Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 27 >> Siam to The Growth And Con >> Siam_P1


cuba, spain, trade, war, cuban and united

Page: 1 2 3


Cuba and the Spanish War.—The rela tions of the United States with Cuba have been impressed with a sense of the latter's geographi cal importance, jealousy of its control by any other state than Spain and a desire for undis turbed trade and settled government. To Cuba, Monroe's declaration of policy has applied with peculiar force. The slave interest before 1860 at one time dreaded a free Cuba, at another desired its annexation. Purchase was several times offered, as in 1847, and in 1854 under the foolish threat of the Ostend manifesto (see OSTEND MANIFESTO), but Spain declined. Dur ing the Civil War, Spain showed some sym pathy for the South, although it was Southern influence that had coveted the island. The lib eral revolution of 1868 in Spain was reflected in Cuba, but there cruelly put down. There ensued a disturbed decade when our neutrality was enforced in spite of aroused sympathy, some filibustering, and an offer of mediation, 1869. Cuban belligerency was not recognized, though Grant came within an ace of such ac tion. In 1878 the rebellion collapsed, in 1894 it broke out again. In the interval had come illusory reforms, better trade under reciprocity with the United States and steady misgovern ment. We were nearly affected by the new insurrection, in damage to trade and the bur den of preventing filibustering. Yet what remedy was there? Recognition of Cuban inde pendence was out of the question, since inde pendence as a fact did not exist. Recognition of Cuban belligerency was inconsistent with our usage and would have hurt our trade still more, while releasing Spain from all further responsibility for losses in Cuba. There re mained inaction or intervention. The hand of the administration was forced early in 1898 by the destruction of the warship Maine in Havana Harbor, attributed by many to Spanish agencies, though a court of inquiry fixed no responsi bility. War resulted. The chief points at issue before the peace commissioners at Paris were the assumption of the Cuban debt by Spain and the disposition of the Philippines.

After a struggle and the payment of a sola titan, Cuba was set free without being saddled with the cost of her ravaging, and the Philip pines were ceded to the United States. So strong was the opposition to this last, as an act of domestic policy, that the Senate barely ratified the treaty. But as it has turned out our retention of the Philippines has been a test of character applied to this country which it has successfully met. For by reforming the land system of the islands, by giving them modern education, by developing communica tions and enforcing order, by training in self goVernment, in short by sacrificing our own in terests rather than squeezing for our own profit, we have lived up to the best ideals of colonial government.

The Great War and Our Neutrality.— The European War, which began in August 1914, affected deeply the whole civilized world. But so large a part of that world was belligerent as to make the neutral fraction relatively powerless. The only wea pons possessed by the United States were against Germany, the seizure of some OW of merchant shipping lying up in our ports; against England, an embargo of munitions and food stuffs. The first meant a break, perhaps a war, with Germany; the second meant a com mercial panic. Our position, therefore, when it became apparent that both belligerents were bent upon infringing our rights as neutrals, was extremely difficult. We complained of German mine laying in the open sea, of her brutally illegal submarine methods, illustrated in the Lusitania, of her plots to prevent our trade in contraband which even attempted the destruction of our factories and ships; we corn plained likewise of the British methods of block ade, their definition of contraband, their ex traction of noxious persons from neutral ships on the high seas, their seizure of mails and exasperating delay in remedial process.

Page: 1 2 3