1973), 2 :12 3; Thom as A . Bailey, ProbingAmerica's Past, 2 vols. (Lexington, M ass., 1973), 2:487-88; John K . M ahon, “ Santiago Campaign, Cuba (1898),” in Benjam in R. Beede, ed., The War of 1898 and US. Interventions, 1898-1934 (N ew York, 1994), pp. 4 9 5,497“ 985 5. Freidel, Splendid Little War, pp. 8 1, 88; Hermann Hagedorn, Leonard Wood: A Biogra­

phy, 2 vols. (N ew York, 19 3 1), 1:16 0 ; Irving Werstein, 1898: The Spanish-American War (N ew York, 1966), p. 70; Allan K eller, The Spanish-American War: A Compact History (N ew York, 1969), pp. 12 6 -2 7 ; Robert Leckie, The Wars ofAmerica, rev. ed. (N ew York, 19 8 1), p. 555; M aurice M adoff, American Wars and Heroes (N ew York, 1985), p .2 15 . 56. Donald B arr Chidsey, The Spanish-American War (N ew York, 19 7 1), p. 12 3 ; George Brown Tindall, America: A Narrative Histoiy, 2d ed. (N ew York, 1988), p. 9 15. 57. Millis, TheMartialSpirit, p. 266; Jam es A . Henretta, W. Elliott Brownlee, D avid Brody,

Notes toPages 101-3


and Susan Ware, America's History, zd ed. (N ew York, 1993), p. 679; Richard Current, T. H arry W illiams, and Frank Freidel, American History: A Survey, 3d ed. (N ew York, 19 7 1), p. 524; K eith Ian Polakoff, N orm an Rosenberg, Grania Bolton, Ronald Story, and Jordan Schwarz, Generations ofAmericans: A History of the United States, 2 vols. (N ew York, 1976), 2:496. In fact, the characterization o f Spanish military operations, the historiographical persistence notwithstanding, is inconsistent with U.S. firstpçrson accounts o f the campaign. Contem porary reports o f Spanish conduct often alluded to the resolve o f Spanish soldiers. “The Spaniards contested every inch o f ground bitterly and fought with unexpected coolness and courage,” cabled the Wash­

ington Post after the battle o f E l Caney. General M. B. Stewart remembered the defense o f E l Caney by “ the gallant Spanish force.” Theodore Roosevelt reached the same conclusion. Spanish soldiers, he later wrote o f San Juan H ill, “ made a stiff fight,” “ fighting stubbornly,” and showing themselves “ to be brave foes, worthy o f honor for their gallantry.” A t the time, he inform ed H enry Cabot Lodge: ‘T h e Spaniards fight very hard and charging these entrenchments against m odem rifles is terrible.” See Washington Post, Ju ly 4, 1898, p. 1; M . B. Stewart, “ The Regulars,” in Society o f Santiago de Cuba, TheSantiago Campaign: Reminiscences ofthe Operationsfor the

Capture ofSantiago de Cuba in the Spanish American War (Richm ond, Va., 1927,), p. 50; Roosevelt, The Rough Riders, pp. 15 5 -5 6 ; Roosevelt to Lodge, Ju ly 3,18 9 8 , in Lodge,

Selectionsfrom the Correspondence o f. . . Roosevelt and. . . Lodge, 1:3 17 . See also Joseph Edgar Cham berlain, “ H ow the Spaniards Fought at Caney,” Scribner's Magazine, Sep­ tember 1898, pp. 278 -8 2. 58. Carlson, uPecos B ill,” p. 18 5; Jerald A . Com bs, The History ofAmerican Foreign Policy (N ew York, 1986), pp. 14 8 -4 9 ; Jack Cam eron D ierks, A Leap to Arms: The Cuban

Campaign of1898 (Philadelphia, 1970), pp. 18 2-8 4 . 59. Joh n Scott Reed, “ San Juan H ill, Cuba, Battle (1898),” in Beede, The War of 1898, p. 489; D avid Healy, Drive to Hegemony: The UnitedStates in the Caribbean, 1898—1917 (Madi­ son, 1988), p. 45; D avid F. Trask, The Warwith Spain in 1898 (N ew York, 19 8 1), p. 208; Thom as G . Paterson, J. G arry Clifford, and Kenneth J. Hagan, American Foreign

Relations: A History, 2 vols., 4th ed., (Lexington, M ass., 1995), 1:2 27 ; Ju les R. Ben­ jamin, The United States and the Origins ofthe Cuban Revolution (Princeton, 1990), p. 5 3. 60. Alan Brinkley, Richard N . Current, T. H arry Williams, and Frank Freidel, American History: A Survey, 2 vols., 8th ed. (N ew York, 19 9 1), write that the w ar ended quickly and successfully, “ in part because the Cuban rebels had already greatly weakened the Spanish resistance. The Am erican intervention, therefore, was in many respects a ‘m opping up’ exercise” ; in fact, Spanish commanders “ seemed to be paralyzed by a series o f reversals at the hands o f the insurgents” (2 :6 0 1-2). See also Jo h n Tebbel,

America's Great Patriotic Warwith Spain (M anchester Center, V t., 1996). CHAPTER FIVE

1. New York Times Book Review, O ctober 2 9 ,19 6 1, p. 22. 2. Mississippi Valley HistoricalReview 49 (June 1962): 160—6 1. 3. New York Herald Tribune Book Review, February 11,19 6 2 , p. 8. 4. Robert Endicott O sgood, Ideals and Self-Interest in America's Foreign Relations (Chicago, 1 9 5 3), p. 43 ; H. H . Powers, “ The War as Suggestion o f M anifest Destiny,1"Annals ofthe

American Academy of Political and Social Science 12 (Septem ber 1898): 17 5 ; Brooks Adam s, America's Economic Supremacy (N ew York, 1900), p. 25; Howard Jon es, The


Notes to Pages 106-11

Course ofAmerican Diplomacy, 2 vols., 2d ed. (Chicago, 1988), 2:25 5; Solom on Bulkey G riffin, People and Politics (Boston, 1923), p. 367. 5. William M cKinley, SpeechesandAddresses of WilliamMcKinleyfrom March 1, 189/toMayjo, 1900 (N ew York, 1900), p. 134. 6. Theodore Salisbury Woolsey, America's Foreign Policy (N ew York, 1898), p. vi; Charles S. O lcott, The Life of William McKinley (Boston, 19 16 ), p. 380; Robert E . Riegel and D avid F. Long, The American Story, 2 vols. (N ew York, 1955), 2:128; Jack Cam eron Divedt&,A Leap toArms: The Cuban Campaign of1898(Philadelphia, 1970), p .ix; John M. D obson, America'sAscent: The United States Becomes a Great Power, 1880—1914 (D e K alb, 111., 1978), p. 2. 7. W illiam M cKinley, '‘Instructions to the Peace Com m issioners,” Septem ber 16 ,18 9 8 , in U.S. Departm ent o f State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations ofthe United States, 8.




1898 (W ashington, D .C., 19 0 1), p. 907, and Speeches andAddresses, pp. 18 6 -8 7. Ernest May, ImperialDemocracy: The Emergmce ofAmerica as a Great Power (N ew York, 19 6 1), p. 1 59; Richard W. Leopold, The Growth ofAmerican Foreign Policy (N ew York, 1965), p. 170; D obson, America'sAscent, p. 106; Jam es A . Henretta, W. E lliott Brow n­ lee, D avid Brody, and Susan Afloat, America's History, 2d ed. (N ew York, 1993), p. 638; M argaret Leech, In the Days ofMcKinley (N ew York, 1959), p. 189; H. Wayne M organ, William McKinley and His America (Syracuse, 1963), p. 374; Walter K arp, The Politics of War: The Story ofTwo Wars WhichAltered Foreverthe PoliticalLife oftheAmerican Republic, 1890-1920 (N ew York, 1977), p. 4. W illiam Jam es to Thom as Flournoy, June 17 ,18 9 8 , in Ralph Barton Perry, The Thought and Characterof Williamfames, 2 vols. (Boston, 1935), 2:308; William E . Leuchtenburg, ‘T h e N eedless War with Spain,” American Heritage, February 19 57, p. 95; G . J. A . O T oo le, The Spanish War: An American Epic—1898 (N ew York, 1984), p. 17 . M cKinley, Speeches andAddresses, p. 288; A . Lawrence Low ell, ‘T h e Colonial Expan­ sion o f the United Statesl ' Atlantic Monthly, February 1899, p. 14 7; Henry William Elson, History of the United States ofAmerica (N ew York, 1905), pp. 1 1 3 - 1 4 ; Samuel Flagg Bem is,^4 Diplomatic History ofthe UnitedStates, 4th ed. (N ew York, 195 5), p. 475; Samuel Flagg Bem is, A Short History ofAmerican Foreign Policy and Diplomacy, rev. ed. (N ew York, 1964), p. 275; Henretta ct al., America's History, p. 678; S. E . Form an, Our Republic: A BritfHistory oftheAmerican People (N ew York, 1929), p. 686. Tony Sm ith, America's Mission (Princeton, 1994), p. 39; New York Herald Tribune Book Review, February 11,19 6 2 , p. 8; O T o o le, The Spanish War, p. 18 ; Joh n Richard Alden, Rise oftheAmerican Republic (New York, 19 6 3 )^ . 578; O sgood, Ideals andSelf-Interest, p. 42; Gilm an M. Ostrander, American Civilisation in the FirstMachineAgf, 1890-1940 (N ew York, 1970), pp. 1 1 1 - 1 2 ; H. W. Brands, The Reckless Decade:America in the 1890s (N ew York, 1995), p. 4.

1 2. Charles Conant, The United States in the Orient (Boston, 1900), p. 63. 13 . Jam es A . Field Jr., “Am erican Imperialism: The ‘Worst Chapter’ in Alm ost Any

Book,” American HistoricalReview*) (June 1978): 645. 14. G eorge F. Kennan , American Diplomacy, 1900-1990 (Chicago, 19 5 1), p. 19 ; Daniel M. Sm ith, TheAmerican Diplomatic Experience (Boston, 1972), p. 210 ; Leopold, Growth of

American Foreigp Policy, p. 17 7 ; William H. N elson and Frank E . Vandiver, Fields of Glory (N ew York, i960), p. 156; Allan Keller, The Spanish-American War: A Compact History (N ew York, 1969), p. 8 5; Robert H. Ferrell, American Diplomacy:A History, rev. ed. (N ew York, 1969), p. 382; Riegel and Long, TheAmerican Story, 2 :12 2 ,12 5 .

Notes toPages 111-16

15 5

1 5. Foster Rhea D ulles, Prelude to WorldPower, 1898-19J4 (N ew York, 19 54 ),p. 179; H arry J. Carm an, Harold C. Syrett, and Bernard W. Wishy,y4 History oftheAmerican People, 2 vols., 3d ed. (N ew York, 1967), 2:29 3-96; Sidney Lens, The Forging of the American

Empire (N ew York, 19 7 1), p. 174; Robert H. W iebe, The Searchfor Order, 1877-1920 (N ew York, 1967), p. 241 ; A lex Waugh, A Family ofIslands (Garden City, N .Y., 1964), p. 3 13 ; Thom as A . Bailey, A Diplomatic History of the American People, 7th ed. (N ew York, 1964), p. 468. 16. Joseph E . W isan, The Cuban Crisis as Reflected in the New York Press, 189J-1898 (N ew York, 1934), p. 460; O ’Toole, The Spanish War, pp. 388, 390; Frank Thisdethwaite,

The Great Experiment (Cambridge, M ass., 193 3), p. 288; H. Wayne M organ, America's Road to Empire: The War with Spain and Overseas Expansion (N ew York, 1963), p. 83; Thom as A . Bailey and D avid M. Kennedy, TheAmerican Pageant, 2 vols. (Lexington, M ass., 1987), 2:6 12; Jam es Truslow Adam s, The Epic ofAmerica, 2d ed. (N ew York, 19 4 1),P- 33717 . Woolsey, America's Foreign Policy, pp. 10 6 -7 . 1 8. For useful historiographical discussions o f the treatment o f imperialism, see Edward P. Crapol, “ Com ing to Term s with Em pire: The H istoriography ofLate-N ineteenthCentury Am erican Foreign Relations,” Diplomatic History 16 (Fall 1992): 373-9 7 ; Joseph A . Fry, “ Im perialism , Am erican Style, 18 9 0 -19 16 ,” in G ordon M artel, ed.,

American Foreign Relations Reconsidered, 1890—199} (London, 1994), pp. 32 -7 0 ; and E r­ nest R. May, “Am erican Imperialism: A Reinterpretation,” Perspectives in American History 1 (1967): 12 1-2 8 3 . 19. M organ, America's Road to Empire, pp. xii, 11 3 ; Richard H. Collin, Theodore Roosevelt: Culture, Diplomacy, and Expansion (Baton Rouge, 1983), pp. 10 7 -8 , 138 ; Leopold, Growth ofAmerican Foreign Policy, p. 180. 20. D ie rk s,^ Leap toArms, pp. 2 0 1-2 . 2 1. Lloyd C. Gardner and William L. O ’N eill, Looking Backward: A Réintroduction to American History, 2 vols. (N ew York, 1974), 2:264. 22. M cKinley, Speeches andAddresses, pp. 18 8 -8 9 , 3 I2 > 3 18 - 19 , 340. 23. Louis B. Wright et al., The DemocraticExperience: A ShortAmerican History (N ew York, 19 6 3),p. 316 ; Julius W. Pratt, America's ColonialExperiment (N ew York, 19 30 ),pp. 2 -3 ; Allan N evins and Henry Steele Comm ager, America: The Story ofa Free People (Boston, 19 4 3),p. 42 3; Tony Sm ith, The United States and the World Wide Strugglefor Democracy in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, 1994), p. 43; D exter Perkins and Glyndon G . Van Deusen, The American Democracy: Its Rise to Power (N ew York, 1962), p. 403; D exter Perkins and Glyndon G . Van Deusen, UnitedStates of'America:A History, 2 vols. (N ew York, 1962), 2 :2 6 1-6 3. 24. Talcott Williams, “ Cuba and Arm enia,” Century Magazine, February 1898, p. 633; Joseph B. Foraker, “ O ur War with Spain: Its Jusrice and Necessity,” Forum 25 (June 1898): 394. 23. CongressionalRecord, 19 0 1, 34, app., pt. 4:337. 26. Roger Burlingam e, TheAmerican Conscience (N ew York, 1937), p. 377. 27. O ’Toole, The Spanish War, pp. 17 - 18 ; O sgood, Ideals and Self-Interest, pp. 29,42. 28. Charles M. Thom pson, History of the United States, rev. ed. (Chicago, 1922), p. 474; Collin, Theodore Roosevelt, p. 10 3; J. Rogers Hollingsworth, The Wbirligg of Politics (Chicago, 1963), p. 1 56. 29. D avid F. Trask, The Warwith Spain in 1898 (N ew York, 19 8 1), p. ix; M organ, America's


Notes to Pages 116-22

Road to Empire, p. ix; Benson Lossing, History of the United Statesfrom the Aboriğnal Times to the Present Day, 8 vols. (N ew York, 1909), 7:1988; Irving Werstein, 1898: The Spanisb-American War (N ew York, i960), p. 128; Robert D. Schulzinger, American Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century, 3d ed. (N ew Y ork, 1994), p. 16. 30. William M cKinley, “ M essage o f the President,” Decem ber 5,18 9 9 , in U.S. D epart­ ment o f State, Pcpers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1899 (Wash­ ington, D .C., 19 0 1), p. xxix. 3 1. H arry F. Guggenheim , The United States and Cuba (N ew York, 1934), p. 17 ; Sumner Welles, Relations between the United States and Cuba (W ashington, D .C., 1934), p. 2; H arry S. Trum an, “Address before a Jo in t Session o f the Congress in O bservance o f the 50th Anniversary o f Cuban Independence,” April 19 ,19 4 8 , in Public Pepen ofthe

Presidents ofthe United States: Harry S. Truman, 1948 (Washington, D.C., 1964), p. 225; Washington Post, A pril 2 7 ,19 4 8 , p. 12 ; Earl E . T. Smith, The Fourth Floor (N ew York, I962),p. 2}. 32. New York Times,]\Ay 19 ,18 9 8 , p. 6. 33. Congressional Record, 19 0 1, app.^57; Elihu Root to Leonard Wood, January 1, March 2 ,19 0 1, Correspondence between General Leonard Wood and Secretary o f War, 18 9 9 -19 0 2, Records o f the Bureau o f Insular Affairs, Record G roup 350, N a­ tional Archives, W ashington, D.C. 34. CongressionalRecord, i9 o i,ap p .:358 (Scudder),.and 34, p t 4:3375 (Gibson); O rville H. Platt, ‘T h e Solution o f the Cuban Problem ,” The Worlds Work 2 (May 19 0 1): 7 3 1. 3 5. Roberto Fernandez Retamar, “ Cuba Defended: Countering Another Black Legend,”

SouthAtlanticQuarterly 96 (W inter 1997): 106. 36. Em ilio Roig de Leuchsenring, Cuba no debe su independencia a los Estados Unidos (Havana, 1950), p. 15 3. For a general discussion o f revisionist historiography, see D uvon C. Corbitt, “ Cuban Revisionist Interpretations o f Cuba’s Struggle for Inde­ pendence,” HispanicAmerican HistoricalReview 32 (August 1963): 395-404. 37. Revolution, January 3, 1959, p. 4; Fidel Castro, Pensamiento de Fidel Castro, 2 vols. (Havana, 1983), 1:3 . 38. César Leante, “ E l dia inicial,” in Jo sé Rodriguez Feo, ed., A qui once cubanos cuentan (M ontevideo, 1967), p. 90. 39. “ 24 de febrero,” Revoludôn, February 2 3,19 5 9 , p. 24. 40. Esteban M ontejo, The Autobiography of a Runaway Slave, trans. Jocasta Innés (1966; N ew York, 1968), pp. 2 18 - 19 . F ° r interviews with other mambises, see Félix Con­ treras, “ Con el centenario a cuestas,” Cuba, O ctober 1968, pp. 4 8 -5 1. 4 1. Enrique G ay Calbô, “ Sintesis republicana de Cuba,” Humanismo 7 (Jan uary-A p ril ï 959)>P-


42. Teresa Casuso, Cuba and Castro, trans. Elm er G rossbetg (N ew York, 19 6 1), pp. 43,49. 43. Revoludôn,January 5 ,19 5 9 , p. 4. 44. Revolution,January 14 (p. 2), 17 (p. 14), February 20 (p. 2), 1959, 45. Revolution, February 2 5 ,19 5 9 , p. 4. 46. Revolution, January 7 ,19 5 9 , p. 5; Guillerm o Cabrera Infante, “ Som os actores en una historia increlble,” Revolution,January 16 ,19 5 9 , p. 15 ; Bernardo D iaz, “Justicia americana,” Revolution, January 16 ,19 5 9 , p. 4; “ Contra el perdôn,” Revolution, January 15 , 1959, p. 4; “ Esta tarde la cita es en Palacio,” Revolution, January 16 ,19 5 9 , p. 1. 47. New York Times Book Review, O ctober 2 9 ,19 6 1, p. 22; Ruby Hart Phillips, Cuba: Island

ofParadox (N ew York, 19 59 ),p. 7; PubticPapersofthePresidents ofthe UnitedStates: Dwight D Eisenhower, 19J9 (W ashington, D .C., n.d.), p. 2 7 1.

Notes to Pages 122-yi


48. Philip S. Foner titled his history The Spanish-Cuban-American War and the Birth of

American Imperialism, 2 vols. (N ew York, 1972). Editor Benjam in R. Beede in his encyclopedia used “ Spanish-Cuban/Am erican War” and explained that this usage was meant to convey “ the fact that the war in Cuba had been largely won by the Cuban revolutionaries before [the] U.S. intervention” ; Beede, The Warof1898and U S. Interventions, 1898-19)4 (N ew York, 1994), p. xi. Thom as G . Paterson called the conflict the “ Spanish-Am erican-Cuban-Filipino War in order to represent all the m ajor par­ ticipants and to identify where the war was fought and whose interests were m ost at stake” ; Paterson, “ United States Intervention in Cuba, 1898: Interpretations o f the Spanish-Am erican-Cuban-Filipino War,” History Teacher 19 (May 1996): 34 1. In rec­ ognition that the Cubans “ already had the Spanish armies so hard pressed,” G il­ bert L. Lycan suggested that it “ should not be called the "Spanish-American War/ but the ‘Cuban-Spanish-Am erican War9” ; Lycan, Twelve Major Turning Points in American

History (Deland, Fla., 1968), p. 112 . Samuel Flagg Bem is entitled his chapter on 1898 the “ Cuban-Spanish-Am erican War” and wrote in his prefatory comments: “ O n the fiftieth anniversary o f Cuban independence occurred a symposium o f Cuban histo­ rians met to commemorate the batde o f Santiago, where Am erican soldiers had assisted Cuban veterans to turn decisively the tide to victory over Spain in 1898. T h e war, declared the Cuban scholars, was a G v^-Span ish-A m erican War, not m erely a Spanish-Am erican War as historians in the United States and elsewhere had been calling it. The corrective is well pointed. It was in truth a Cuban-Spanish-Am erican War, and henceforth so it should be called” ; Bem is, A Short History, p. 275. 49. Sumner Welles, “ Is Am erica Im perialistic?” Atlantic Monthly, Septem ber 1924, p. 4 14 .


Notes to Pages i)i-)2

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY T h e reader w ith an interest in 1898 has available a vast and an extraordinarily rich body o f literature from w hich to choose, from articles to books, from sw eeping surveys to narrow ly focused m onographic studies. T h is essay provides a general guide to various aspects o f the literature considered useful fo r further reading and research. It does not intend to be com prehensive but suggestive, w ith a particular i f selective focus on tides that deal w ith the U nited States and Cuba. A n equally volum inous collection exists on perspectives derived from the experiences o f Spain, the Philippine Islands, and Puerto R ico. Perhaps the m ost com plete bibliographical guide to the U.S. literature is found in A nne C iprian o V enzon, The Spanish-American War. A n Annotated Bibliography (N ew Y o rk , 1990), a volum e that contains nearly 1,20 0 annotated entries and a useful subject index. T h e single m ost com prehensive annotated guide to the C uban histor­ ical literature is found in A raceli G a rd a C arranza, Bibliografia de laguerra de independent

da, riyy—iiy S ( H avana, 1976). T h e m ost useful essays exam ining various historiographical fle e ts o f 1898 in ­ d u d e T h om as G . Paterson, “ U nited States Intervention in C uba, 1898: Interpreta­ tions o f the Spanish-A m erican-C uban-Filipino War,” History Teacher 29 (M ay 1996): 3 4 1—6 1; H ugh D eSantis, “ T h e Im perialist Im pulse and A m erican Innocence, 18 6 5— 1900,” in G erald K . H aines and J. Sam uel W alker, eds., American Foreign Relations:

A Historiographical Review (W estport, C onn ., 19 8 1), pp. 65—90; E dw ard P. C rapol, “ C om ing to Term s w ith E m pire: T h e H istoriography o f Late-N ineteenth-C entury A m erican Foreign Relations,” Diplomatic History 16 (Fall 1992): 573—97; W alter LaFeb er, “T h at ‘Splendid L ittle W ar’ in H istorical Perspective,” Texas Quarterly 1 1 (1968): 8 9 -9 8 ; Jo se p h A . Fry, “ W illiam M cK in ley and the C om ing o f the SpanishA m erican W ar: A Study o f the Besm irching and Redem ption o f an H istorical Im ­ age,” Diplomatic History 3 (W inter 1979): 7 7 -9 7 ; Ephraim K . Sm ith, “ W illiam M c­ K in ley’s E n du rin g Legacy: T h e H istoriographical D ebate on the Taking o f the Philippine Islands,” in Jam es C. B rad ford , ed., Crudblt o fEm pire: The Spanish-American

War and Its Aftermath (A nnapolis, 19 93), pp. 2 0 5 -4 9 ; Jo se p h A . Fry, “ From O pen D o o r to W orld System s: E con om ic Interpretations o f Late-N ineteenth-C entury A m erican Foreign Relations,” Parific Historical Review 6 5 (M ay 1996): 2 7 7 -3 0 3 ; and A lexan der D eC on de, American Diplomatic History in Transformation (W ashington, D .C ., 1976). O ne o f the better essays on the changing trends in Cuban historiography on 1 898 is D u von C . C orbitt, “ Cuban R evision ist Interpretations o f C uba’s Struggle fo r Independence,” HispanicAmerican HistoricalReview 3 2 (August 1963): 395—404.

• • • A m on g the m ost valuable sources fo r the study o f the w ar are the official govern ­ m ent docum ents, correspondence, and reports appearing at the time. O f particular


use are the U.S. D epartm ent o f State’s Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations o f the

UnitedStates, especially betw een 18 9 ) and 1898. T h e U.S. W ar D epartm ent published vast quantities o f docum entation in the years im m ediately follow in g the w ar, the m ost im portant o f w hich are U.S. W ar D epartm ent, A djutant G en eral’s O ffice,

Correspondence Relating to the War with Spain (W ashington, D .C ., 1898) and Military Notes on Cuba (W ashington, D .C ., 1898); and U.S. W ar D epartm ent, AnnualReport o f the WarDepartment, sSpp (W ashington, D .C ., 1899). Salient congressional docum ents include U.S. C ongress, Senate, Report o f the Commission Appointed by the President to Investigate the Conduct ofthe WarDepartmentin the Warwith Spain, 56th C ong., is t sess., 8 vols. (W ashington, D .C ., 1900); U.S. C on gress, Report o f the Committee on Foreign Relations: Affairs in Cuba, 55 th C ong., ad sess. (W ashington, D .C ., 1898); and U.S. C ongress, Senate, Consular Correspondence Respecting the Condition ofthe Reamcentrados in Cuba, the State ofthe Worin That Island, and the Prospects o fthe ProjectedAutonomy, 5 5th C o n g , ad sess. (W ashington, D .C ., 1898). O th er governm ent sources o f value are U.S. N avy D epartm ent, Sampson-Schley: Official Communications (W ashington, D .C ., 1899), and U.S. Treasury D epartm ent, Report on the Commercialand Industrial Condition

ofCuba (W ashington, D .C ., 1899). A significant num ber o f docum entary sources w ere also published in Cuba. Betw een 1903 and 1958 the annual Boletin delArchivo Nationalde Cuba provided som e o f the m ost im portant archival m aterials relating to the w ar fo r independence and the U.S. intervention. A m on g oth er sources, the m ost useful are C uba, Secretaria de G ob em aciô n , Documentas bistôricos (H avana 19 12 ); Academ ia de la H istoria de C uba,

Cronieas de laguerra de Cuba (H avana, 19 37 ); Jo aq u in Llaverias y M artinez and E m eterio Santovenia, eds., Actas de tas Asambleas de Représentantesy del Cornejo de Gobiemo

durante laguerra de independencia, 6 vols. (H avana, 19 2 7 -3 3); and L eo n Prim elles, ed., L a revolution del p j segûn la correspondencia de la delegation cubana en Nueva York, 5 vols. (H avana, 19 3 2 -3 7 ).

• • • Som e o f the m ost m eaningful sources fo r the study o f 1898 are available in the form o f first-person narratives. T h e published autobiographies, m em oirs, diaries, and correspondence o f prom inent participants in the events o f 1898, including politi­ cians, m ilitary officers, diplom ats, and journalists, constitute an extensive body o f m aterial o f vital im portance in the study o f U.S. dom estic politics and foreign policy during the final years o f the nineteenth century. T h e first-person literature provides inform ation and insight in w ays often unobtainable from other sources. O f particu­ lar value are the general w orks o f governm ent officials w ho w itnessed o r participated in the form ulation o f policy in 1898. T h e m ost im portant o f these are the accounts by Secretary o f W ar R ussell A . A lger, The Spanisb-American War (N ew Y o rk , 19 0 1), and Senator H enry C abot L od ge, The War with Spain (B oston , 1899). A lso useful is the diary o f M cK inley’s secretary o f the navy, Jo h n D avis L o n g, edited by L . S. M ayo, entitled America o f Yesterday as Reflected in thefoum al o fJohn David Long (N ew Y ork, 19 23). M any prom inent m em bers o f C ongress, som e o f w hom played im portant roles in the events o f 1898, also provided vital inform ation in m em oirs and auto­ biographies. T h e m ost helpful include Shelby M . C ullom , Fifty Years ofPublic Sendee (C hicago, 19 11) ; Jo se p h Benson Foraker, Notes ofa Busy L ife, 2 vo ls., 3d e d . (Cincin­ nati, 19 17 ); G eo rge F. H oar, Autobiography o fSeventy Years, 2 vols. (N ew Y o rk , 1903); and Cham p C lark, My Quarter Century o fAmerican Politics, 1 vols. (N ew Y o rk , 1920).

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O ther autobiographies provide insight into m ilitary and diplom atic aspects o f the com ing and conduct o f the w ar. G en eral Jam es H . W ilson, w ho played a leading role in the developm ent o f U.S. policy in Cuba and served as go vern or o f M atanzas province during the U.S. m ilitary occupation o f the island, produced a highly in fo r­ m ative m em oir, Under the Old Flag: Recollections ofMilitary Operations in the Warfor the

Union, the Spanish War, and the Bracer Rebellion, z vols. (N ew Y ork, 19 12 ). H oratio Rubens, Liberty: The Story o f Cuba (N ew Y o rk , 19 32), a m em oir w ritten by the legal counsel o f the C uban junta in N ew Y o rk , offers insight into som e o f the m ost im portant facets o f the com ing o f the w ar from the Cuban view. T h eodore R oose­ velt, Autobiography (19 13 ; N ew Y o rk , 1946), is lim ited but inform ative. T h e auto­ biography o f G en eral N elso n A . M iles, the ch ie f o f the U.S. arm y during the w ar,

Serving the Republic (N ew Y o rk , 19 11) , provides a detailed account o f the cam paign in Cuba and Puerto R ico. A lso o f value is the study by naval officer French E . Chad­ w ick, The Relations o fthe UnitedStates andSpain: The Spanisb-American War, 2 vols. (N ew Y o rk , 19 11) . T h e diary o f W hitelaw R eid, Making Peace with Spain: The Diary of

Whitelaw Reid, September—December 1898, ed. H . W ayne M organ (A ustin, 19 65), is a valuable source fo r the study o f treaty negotiations w ith Spain from the U.S. per­ spective. O th er useful m em oirs include O liver O. H ow ard, Fighting fo r Humanity (N ew Y o rk , 1898); Frederick Funston, Memories of Two Wars (N ew Y o rk , 19 14 ); and (M rs.) G arrett H obart, Memories (M t V ernon, N .Y ., 1930). T h e C uban cam paign, both as arm y operations and as naval actions, has p ro­ duced a vast literature. T h e first-person accounts o f arm y and naval personnel, reporters, and participants o f all kinds constitute a splendid corpus o f sources. In the U nited States the popularity o f the w ar all but guaranteed an eager reading public fo r these chronicles. A m on g the m ost useful accounts w ritten by U.S. officers and soldiers are T h eodore R oosevelt, The Rough Riders (N ew Y o rk , 1920); Jo h n D . M iley, In Cuba with Sbcfter (N ew Y o rk , 1899); A rthu r L . W agner, Report ofthe Santiago Cam­ paign, 1898 (K an sas City, M o., 1908); E . J. M cC lernand, ‘T h e Santiago Cam paign,” Infantry Journal 2 1 (Septem ber 19 22): 280—303; Jo se p h W heeler, The Santiago Cam­ paign o f 1898 (N ew Y ork, 1898); Jam es A . M oss, Memories of the Campaign ° f Santiago (San Fran cisco, 1899); B u rr M acin tosh, The Little I Saw in Cuba (N ew Y o rk , 1899); T h om as W inthrop H all, The Fun and Fighting o f tire Rough Riders (N ew Y o rk , 1899); T h eod o re W. M iller, Rough Rider: H is Diary as a Soldier (A kron, O hio, 1899); Charles Fu ller, What a New York Trooper Saw o f the War (N ew Y o rk , 1900); Jo h n H . Parker, History ofthe Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, at Santiago (K an sas City, M o., 1898); C harles F. G auvreau, Reminiscences o f the Spanisb-American War in Cuba and the Philippines (N ew Y o rk , 19 15 ); and C harles J. P ost, The Little War o fPrivate Post (B os­ ton, i960). T h e Society o fS an tiago de C uba, TheSantiago Campaign: Reminiscences ofthe Operationsfo r the Capture o fSantiago de Cuba in the Spanisb-American War (Richm ond, V a., 19 27), contains m ore than thirty separate first-person accounts o f various as­ pects o f U.S. m ilitary operations, including the artillery, infantry, Rough R iders, chaplaincy corp s, and quarterm aster’s departm ent. A m o n g the first-person accounts o f naval operations in Santiago de C uba are C harles E . C lark, My Fifty Years in tire Navy (B oston, 19 17 ); W illiam A . M . G o o d e,

With Sampson through the War (N ew Y o rk , 1899); E dw ard Stratem eyer, Fighting in Cuban Waters; or, Under Schley on the Brooklyn (B oston , 1899); Jo se p h C . G ann on , The



U.S.S. Oregon and the Battle o fSantiago (N ew Y o rk , 19 58); and R obley D . E van s, A n Adm iral’s Log (N ew Y o rk , 19 10 ). T h e journalists w h o accom panied the U.S. arm y to C uba also provide valuable insight into the Santiago cam paign. T h ese include G eo rge K en nan , Campaigning in

Cuba (N ew Y o rk , 1899); Stephen B o n sai, The Fightfo r Santiago (N ew Y o rk , 1899); Jo h n Bigelow , Reminiscences o fthe Santiago Campaign (N ew Y o rk , 1899); R ichard H ard­ in g D avis, The Cuban and Porto Rican Campaigns (N ew Y o rk , 1898); Irvin g H ancock,

What One Man Sanı Being the Personal Impressions o fa War Correspondent in Cuba (N ew Y o rk , 1898); and T h om as J. V ivian , The F all i f Santiago (N ew Y o rk , 1898). A lso in form ative are the dispatches prepared by Stephen C rane, subsequendy com piled and entided The War Despatches o fStephen Crane, ed. R . W. Stallm an and E . R . H agem an (N ew Y o rk , 1964). T h e m em oir by B rid sh journalist Jo h n B. A tkin s, The Warin

Cuba: TheExperience o fan Englishman with the UnitedStatesArmy (Lon d on , 1899), gives different perspecdves on U.S. m ilitary operations. C harles H . B row n, The Correspon­ dents’ War:foumalists in the Spanisb-American War (N ew Y o rk , 1967), is a highly in fo r­ m ative account o f the role and im portance o f journalists during the war. N o less valuable are the first-person reports o f Cuban o fficers and soldiers. Som e o f the m ost inform ative accounts o f the conduct o f the w ar fo r independence, b efo re and after the U.S. intervention, can be found in the m em oirs and rem inis­ cences o f Cuban insurrectos. A m on g the best representatives o f this literature are M âxim o G ôm ez, Diario de campana del mayorgeneral Maximo Cornet^ (H avana, 1940); M anuel A rb elo, Recuerdos de la ultima guerra por la independencia de Cuba, 1896-1898 (H avana, 19 18 ); L u is M iranda y de la R ua, Con M artiy con Calixto Garcia (recuerdos de un mambidel99) (H avana, 19 4 )); L u is R od olfo M iranda, Diario de campana delcomandante Luis RodofoMiranda, ed. M anuel I. M estre (H avana, 19 54); M ariano C oron a Ferrer, D e la manigua (ecos de la epopeya) (Santiago de C uba, 1900); R od olfo B etgés Tabares, Cubaj Santo Doming): Apuntes de la gurra de Cuba de mi diario de campana, 1899—1898 (H avana, 19 05); M anuel Piedra M artel, Memorial de un mambi (H avana, 1966); Bernabé B o za, M i diario deguerra, desde B aire hasta la intervenciôn americana, 2 vols. (H avana, 1900—1904); and W alfredo Ibrahim C onsuegra, Diario de campana: Guerra de indepen­ dencia, 189j —1898 (H avana, 1928).

• • • T h e first histories o f the w ar w ere published alm ost im m ediately after the arm istice. C ontem porary historical texts tend to be im pressionistic, often journalistic in style, and are generally o f lim ited value, except that they are them selves a product o f the tim e and thereby serve as a useful insight into perceptions and perspectives o f 1898. T h e m ost com plete include H enry F. K een an , The Confia with Spain (Philadelphia, 1898); H enry B . R u ssell,^4 « IllustratedHistory tfO ur Warwith Spain: Its Causes, Incidents,

and Results (H artford , 1898); H enry H oughton B eck, Cuba’s Fightfo r Freedom and the War with Spain (Philadelphia, 1898); Trum bull W hite, United States in Warmth Spain and the History ofCuba (C hicago, 1898); M arrion W ilcox, A Short History ofthe Warmth Spain (N ew Y o rk , 1898); Jam es Rankin Y ou ng, History o f Our War with Spain (n.p., 1 898); H enry W atterson, History of tlx Spanish-American War, Embracing a Complete Renew o f Our Relations with Spain (B oston, 1898); O scar Phelps A ustin , Uncle Sam’s Soldiers:A Story ofthe Warmth Spain (N ew Y o rk , 1899); N athan C. G reen , The Warmth Spain andStory ofSpain and Cuba (Baltim ore, i8 9 8 );E lb rid g eS . B ro oks, The Story ofOur War with Spain (B oston , 1899); W illiam A . Jo h n sto n , History up to Date: A Concise

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Account o f the War o f1898 between the United States and Spain, Its Causes and the Treaty of Paris (N ew Y o rk , 1 899); Charles M orris, The War with Spain:A Complete History ofthe War o f1898 between the United States and Spain (Philadelphia, 1899); R ichard H . Titherington, A History ofthe Spanish-American War of 1898 (N ew Y o rk , 1900); and Jo h n R . M ustek, Cuba U b re:A Story ofthe Hispano-Amerkan War (N ew Y o rk , 1900). M urat H alstead, F u ll Official History of Üre War with Spain (Philadelphia, 1899), provides one o f the earliest com pilations o f official U.S. com m unications and corre­ spondence during the w ar. A lo n g sim ilar lines, H enry F. K een an , The Conflict with

Spain: A History o f the War with Spain Based upon Official Reports and Descriptions of Eyewitnesses (Philadelphia, 1898), includes useful accounts o f the cam paign in C uba and the Philippines. A num ber o f richly illustrated contem porary publications provide extraordinary photographic records o f the w ar in both the Caribbean and the P a c ific A m on g the m ost com plete are Harper's Pictorial History o f the War with Spain (N ew Y o rk , 1899), and Trum bull W hite, Pictorial History o f Our War with Spainfo r Cuba’s Freedom (Chi­ cago, 1898). In the decades that follow ed, general accounts o f the w ar w ith Spain appeared w ith alm ost predictable regularity. T h e w orks tend to be uneven in quality and often lim ited in scop e, but in the aggregate they constitute d ie corpus o f historical litera­ ture that fram es the larger historiographical issues o f 1898 in the U nited States. T h e earlier published w orks include H orace E d gar Flack, Spanish-American Diplomatic Relations Preceding the Warof1898 (Baltim ore, 1906); W alter M illis, The M artialSpirit: A Study o f Our War with Spain (B oston , 19 3 1); Ju liu s W. Pratt, The Expansionists of 1898 (Baltim ore, 19 36 ); and Irvin g W erstein, 1898: The Spanish-American War (N ew Y o rk , 1966). Frank Freidel, The Splendid Little War (B oston , 19 58 ), is a highly accessible account o f the war. A llan K eller, The Spanish-American War:A Compact History (N ew Y o rk , 1 969), p rovides a general overview o f the international dim ensions o f the w ar. A m on g representative titles o f general histories o f the w ar published during the last thirty years are H . W ayne M organ, America’s Road to Em pire: The Warmth Spain and

Overseas Expansion (N ew Y o rk , 19 63); Ja ck Cam eron D ierks, A Leap to Arm s: The Cuban Campaign of 1898 (Philadelphia, 1970); D onald B arr Chidsey, The SpanishAmerican Itfürr (N ew Y o rk , 19 7 1); P h ilip S . Foner, The Spanish-Cuban-American Warand the Birth ofAmerican Imperialism, 2 vols. (N ew Y o rk , 19 72); D avid F. T rask, The War with Spain in 1898 (N ew Y o rk , 19 8 1); Lew is L . G o u ld , The Spanish-American War and PresidentMcKinley (Law rence, K an s., 19 82); and G . J. A . O ’T oole, The Spanish War:A n American Epic—1898 (N ew Y o rk , 1984). T h e nine essays published in Jam es C . B rad ­ fo rd , ed., Crucible ofEm pire: The Spanish-American War and Its Aftermath (A nnapolis, 19 9 3), deal variously w ith diplom acy, naval and m ilitary operations, and historiogra­ phy. Jo h n T ebbel, America’s Great Patriotic War with Spain (M anchester Center, V t , 1 996), gives a lively history o f the w ar, w ith particular attention to the role o f racism in the shaping o f U.S. policy. A w ell-researched account o f the con flict is found in Jo h n L . O ffn e r,^ « Unwanted War: The Diplomacy ofthe UnitedStates andSpain over Cuba,

1899-1898 (Chapel H ill, 1992). G erald F. Linderm an, The M irror o f War: American Society and the Spanish-American War(A nn A rb or, 19 74), provides a highly inform ative account o f the dom estic facets o f the w ar. A vast and exceedingly useful encyclo­ pedic com pendium w as edited under the careful supervision o f Benjam in R . B eede,

The War o f1898 and U S. Interventions, 1898—1994 (N ew Y o rk , 1994).

BibliographicalEssay 1 6 3

Treatm ent o f the w ar w ith Spain and its afterm ath also form s a central p art o f the literature that deals generally w ith the rise o f the U nited States as a w orld pow er during the final decades o f the nineteenth century and the early years o f the tw en­ tieth. Som e o f the m ost com plete accounts o f these years include Foster R hea D ulles, Prelude to World Power: American Diplomacy History, 1860—1900 (N ew Y o rk , 19 65); W alter L aFeber, The New Em pire: A n Interpretation ofAmerican Expansion, i860—

1898 (Ithaca, 19 6 3); C harles S. Cam pbell, The Transformation o fAmerican Foreign Rela­ tions, 1869—1900 (N ew Y o rk , 1976); Jo h n M . D ob son , America’sAscent: The UnitedStates Becomes a Great Power, 1880-1914 (D eK alb , 111., 1978); W alter K arp , The Politics of War: The Story ofTwo Wars WhichAltered Foreverthe PoliticalL ife oftheAmerican Republic, 1890— 1920 (N ew Y o rk , 1979); R ichard H . C ollin , Theodore Roosevelt: Culture, Diplomacy, and Expansion (Baton R ouge, 19 85); and R obert L . Beisner, From the Old Diplomacy to the New, 1869-1900 (A rlington H eights, 111., 1986). A num ber o f published articles m erit consultation, including A lex C am pbell, “ T h e Spanish-A m erican War,” History Today 8 (A pril 1958): 239—4 7; Philip S. Foner, “ W hy the U nited States W ent to W ar w ith Spain in 1898,” Science and Society 32 (1968): 39—63; N ancy L . O ’C onnor, “ T h e Spanish-A m erican W ar: A R e-Evaluation o f Its C auses,” Science and Society 22 (1958): 12 9 —4 3; and W illiam E . Leuchtenburg, ‘T h e N eedless W ar w ith Spain,” American Heritage 8 (February 19 57): 32—4 1, 95. A lso useful is the essay by Jam es A . Field Jr ., “Am erican Im perialism : T h e *Worst C hapter’ in A lm ost A n y B o ok,” American Historical Review 8 3 (Ju n e 1978): 644—68, published in the form at o f the “A H R Forum ,” w hich includes thoughtful responses from W alter LaFeb er and R obert L . Beisner. Cuban scholars have accorded the w ar o f independence betw een 18 9 ; and 1898 a place o f singular prom inence in the national historiography. T h e literature encom ­ passes the separatist p rocesses, often represented as a thirty-year struggle beginning in 1 868 w ith the Ten Y ears W ar and culm inating in 1898 w ith the U.S. intervention. T h e latter approach is best represented in E m ilio R oig de Leuchsenring, L a guerra

libertadora cubana de los treinta anos, 1868—1898 (H avana 19 32). A m ong the m ore useful w orks dealing w ith the period 18 9 3—98 are E velio R odriguez Len diân, L a revolucién de 1899 (H avana, 1926); M iguel V arona G u errero, L a guerra de independencia de Cuba, 1899-1898, 3 vols. (H avana, 1946); and Ram ön de A rm as, L a revolucién pospuesta (H avana, 19 73). T h e U.S. intervention has been a particular them e in Cuban histo­ riography, usually w ith 1898 servin g as the point o f departure and concluding w ith the end o f the m ilitary occupation in 19 02. T h e outstanding w orks include H erm inio Portell V ila, Historia de la guerra de Cubay los Estados Unidos contra Espana (H avana, 1949), and the m agisterial Historia de Cuba en sus relaciones con ks Estados Unidosy

Espana, 4 vols. (H avana, 19 3 8 -4 1). E m ilio R oig de Leuchsenring, Cuba no debe su independencia a los Estados Unidos (H avana, 19 30), advanced one o f the earliest and m ost com pelling cases fo r revision ist historiography. O ther useful general w orks dealing w ith 1898 in Cuba are E nrique C ollazo, Los

americanos en Cuba (H avana, 19 0 3); Jo sé N avas, Cubay los Estados Unidos (H avana, 1 9 1 î); Jo sé A n ton io M edel, L a guerra hispano-americanay sus resultados (H avana, 19 29); and Felipe M artinez A rango, Cronologfa critica de la guerra hispano-cubano-americana (Santiago de C uba, i960). A lso o f value are H erm an Reichard E steves, “ T h e U nited States, Spain, and the Maine, o r the D iplom acy o f Frustration,” Revista,/Review Inter-

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am ericanaı{ı^ıf): 5 4 9 - 5 8, and R ear A dm iral G eo rge W. M elville, “ T h e D estruction o f d ie Battleship ‘M aine,’ ” North American Review 19 3 (Ju n e 19 11) : 8 3 1—49.

• • • M uch o f the U.S. historical literature has focused on specific facets o f the com ing o f d ie w ar and the cam paign in C uba. T h e role o f the press and public opinion has lo n g constituted a subject o f special in terest O ne o f the better, i f now slighdy dated, analyses o f the relarionship betw een the com ing o f the w ar and the press is found in Jo se p h E . W isan, The Cuban Crisis as Reflected in the New York Press, 1 89j —1898 (N ew Y o rk , 19 34). T h e relarionship betw een public opinion and foreign policy is dealt w ith expertly in M arcus M . W ilkerson, Public Opinion and the Spanish-American War (B aton R ouge, 19 32). O ther useful treatm ents o f the role o f public opinion in 1898 are foun d in Thom as A . Bailey, The Man in the Street: The Impact o fAmerican Public

Opinion on Foreign Policy (N ew Y o rk , 1948); G ab riel A . A lm on d, The American People andForeign Policy, 2d ed. (N ew Y o rk , i960); Jo h n E . M ueller, War, Presidents, and Public Opinion (N ew Y o rk , 19 7 3); and R obert C. H ildebrand, Powerand the People: Executive Management o fPublic Opinion in Foreign Affairs, 1897-1921 (Chapel H ill, 19 8 1). T h e destruction o f the Maine has been a staple o f the 1898 literature. C harles D. Sigsbee, w h o w as captain o f the ship w hen it sank in H avana harbor, provided a valuable first-person account in The “Maine”: A n Account ofH er Destruction in Havana

Harbor (N ew Y o rk , 1899). A reexam ination o f the original court o f inquiry, w ith far different conclusions, w as provided by A dm iral H ym an G . R ickover, How the Battle­ ship “Maine” Was Destroyed (W ashington, D .C ., 1976). O th er accounts o f interest include G reg o ry M ason, Remember the “Maine” (N ew Y o rk , 19 39); Jo h n Edw ard W eem s, The Fate of the “Maine” (N ew Y o rk , 19 58 ); and P eggy Sam uels and H arold Sam uels, Remembering the “Maine" (W ashington, D .C ., 1993). A useful C uban account is foun d in T ib u rcio P. Castaneda, L a explosion delMainey laguerra de los Estados Unidos con Espaha (H avana, 19 25). Specialized studies have m ade im portant contributions to an understanding o f vital aspects o f the war. G raham A . C osm as, A n Armyfo r Em pire: The United States

Army and the Spanish-American War (C olum bia, M o., 19 7 1), provides the best single account o f the U.S. arm y in the c o n flic t Perspectives on the naval cam paign can be obtained in G eo rge Edw ard G raham , Schley and Santiago (C hicago, 1902). A lso useful is R ichard D . Challener, Admirals, Generals, and American Foreigp Policy, 1898—1914 (P rin ceton , 19 73). A m ong the better w orks dealing w ith the A frican-A m erican experience and the w ar include W illard B. G atew ood Jr ., “Smoked Yankees" and the

Strugglefo r Em pire: Lettersfrom Negro Soldiers, 1898—1902 (U rbana, 111., 19 7 1), and Black Americans and the White Man’s Burden, 1898—1909 (U rbana, 111., 19 75). In terest in U.S. m ilitary operations in C uba—the Santiago cam paign—has p ro­ duced a useful body o f literature. O ne o f the m ost detailed accounts is found in H erbert H . Sargent, The Campaign ofSantiago de Cuba, 3 vols. (Chicago, 1907). O ther w orks include A n astasio C . M . A zoy, Charge! Story o fthe Battle ofSanJuan H ill (N ew Y o rk , 19 6 1), and W .C . D od so n , The Santiago Campaign ofMajor GeneralJoseph Wheeler (A tlanta, G a ., 1899). T h e Cuban literature on the final m onths o f the w ar in O riente province is sim ilarly helpful and should be used in conjunction w ith U.S. accounts. Perhaps the m ost detailed study is found in A nlbal E scalan te B eatôn , Calixto Garcia: Su campana

BibliographicalEssay 165

en e lf j (H avana, 1978). O ther im portant Cuban studies include C o sin e de la T o rriente, CaJixto Gama coopéré con lasfueryas armadas de las E E . UU. en 1S9S, cumpliendo irdenes delgpbiemo cubano (H avana, 19 5a ), and E m ilio R oig de Leuchsenring, Laguerra bispano-cubanoamericanafu iganadapor el lugartenientegeneraldelEjército Libertador CaJixto Garcia Inigue\ (H avana, 19 55).

• • • T h at 1 898 intersected at a vital juncture o f U S . history all but guaranteed that d ie w ar w ould figure prom inendy in alm ost all genres o f the historical literature. T h is period is particularly w ell treated in biographies o f som e o f the m ost prom inent political and m ilitary leaders o f the tim e, m any o f w hom w ere involved, in som e form , w ith the com ing o f the w ar, the conduct o f d ie w ar, o r postw ar policies. A m on g the m ore useful biographies o f G ro ver C leveland are R oland H ugins, Grover

Cleveland: A Study in Political Courage (N ew Y o rk , 19 2z); A llan N evin s, Grover Cleve­ land: A Study in Courage (N ew Y o rk , 19 32 ); R exford G . Tugw ell, Grover Cleveland (N ew Y o rk , 1968); and R ichard E . W elch Jr ., The Presidencies o f Grover Cleveland (Law rence, K an s., 1988). F o r the m ore inform ative biographies o f W illiam M cK inley, see C harles H . G rosven or, William McKinley: H is L ife and Work (W ashington, D .C ., 19 0 1); C harles S. O lcott, The L ife o f William McKinley (B oston , 19 16 ); M argaret L eech , In the Days o f

McKinley (N ew Y o rk , 19 59 ); H . W ayne M organ, William McKinley and H is America (Syracuse, 19 6 3); and L ew is L . G o u ld , The Presidency i f WHüamMcKinley (Law rence, K an s., 1980). U seful biographies o f C leveland’s secretary o f state, R ichard O lney, include H enry Jam es, Richard Olney and H is Public Service (B oston , 19 23), and G erald C . E g g e rt, Richard Olney: Evolution ofa Statesman (U niversity Park, Pa., 1974). A usable biography o f M cK inley’s secretary o f state, Jo h n Sherm an, is found in T h eodore E . B u r t o n , Sherman (B oston , 1906). B iograph ies o f T h eodore R oosevelt have assum ed the proportions o f a cottage industry. T h ey include W illiam D raper L ew is, The L ife of Theodore Roosevelt (N ew Y o rk , 19 19 ); W illiam R oscoe T hayer, Theodore Roosevelt: A n Intimate Biography (B os­ ton , 19 19 ); Jo se p h Bucklin B ish op , TheodoreRooseveltandH is Time, 2 vols. (N ew Y ork, 1920); G o d frey R . B en son , Theodore Roosevelt (B oston , 19 2 3); W alter F. M cCaleb,

Theodore Roosevelt (N ew Y o rk , 19 3 1); H enry F. Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography (N ew Y o rk , 19 3 1) ; Jo h n M orton Blum , The Republican Roosevelt (Cam bridge, M ass., 1 954); D avid H enry B urton , Theodore Roosevelt (N ew Y o rk , 19 7 2); and N athan M iller, Theodore Roosevelt:A L ife (N ew Y o rk , 1992). T h is w as also an era o f pow erful senators, m any o f w hom participated in the m ultiple facets o f the form ulation o f foreign policy. T h e historical literature is replete w ith biographies o f m any senators w ho figured prom inendy in the political transactions o f 18 9 5 -9 8 . A m ong the m ost useful are L eo n B u rr R ichardson, Wil­ liam E . Chandler.• Republican (N ew Y o rk , 1940); Frederick H . G illett, George Frisbie Hoar (B oston , 19 34 ); Richard E . W elch Jr ., Georgy F. Hoar and the Half-Breed Republi­ cans (Cam bridge, M ass., 19 7 1); D oroth y G an field Fow ler, fobn C at Spooner: Defender o fPresidents (N ew Y o rk , 19 6 1); E lm er E llis, Henry Moore Teller: Defender o f the West (C aldw ell, Idaho, 19 4 1); L o u is A . C oolidge,y4 xr Old-Fashioned Senator: OrviUe H . Platt of Connecticut (N ew Y o rk , 19 10 ); O scar D oan e Lam bert, Stephen Benton E lkins (Pitts­

166 BibliographicalEssay

burgh, 19 55 ); E verett W alters, Joseph Benson Foraker: A n Uncompromising Republican (Colum bus, O hio, 1948); K a rl Schriftgiesser, The Gentlemanfrom Massachusetts: Henry

Cabot Lodge (B oston , 1944); Jo h n A . G arraty, Henry Cabot Lodge: A Biography (N ew Y o rk , 19 ) 3); N athaniel W right Stephenson, Nelson W. Aldrich: A Leader in American

Politics (N ew Y o rk , 19 30); Claude G . Bow ers, Beveridge and the Progressive E ra (Cam ­ bridge, M ass., 19 32 ); and H erbert Croly, Manus Alonso Hanna: H is L ife and Work (N ew Y o rk , 19 12 ). B iograph ies o f H ouse m em bers during these years include W il­ liam A . R obin son , Thomas B. Reed: Parliamentarian (N ew Y o rk , 19 30); Jam es M cG u rrin, Bourke Cochran (N ew Y o rk , 1948); and Sam H anna A c h e so n ,/« Bailey: The Last

Democrat (N ew Y o rk , 19 32). T h e biographies o f m ilitary officers are also an im portant source o f inform ation. F o r the m ost relevant to 1898, see W illiam H arding C arter, The L ife of Lieutenant

General Chaffee (C hicago, 19 17 ); Jo h n R D yer, “Fightin’Jo e" Wheeler (Baton R ouge, 19 4 1); E dw ard G . Lon gacre, From Union Stars to Top H at: A Biography o fGeneralJames Harrison Wilson (N ew Y o rk , 19 72); V irgin ia W. Jo h n so n , The Unregimented General:A Bioggapby o fNelson A . Miles (B oston , 19 62); Paul H . C arlson, “Pecos B ill": A Military Biography of William R Sbafter (C ollege Station, T ex., 1989); A . J. B acevich , Diplomatin Khaki: Major General Frank Ross McCoy and American Foreign Policy, 1898—1949 (Law ­ rence, K an s., 1989); H eath Tw ichell, A llen: The Biography ofan Army Officer, 1899-19)0 (N ew B run sw ick, N .J., 19 74); and H erm ann H agedorn, Leonard Wood:A Bicgraphy, 2 vols. (N ew Y o rk , 19 3 1).

• • • Finally, o f the various genres o f U.S. historical scholarship, the subject o f 1898 loom s largest in the literature on U.S. foreign relations. From general college textbooks to specialized m onographic studies, 1898 figures prom inendy in all discussions o f latenineteenth-century foreign policy and diplom acy. T h e literature is indeed volu ­ m inous, varied, and very uneven. Representative texts include R andolph G reen field A dam s, A History of the Foreign Pokey of the United States (N ew Y o rk , 19 33); Jo h n H olladay Latané and D avid W. W ainhouse,y4 History o fAmerican Foreign Policy, 2d ed. (N ew Y o rk , 1940); R ichard W. Van A lstyn e, American Diplomacy in Action (Stan ford, 19 4 7); R ichard W. Leo p o ld , The Growth o fAmerican Foreign Policy (N ew Y o rk , 19 62); D exter Perkins, The Evolution o fAmerican Foreign Pokey, 2d ed. (N ew Y o rk , 1966); Ju liu s W. Pratt, A History of United States Foreign Policy, 3d ed. (E n glew ood C liffs, N .J., 19 72); W ayne S. C ole, A n Interpretative History ofAmerican Foreign Relations, rev. ed. (H om ew ood, 111., 1974); A rm in R appaport, A History o fAmerican Diplomacy (N ew Y o rk , 19 75); R obert H . Ferrell, American Diplomacy: A History (N ew Y o rk , 19 75); Jera ld A . C om bs, The History ofAmerican Foreign Policy (N ew Y o rk , 1986); H ow ard Jo n e s, The Course o fAmerican Diplomacy, 2 vols., 2d ed. (Chicago, 1988); T h om as G . P aterson , J. G arry C lifford , and K enneth J. H agan, American Foreign Relations: A

History, 2 vols., 4th ed. (Lexin gton , M ass., 19 9 ;); Sam uel Flagg B em is,y4 Diplomatic History of the United States (N ew Y o rk , var. ed.); A lexander D eC on de, A History of American Fomgyt Pokey, z vols. (N ew Y o rk , var. ed.); and T h om as A . Bailey, A Diplo­ matic History ofthe American People (N ew Y o rk , var. ed.). Som e o f the m ore specialized w orks that m erit consultation include Foster R hea D u lles, America’s Rise to WorldPower, 1898-1994 (N ew Y o rk , 1954),and Prelude to World Power: American Diplomatic History, 1869-1900 (N ew Y o rk , 19 6 }); E rn est R . M ay, Impe­

BibkoggaphicalEssay 167

rialDemocracy: Tbt Emergence ofAmerica as a Great Power (N ew Y o rk , 19 6 1); Jo h n A . S. G ren ville and G eo rge Berkeley, Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy: Studies in Foreign Policy, ifyy—iyiy (N ew H aven, 1966); D avid H ealy, US. Expansionism: The Imperialist Urge in the 1890s (M adison, 19 70); and W alter LaFeber, The American Age, 2 vols., 2d ed. (N ew Y o rk , 1994).

168 BibliographicalEssay

INDEX Adam s, Jo h n Q uincy, 3 ,4 6 ; on annexa­ tion o f Cuba, 4; opposition to Cuban independence, 13 Adee, A lvey A ., 82 A lger, Russell A .: and destruction o f

1 1 —1 2; on arm istice, 16 - 1 7 ; and U.S. intervention, 20 D upuy de Lom e, Enrique, letter, 16 ,

56 D yer, G eo rge L ., 12

Maine, 60; and Santiago cam paign, 9 z~ 9 i Atkins, E dw in , 28

E ato n , Jo h n H ., 6

Autonom ist governm ent: and

Elkin s, Stephen, 49

Eisenhow er, D w ight D ., 13 0 - 3 1

colonial reform s, 8 ,10 ; rejected

E scario, Federico, 87—88

by loyalists, 9

Estrada Palm a, Tom as, 9; and filibuster­ in g expeditions, 15

Barker, W alter, 9 Barringer, D aniel, 6

Fernandez Retam ar, R oberto, 125

Batista, Fulgencio, 126

Fish , H am ilton, 13

Bayard, Jam es, 4

Foraker, Jo sep h B.: and T eller Am end­

Beveridge, A lbert, 28 Blanco, Ram ôn, 8; on arm istice ( 1898),


m ent, 3 1 ; on public opinion, 6 9 ,74; and U.S. policy, 12 0 Forsyth, Jo h n , 6

Buchanan, Jam es, 4 -5 G age, Lym an J., i J Cam eron, D onald, 14 Castro, Fidel, 12 6 —2 7 ;on Platt Am end­ m ent, 129

G a rd a, C alixto, 2 6 ,12 6 ,12 7 - 2 8 ; opposed to autonom y, 9; on Cuban m ilitary operations, 1 1 ; rejects

Clay, H enry, 13

arm istice, 18 ; attitude toward U.S.

Clayton, Jo h n M ., 6

intervention, 2 1; relations w ith U.S.

Cleveland, G rover: on Cuban insurrec­

army, 86; role in Santiago cam paign,

tion (18 9 5), 7 - 8 ; attem pts to pur­

94; and surrender o f Santiago de

chase C uba, 1 4 , 1 5; and U.S. neutral­

Cuba, 9 7-9 8 ; dispute w ith U.S. army,

ity law s, 1 4 - 1 5 ; and public opinion,


74 C orliss, Jo h n B ., 35 Cullom , Shelby M ., 60

G ôm ez, M àxim o, 2 6 ,5 6 ,7 4 ,9 8 ; insis­ tence upon independence, 8 - 9 ,10 ; on Cuban m ilitary operations, 1 1 ; rejects arm istice, 18 ; and destruction

D aw es, Charles, 30 D ay, W illiam : on Cuban insurrection,

o f property, 54 G onzalez Clavell, C arlos, 86


G riggs, Jo h n , 82

M ahan, A lfred Thayer, 48; on cause

G uam , 3, i ) i

o f w ar, 30; and Santiago cam paign,

G uggenheim , H arry, 125

88 Maine (battleship), 1 0 , 1 6 , 1 1 2 ; sus­

H aw kins, H am ilton, 92

pected Cuban role o f, 3 4 - 3 3 ; explo­

Hay, Jo h n , 98

sion o f, 3 8; and W illiam M cK inley,

H earst, W illiam Randolph, 7 1,7 3

3 8 , 6 1 , 7 3 —76; explanation as cause

H ow ard, Q Q , 97

o f w ar, 38—6 4 , 1 1 4 - 1 3 ; in U S . his­ toriography, 6 2 - 6 4 ,6 8 —6 9 , 1 1 2>

Im perialism , 3; in U.S. historiography, J 9»43» 5 9 ,7 *. 1 1 6 - 1 9 ,1 2 0 Irvin g, W ashington, 6

1 1 4 —1 3; and public opinion, 6 4 -6 9 ,

70,76 M arcy, W illiam L ., 4 M arti, Jo sé , 20

Jefferso n ,T h o m as, 5 ,6 ,4 6 Jo in t Resolution (18 9 8 ), 30, 3 1, 34 ,4 9 ; Cuban response to, 2 1; and E lihu

M asô, Bartolom é, 10 ; opposition to arm istice, 18 M éndez C apote, D om ingo, 12

R oot, 3 3 ,4 9 ; and Platt Am endm ent,

M iles, N elson A ., 60

34; in U S . historiography, 38

M onroe, Jam es, 3 M oret, Segism undo, 16

Lee, Fitzhugh, 10 ; on Cuban insurrec­ tion, 12

M usic, as expression o f sym pathy for Cuban independence, 2 4 -2 6

Linares, A rsenio, 10 4 ,10 3 ; and defense o f Santiago de C uba, 9 3-9 3 Lodge, H enry Cabot: view o f Cuban independence, 12 ; and defense o f U.S. interests, 30; on public opinion,

O lney, Richard, 8; opposition to Cuban independence, 13 ; on Teller Am end­ m ent, 28; and public opinion, 73 O stend M anifesto, 3

69; on destruction o f Maine, 78; on cause o f w ar, 98 Ludlow , W illiam , 29

Philippine Islands, 3 , 4 3 , 4 9 , 1 2 0 , 1 3 1 ; insurrection in, 8; and batde o f M anila, 2 1; and W illiam M cKinley,

M aceo, A ntonio, 2 0 ,2 6 M cK inley, W illiam , 8, 3 2 ,4 6 ; op p osi­

1 1 3 ,118 -19 Pierce, Franklin, 3

tion to Cuban independence, 1 2 ,1 4 ,

P i y M argall, Francisco, 10

30, 37; and de Lom e letter, 16 ; and

Platt, O rville: on Teller Am endm ent,

arm istice (189 8), 17 ,3 6 ; and U.S.

28, 3 0 - 3 1 ; and Platt Am endm ent,

intervention, 18 ,3 4 ; m essage o f

3 3; and Cuban constituent assem bly,

C ongress, 19 ,4 8 ; and Jo in t R esolu­ tion, 2 1, 30; and Teller Am endm ent, 29 ,48 ; decision fo r w ar, 4 1; and pub­

124 Platt Am endm ent, 1 2 6 , 1 2 9 , 1 3 2 ; and U.S. policy, 3 3 ,3 3 ; Cuban oppo­

lic opinion, 4 1,7 4 ,7 5 - 7 6 ,7 7 - 7 8 ; in

sition to, 3 3 - 3 4 ; acceptance o f, 34;

U S . historiography, 4 3 - 4 4 ,74~77,

Leonard W ood on, 33; and Cuban

n r , 2nd Maine, 3 8 ,6 1,7 3 -7 6 ; rela­

independence, 35—36, 37 -38 ; in U.S.

tions w ith C ongress, 7 6 -7 7 ,7 9 -8 0 ;

historiography, 38 ,4 4 ; and E lih u

. explanation o f w ar, 1 1 1 ; role as w ar­ tim e president, 1 1 2 - 1 4 ; and Philip­ pines, 1 1 3 , 1 1 8 - 1 9

170 Index

R oot, 12 4 Press: “ yellow journalism ,’’ 16 ; W illiam Randolph H earst, 7 1 , 7 3 ; role in pre-

cipitadng w ar, 7 2 -7 3 ; in U.S. histori­ ography, 7 2 -7 4 Public opinion: sym pathy fo r Cuban

Scudder, Tow nsend, 3 2 ,12 0 ; and Platt Am endm ent, 34 Shafter, W illiam R ., 8 2 ,9 2; opposition

independence, 39 -4 0 ; as cause o f

to Cuban independence, 29; rela­

war, 3 9 -4 0 ,4 8 ,7 0 -7 4 ; in U.S. histo­

tions w ith Cuban arm y, 8 3 -8 4 ,9 8 ;

riography, 4 0 - 4 1 .44» 69-7*» 73; influence on W illiam M cK inley, 4 1,

and Santiago cam paign, 8 6 ,8 9 -9 0 ,

74» 7 5 _ 7 6 ,7 7 -7 8 ; and explosion o f

Sherm an, Jo h n , 9; on Cuban indepen­

Maine, 6 4 -6 9 ,7 7 —78

10 4 dence, 1 1

Puerto R ico, 3 ,2 1 - 2 2 ,4 3 ,4 9 ,1 3 1

Sm ith, E arl E . T , 12 3

Q uesada, G on zalo de, 20

Teller Am endm ent, 2 1,2 4 , 3 2 , 4 8 , 1 1 8 ; and public opinion, 28; opposition

Reid, W hitlaw, 19 ; opposition to Teller Am endm ent, 28 Roosevelt, T h eodore, 4 8 ,5 0 ,9 9 ; on Cuban independence, 36; and explo­

to, 2 8 -2 9 ; interpretation o f, 3 0 - 3 1 ; in U S . historiography, 37; as source o f intervention, 42; and E lih u R oot,

sion o f Maine, 6 0 ,7 8 ; participation in

49 Toom bs, R obert, 4

Santiago cam paign, 92; on Cuban

Trum an, H arry, 12 3

army, 9 5,9 6 Root, E lih u , 3 2 ,8 3 ; and P latt Am end­

W ebster, D aniel, 3

m ent, 33, 3 4 ,1 24; on Jo in t Resolu­

W elles, Sum ner, 13 2

tion (189 8), 3 3 ,4 9 ; and defense o f

W heeler, Jo sep h , 92

U.S. strategic interests, 4 8 -4 9

W ilson, Jam es H ., 2 8 -2 9

Rubens, H oratio, 17 ; and U.S. interven­ tion, 20 Sam pson, W illiam T , 8 2-8 3

W ood, Leonard: and U.S. occupation o f Cuba, 32; and Platt Am endm ent, 34, Î5 W oodford, Stew art, 1 5 —16; opposition

Sanguily, M anuel, 34

to Cuban independence, 14 ; pro­

Santiago cam paign, ; 2; and W illiam

posed purchase o f Cuba, t6; and

Shafter, 85; Cuban participation in,

arm istice (1898), 1 6 , 1 7

8 6 -8 9 ,9 }“ 9 6 ,9 9 - 10 1; and U.S. operations, 9 1—10 2 ; in U.S. historiog­

Young, Sam uel B. M ., 92

raphy, 9 9 -10 7

Index 171