Paul Leland Haworth.

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Squadron" under Commodore Schley was as-
sembled at Hampton Roads in readiness to meet
the movements of a Spanish squadron of four
armored cruisers and three destroyers that had
been sent from Spain under Admiral Cervera.
The battleship Oregon, stationed at San Francisco,
set out on a long and spectacular voyage of 14,000
miles round South America, arriving in West
Indian waters in time to do splendid service. As
the destination of Cervera's fleet was unknown,
much uneasiness was manifested in coast towns and
summer resorts. But it presently developed that
Cervera had no intention of attempting anything
so bold. After touching at various West Indian
ports he finally, with all his vessels except one
destroyer, put into the harbor of Santiago. Here
he was soon blockaded by the Flying Squadron,
and presently by both American fleets.

As the entrance to the harbor was long and
narrow and commanded by fortifications, it was
deemed inexpedient for the American vessels to



THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN 181

attempt to enter, and it was also thought that
it would be well if the egress of the Spanish fleet
could be rendered impossible. On the night of
June 2d Lieutenant Richmond Pearson Hobson,
with seven volunteers, sailed with the steam
collier Merrimac into the channel under a terrific
fire and endeavored to sink her at a spot that
would block the exit of the Spanish ships. The
Merrimac did not sink quickly enough, and the
attempt failed fortunately, as the event proved.
Hobson and his men were captured, but were
presently exchanged. The gallantry of the exploit
won high praise from a world-wide audience.

In order to insure the capture of the blockaded
fleet, a land attack was now planned against
Santiago. In the middle of June some thirty
transports, convoyed by men of war, sailed from
Port Tampa, Florida, bearing about sixteen
thousand troops. The embarkation was attended
with great disorder, for the war department
had broken down under the strain of actual
warfare. The army was commanded by Major-
general Shafter, an officer from Michigan. It
consisted chiefly of regular troops, but included
in it were three volunteer regiments.

Not so much because of its services in this
campaign but rather because of its indirect in-
fluence upon political history, one of these volun-
teer regiments demands more than passing notice.
Officially it was called the First Volunteer Cavalry;
popularly it went by the name of the Rough
Riders, because it was composed in large measure
of western cowboys, prospectors, and Indians,
with a sprinkling of eastern football players.



182 RECONSTRUCTION AND UNION

It was commanded by Colonel Leonard Wood,
an ex-army surgeon who had won the coveted
Medal of Honor by heroism in campaigns against
the Apaches. Its second in command was Theo-
dore Roosevelt. At this time Roosevelt was not
quite forty years of age, and came of a long line
of Knickerbocker ancestors. After graduating
from Harvard he had entered the New York
legislature, where he quickly won an enviable
record as a reformer. In 1886 he was the Republi-
can candidate for mayor of New York but was
defeated. He spent some years ranching in
western Dakota, and was an enthusiastic hunter
of big game. He did valuable service as a civil
service commissioner, as police commissioner of
New York City, and as assistant secretary of the
navy. In the midst of these varied activities he
found time to write the best history then extant
of the naval War of 1812 and a more elaborate
work on "The Winning of the West," which set
in true perspective the importance of the great
westward movement over the Alleghanies. Per-
sonally he was frank, impulsive, courageous,
strenuous, an ardent American in the best sense
of the term. When congress authorized the rais-
ing of "three cavalry regiments from among the
wild riders and riflemen of the plains," he was
offered command of one of them, but, doubting
his technical military knowledge, secured the
appointment of his friend Wood, with himself
as second in command. The regiment quickly
caught the popular fancy, because of its pictur-
esqueness. The dispatches of war correspondents
from the front gave the Rough Riders a promi-



THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN 183

nence out of all proportion to their military per-
formances excellent as these proved to be.

The army safely disembarked at Daiquiri and
Siboney near Santiago. On June 24th General
Joseph Wheeler, a distinguished ex-Confederate
cavalry officer, moved forward with a force of dis-
mounted cavalry including the Rough Riders
and struck an advanced Spanish force at Las
Guasimas. After a fierce fight in the hot tropical
forest the Spanish fled in confusion. On the
1st of July the army moved against the outer
defenses of Santiago, and fought two spirited
actions on and around San Juan Hill and at
El Caney. Owing to the illness of the unwieldy
Shafter, both actions were won through the
efficiency of the soldiers and regimental officers
rather than through skillful generalship. At San
Juan the Rough Riders were again in the thick
of the fight. Roosevelt, who was now in com-
mand of the regiment, Wood having been pro-
moted, led the charge in his part of the field and
was one of the first in the Spanish intrenchments.

On the morning of the 3rd, fearing capture
from the besieging army, all the Spanish fleet
except one vessel emerged from the harbor and
endeavored to escape to the westward. A running
fight ensued, at the end of which every Spanish
vessel was a blackened wreck on the coast of
Cuba. Only one American was killed and one
wounded. In the conflict the Oregon especially
distinguished herself, both by her speed and
fighting efficiency. At the time of the battle
Admiral Sampson was absent with the flagship
New York, and the senior officer present was



184 RECONSTRUCTION AND UNION

Commodore Schley. As he issued no orders to
the other ships, the battle was really a "captains'
fight," but there was "honor enough for all."
Two weeks later Santiago surrendered, with more
than ten thousand prisoners.

The destruction of Cervera's fleet proved the
decisive battle of the war. Another Spanish
fleet that was on its way eastward to the Philip-
pines turned back at the news in order not to
leave the coast of Spain undefended. It was
evident that the Spanish troops in Cuba, cut off
from supplies and reinforcements, could not long
hold their own. An army under Major-general
Miles landed in Porto Rico and carried everything
before it. European pressure was brought to
bear upon Spain, whose finances were in a de-
plorable state. Spanish honor being satisfied,
a protocol was signed at Washington on the 12th
of August, followed in December by a definitive
treaty. By this treaty Spain abandoned all claims
to Cuba and Porto Rico. She also ceded Guam
in the Ladrones archipelago and the Philippines,
consisting of some three thousand islands with a
heterogeneous population of upwards of seven
millions. As a solatium for the Philippines
Spain received $20,000,000.

A striking feature of the conflict had been
the unpreparedness of the army. Although our
troops were victorious in every battle, it was due
to the splendid personnel rather than to good
management. The department of war showed
itself lamentably inefficient. Political favoritism,
red tape, and general incompetence, if not criminal
carelessness, produced a state of chaos in military



THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN 185

matters that might in a war against a more re-
doubtable antagonist have resulted disastrously.
Many of the troops were sent to the burning
climate of Cuba in heavy woolen clothing, while
the rations furnished were not at all suited for
such work. A part of the food supplied consisted
of beef that had been so treated with injurious
chemicals that it gained the name of "embalmed
beef." After the surrender of Santiago the
department displayed such poor judgment that
it ordered the army, which was practically the
only efficient force the United States possessed,
to remain in a fever-infested region where it would
quickly have been "ripe for dying like rotten
sheep" had not Colonel Roosevelt and other
officers united in a "round robin" which secured
its removal home. Even in the United States
much incompetence was shown in the manage-
ment of camps of volunteers, with the result that
hundreds needlessly lost their lives from disease.
Popular indignation produced an investigation
by a commission, which brought in a report
"whitewashing" the department, yet admitting
that Secretary Russell A. Alger had failed to
"grasp the situation." President McKinley
feared to bring discredit upon the administration
by dismissing him, but a coolness between the
men ultimately developed. The president then
asked for Alger's resignation, which was forth-
coming (July 19, 1899). Alger was succeeded
by Elihu Root, a New York lawyer, under whose
energetic and intelligent administration great
reforms were accomplished in military matters.



186 RECONSTRUCTION AND UNION

As a war the conflict had been so small as to be
contemptible. Fewer Americans had fallen in it
than had been killed in combats of the great
Civil contest that had not risen above the dignity
of skirmishes. But in its effects the war was a
world movement. For better or for worse, the
United States had quitted its traditional policy
of isolation and had stepped at last upon the
broad stage of international affairs. The restless
energy that had conquered the continent west-
ward to the Pacific had now carried the flag
beyond the narrow confines of the western hemi-
sphere. Doubtfully, somewhat unwillingly, the
nation stooped to take up "the White Man's
burden," and assumed the government of strange
peoples, "hah* devil and hah* child," in lands
beyond the seas.

At the outbreak of the war congress had
expressly disclaimed for the United States all
intention of acquiring the island of Cuba. There
were Americans dishonorable enough to counsel
that this solemn pledge should be broken, but
the great majority favored giving the Cubans
independence. A provisional government was
instituted by the United States to prepare the
way for self-government, and many improvements
in law, education, and sanitation were introduced.
Yellow fever was practically stamped out, and
Major Walter Reed, a United States army sur-
geon, made the important discovery that the
disease is transmitted by a mosquito. The sani-
tation question was one in which the United States
was itself deeply interested, for in the past many



THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN 187

of the outbreaks of yellow fever within the States
were traceable to Cuba.

In February, 1901, a Cuban convention com-
pleted a constitution for the island closely mod-
eled after that of the United States. Upon demand
from Washington there was subsequently em-
bodied in this constitution an amendment to
the effect that no foreign power should be per-
mitted to acquire or control any Cuban terri-
tory, that the Cuban government should not
incur a debt not justified by the revenues of the
island, that the United States should be given
naval stations on the Cuban coast, that the Cuban
government should attend to the sanitation of
the cities of the island, and that the United
States might intervene to protect Cuban inde-
pendence or to maintain "a government adequate
for the protection of life, property, and individual
liberty." This so-called "Platt amendment"
roused considerable feeling among the Cubans,
for it was practically an admission of an American
protectorate. A treaty embodying the provisions
of the amendment was subsequently negotiated
and ratified (1904), and the United States ob-
tained naval stations at Guantanamo and Bahia
Hondo. In December, 1901, a general election
was held in the island, resulting in the choice of
Tomas Estrada Palma as the first president of
free Cuba. On May 20, 1902, Governor Leonard
Wood turned over his authority to the new presi-
dent. American occupation for the time being
was at an end.

Porto Rico and the Philippines were retained



188 RECONSTRUCTION AND UNION

by the United States. Regarding the Philippines
there was grave difference of opinion, and the
treaty of cession was ratified by the narrow margin
of one vote. Many patriotic Americans thought
that the same course should be followed in the
Philippines as in Cuba. Others gravely doubted
whether a people so heterogeneous in race, reli-
gion, and customs could govern themselves. It
was believed that if the Filipinos were given their
independence, anarchy would break out, and
that the islands would fall a prey to Germany or
some other power. Exaggerated ideas were afloat
as to the tremendous wealth of the islands, and
there was much talk about trade "following the
flag." It was popularly supposed that possession
of the islands would add greatly to our revenues
and would powerfully increase our prestige in the
Orient.

Under the leadership of Emilio Aguinaldo, an
educated man of mixed Spanish and Tagalic
blood, the Filipinos had aided in the capture of
Manila and felt that they ought to be allowed to
occupy it. The continued arrival of fresh Ameri-
can troops and the publication of a presidential
proclamation that seemed to show an intention
on the part of the United States to retain the
islands produced a state of mind that led to a
rash step. On the night of February 4, 1899, the
Filipinos attempted to capture the city. The
attack was repulsed, and in course of time the
Americans took the offensive.

The fighting that followed was too unequal to
deserve the name of warfare. The Filipinos



THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN 189

frequently fought with desperate courage, but
they were poorly armed with bolos and a few
rifles, and were no match for the stalwart, straight-
shooting Americans. The combats were massa-
cres rather than battles. The Filipinos were
unable to keep the field, and the struggle degen-
erated into a guerrilla contest that was much
more trying to the conquerors than open hostili-
ties. Famine and pestilence added their horrors
to the ravages of war, and it has been estimated
that in the three years that the conflict endured
some hundreds of thousands of Filipinos perished.
In March, 1901, by means of a clever stratagem,
Brigadier-general Frederick Funston, an officer
who had served with the Cubans as a filibuster,
captured Aguinaldo, and gradually resistance
ceased.

The conflict had been attended by many regret-
table incidents. The Americans justified their
presence in the islands on humanitarian grounds,
but their behavior was too often that of barbarians.
In isolated instances American officers, angered
by treachery or the persistence of the "Insur-
gents," resorted to torture, and the "water cure"
became a name of ill-omen in the United States.
One such officer, "Hell Roaring Jake Smith,"
issued orders to "make Samar a howling wilder-
ness . . . kill everything over ten." For this
order and as being indirectly responsible for the
shooting of prisoners without trial, he was sum-
marily dismissed from the service.

On the 4th of July, 1902, the president offi-
cially declared the islands pacified. The war had



190 RECONSTRUCTION AND UNION

cost the conquerors about $170,000,000. The
indirect expenditures resulting from the necessary
increase of the army and navy are more difficult
to determine, and the end is not yet.

It is recognized that in a military way the islands
are a source of weakness to the United States,
while the golden dream of expansionists of the
great commercial advantages that would result
from annexation has not been realized. The
total imports of American goods into the islands
for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1909, amounted
to only about $5,000,000, but under the freer
trade conceded by the Payne-Aldrich tariff the
amount has greatly increased.

In April, 1900, a civil commission of five Ameri-
cans, headed by Judge William H. Taft of Ohio,
was appointed to organize a civil government to
supersede the military government. A year
later (July 4, 1901) Judge Taft became civil
governor of the archipelago. Associated with
him was a council of four other Americans and
three Filipinos. A mixed supreme court was also
created. Every effort was made to deal fairly
with the Filipinos and to justify the American
occupation by a government conducted in their
interests. A system of secular schools was
established, and about a thousand American
teachers were sent out to educate the natives and
fit them for self-government. The movement
resembled a new crusade, and like the crusades
some of its results were disappointing. The
question of the ownership of the friars' land,
which had long disturbed the islands, was ami-



THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN 191

cably settled (1903) by negotiations with the
Vatican.

An act of congress (July 1, 1902) confirmed what
the Taft commission had done up to that time
and provided for a legislative body composed of
a representative assembly and the commission,
acting as a council. The suffrage was so hedged
about with educational and property qualifica-
tions that only about a tenth of the adult males
could qualify. This course was necessary because
many of the people were little more than savages,
some, in fact, being "head hunters"; compara-
tively few were capable of casting votes intel-
ligently. Congress retained a veto power over
all insular legislation, and provided for appeals
from the insular supreme court to the United
States supreme court. The first general election
was held in the islands on July 30, 1907, and
resulted in a decided victory for the Nationalist
or independence party. The legislature held its
first session on the 16th of the following
October.

The acquisition of the Philippines and other
islands aroused grave doubts as to whether the
American Federal system was adapted to the
government of such dependencies. Territory
previously acquired by the United States had
been sparsely populated, and the land and cli-
mate were such as to lend themselves to white
settlement. But the Philippines were already
thickly inhabited by "inferior races," while the
tropical climate was unfavorable to Caucasians.
It seemed improbable that Americans would ever



192 RECONSTRUCTION AND UNION

migrate to the islands in large numbers; it was
almost certain that the great majority of the people
would always be Malays and Mongolians. To
admit such a country into the Union as a state
seemed out of the question; it must always re-
main a dependency. If, as some contended, the
constitution follows the flag, it was evident that
the administrators of such a dependency would
be greatly hampered by parts of that document,
particularly by those amendments which are
known as the "Bill of Rights." Some people
even denied the constitutional right of the United
States to acquire such territory at all.

The administration took the ground that the
constitution does not apply to new territory until
expressly extended there by act of congress. It
held that the constitutional clause, "Congress
shall have power to dispose of and make all need-
ful rules and regulations respecting the territory
or other property belonging to the United States,"
is in effect a plenary grant. In what are known
as "the Insular Cases" the supreme court,
though badly divided, in effect adopted this
view. Congress and the president were therefore
left unhampered m the work of providing govern-
ments for the new dependencies.

The theory adopted regarding the status of the
inhabitants was that they were neither citizens
of the United States nor foreigners. The Foraker
Act of April 12, 1900, described the denizens of
Porto Rico as "citizens of Porto Rico, and as
such entitled to the protection of the United
States."



THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN 193

The acquisition of the Philippines practically
forced the United States to play a part in general
Oriental affairs. At the time of the Spanish-
American war a movement was in progress among
certain European powers to partition China.
Fearing for American commercial interests,
Secretary of State John Hay, in September,
1899, addressed notes to the various powers
insisting upon the policy of the "open door,"
i. e., that Chinese ports open to the trade of
the world should be kept open, no matter
under whose control they might fall. Not all
of the powers responded favorably, but the
United States assumed that the principle was
established.

The exploitation of China by the powers aroused
intense anti-foreign sentiment culminating'in 1900
in what was known as the Boxer movement.
Many missionaries and native Christians were
massacred, the German minister was murdered,
and the foreign diplomatic corps at Peking were
besieged in the British legation. For weeks their
fate was uncertain; it was feared that all had
been killed. Ships of the powers shelled the
Taku forts, and ultimately an allied force, in-
cluding about 2,500 Americans under Major-
general Chaffee, fought their way to the capital,
captured it, and rescued the beleaguered band.
The relieving troops behaved in many cases with
the utmost barbarity, slaughtering the Chinese
and seizing great quantities of "loot." The worst
offenders in this respect were the Russians. The
American troops generally behaved admirably,
and American influence was exerted in the direc-



194 RECONSTRUCTION AND UNION

tion of moderation and magnanimity. A great
indemnity was exacted by the powers. The
share assigned the United States was subsequently
found greatly to exceed the damages done, and
the excess was returned to China.



CHAPTER VIII

THE GOLDEN AGE OF MATERIALISM

DOUBT still exists as to the value of the terri-
torial results of the Spanish-American War, but
in one respect the conflict was an unmixed bless-
ing. The war roused a great wave of patriotic
feeling in the South such as had not been expe-
rienced since Taylor and Scott led their armies
into Mexico. For the first time since the sad
days of secession the nation became a real Union
of hearts. Volunteers for the struggle came for-
ward as freely in the South as in any other section,
and a number of distinguished ex-Confederates
accepted high commands. Both officers and
men performed their duties with high credit to
themselves, and no one felt inclined to criticise
if now and then a Southern officer, in the heat of
action, forgot himself and adjured his men to
"give the Yankees hell!" Says Roosevelt in
describing the progress of his regiment from San
Antonio to Tampa:

"We were travelling through a region where
practically all the older men had served in the
Confederate Army, and where the younger men
had all their lives long drunk in the endless tales
told by their elders, at home, and at the cross-

195



196 RECONSTRUCTION AND UNION

roads taverns, and in the court-house squares,
about the cavalry of Forrest and Morgan and the
infantry of Jackson and Hood. The blood of the
old men stirred to the distant breath of battle;
the blood of the young men leaped hot with eager
desire to accompany us. . . . Everywhere we
saw the Stars and Stripes, and everywhere we
were told, half-laughing, by grizzled ex-Confed-
erates that they had never dreamed in the by-
gone days of bitterness to greet the old flag as
they now were greeting it, and to send their
sons, as they now were sending them, to fight and
die under it."

In many other respects the war was most un-
fortunate. As invariably happens in such cases,
the conflict turned the attention of the people from
internal affairs and directed it to international
questions. There can be little doubt that needed
reforms were delayed, and that the people sub-
mitted longer to a form of tyranny none the less
oppressive because it was less tangible than
tyrannies are wont to be.

Although the chief issue in the election of 1896
had been the currency question, the first impor-
tant act of the McKinley administration was to
call a special session to revise the tariff. No
revision was needed to secure revenue, but the
manufacturing interests were clamoring for the
fruits of victory, and both McKinley and Hanna
were in full sympathy with then- desires. "Busi-
ness" was at last in full control of the government.
Hanna honestly believed in the absorption of
public franchises by the favored few and the
creation of special interests by special legislation.



GOLDEN AGE OF MATERIALISM 197

If he had defined his idea of a beneficent govern-
ment, it would have been something like this:


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Online LibraryPaul Leland HaworthReconstruction and union, 1865-1912 → online text (page 12 of 20)