A Brief History of the United States
John Bach McMaster

Part 8 out of 8

[26] The franchise has been slightly narrowed in some Northern states by
educational qualifications; but, on the other hand, in four states it has
been extended to women on the same terms as men--in Wyoming (since 1869),
Colorado (since 1893), Utah (since 1895), and Idaho (since 1896). In
nearly half the states, women can now vote in school elections. In Kansas
they vote also in municipal elections.

[27] They demanded "the free and unlimited coinage of both silver and gold
at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1"; that is, that out of one pound of
gold should be coined as many dollars as out of sixteen pounds of silver.

[28] William McKinley was born in Ohio in 1843, attended Allegheny College
for a short time, then taught a district school, and was a clerk in a
country post office. When the Civil War opened, he joined the army as a
private in a regiment in which Hayes was afterwards colonel, served
through the war, and was brevetted major for gallantry at Cedar Creek and
Fishers Hill. The war over, he became a lawyer, entered politics in Ohio,
and was elected a member of seven Congresses. From 1892 to 1896 he was
governor of Ohio.

[29] The Gold Democrats nominated John M. Palmer; and the Prohibitionists,
the National party, and the Socialist Labor party also named candidates.
But none of these parties cast so many as 150,000 popular votes or secured
any electoral votes.

[30] We contended that we had jurisdiction in Bering Sea; that the seals
rearing their young on our islands in that sea were our property; that
even though they temporarily went far out into the Pacific Ocean they were
under our protection. Our revenue cutters had therefore seized Canadian
vessels taking seals in the open sea.



THE CUBAN REBELLION.--In February, 1895, the Cubans, for the sixth time in
fifty years, rose in rebellion against Spain, and attempted to form a
republic. These proceedings concerned us for several reasons. American
trade with Cuba was interrupted; American money invested in Cuban mines,
railroads, and plantations might be lost; our ports were used by the
Cubans in fitting out military expeditions which our government was forced
to stop at great expense; the cruelty with which the war was waged aroused
indignation. During the summer of 1897 the suffering of Cuban non-
combatants was so great that our people began to send them food and
medical aid.

[Illustration: CUBA AND PORTO RICO.]

DESTRUCTION OF THE MAINE.--While our people were engaged in this humane
work, our battleship _Maine_, riding at anchor in the harbor of Havana,
was blown up (February 15, 1898) and two hundred and sixty of her sailors
killed. War was now inevitable, and on April 19 Congress adopted a
resolution demanding that Spain should withdraw from Cuba, and authorizing
the President to compel her to leave if necessary. [1] Spain at once
severed diplomatic relations, and (April 21, 1898) war began.

THE BATTLE AT MANILA BAY.--A fleet which had assembled at Key West sailed
at once to blockade Havana and other ports on the coast of Cuba. Another
under Commodore Dewey sailed from Hongkong to attack the Spanish fleet in
the Philippine Islands. Dewey found it in Manila Bay, where on the morning
of May 1, 1898, he attacked and destroyed it without losing a man or a
ship. The city of Manila was then blockaded, and General Merritt with
twenty thousand men was sent across the Pacific to take possession of the

BLOCKADE OF CERVERA'S FLEET.--Meantime a second Spanish fleet, under
Admiral Cervera (thair-va'ra), sailed from the Cape Verde Islands. Acting
Rear-Admiral Sampson, with ships which had been blockading Havana, and
Commodore Schley, with a "flying squadron," went in search of Cervera,
who, after a long hunt, was found in the harbor of Santiago on the south
coast of Cuba, and at once blockaded. [2]

[Illustration: THE PHILIPPINES.]

THE MERRIMAC.--The entrance to Santiago harbor is long, narrow, and
defended by strong forts. In an attempt to make the blockade more certain,
Lieutenant Hobson and a volunteer crew of seven men took the collier (coal
ship) _Merrimac_ well into the harbor entrance and sank her in the
channel (June 3). [3] The little band were made prisoners of war and in
time were exchanged.


BATTLES NEAR SANTIAGO.--As the fleet of Cervera could not be attacked by
water, it was decided to capture Santiago and so force him to run out.
General Shafter with an army was therefore sent to Cuba, and landed a few
miles from the city (June 22, 23), and at once pushed forward. On July 1
the Spanish positions on two hills, El Caney (el ca-na') and San Juan
(sahn hoo-ahn'), were carried by storm. [4]

The capture of Santiago was now so certain that, on July 3, Cervera's
fleet dashed from the harbor and attempted to break through the blockading
fleet. A running sea fight followed, and in a few hours all six of the
Spanish vessels were shattered wrecks on the coast of Cuba. Not one of our
ships was seriously damaged.

Two weeks later General Toral (to-rahl') surrendered the city of Santiago,
the eastern end of Cuba, and a large army.

PORTO RICO.--General Miles now set off with an army to capture Porto Rico.
He landed on the south coast (August 1) near Ponce (pon'tha), and was
pushing across the island when hostilities came to an end.

PEACE.--Meanwhile, the French minister in Washington asked, on behalf of
Spain, on what terms peace would be made. President McKinley stated them,
and on August 12 an agreement, or protocol, was signed. This provided (1)
that hostilities should cease at once, (2) that Spain should withdraw from
Cuba and cede Porto Rico and an island in the Ladrones to the United
States, and (3) that the city and harbor of Manila should be held by us
till a treaty of peace was signed and the fate of the Philippines settled.

The treaty was signed at Paris, December 10, 1898, and went into force
upon its ratification four months later. Spain agreed to withdraw from
Cuba, and to cede us Porto Rico, Guam (one of the Ladrone Islands), and
the Philippines. Our government agreed to pay Spain $20,000,000.

HAWAII, meanwhile, had steadily been seeking annexation to the United
States. Many causes prevented it; but during the war with Spain the
possibility of our holding the Philippines gave importance to the Hawaiian
Islands, and in July, 1898, they were annexed. In 1900 they were formed
into the territory of Hawaii. About the same time several other small
Pacific islands were acquired by our country. [6]

PORTO RICO AND CUBA.--For Porto Rico, Congress provided a system of civil
government which went into effect May 1, 1900, and made the island a
dependency, or colony--a district governed according to special laws of
Congress, but not forming part of our country. [7]


When Spain withdrew from Cuba, our government took control, and after
introducing many sanitary reforms, turned the cities over to the Cubans.
The people then elected delegates to a convention which formed a
constitution, and when this had been adopted and a president elected, our
troops were withdrawn, and (May 20, 1901), the Cubans began to govern
their island.

[Illustration: A PHILIPPINE MARKET.]

WAR IN THE PHILIPPINES.--When our forces entered Manila (August, 1898),
native troops under Aguinaldo (ahg-ee-nahl'do), who had revolted against
Spanish rule, held Luzon [8] and most of the other islands. Aguinaldo now
demanded that we should turn the islands over to his party, and when this
was refused, attacked our forces in Manila. War followed; but in battle
after battle the native troops were beaten and scattered, and in time
Aguinaldo was captured. The group of islands is now governed as a

WAR IN CHINA.--The next country with which we had trouble was China. Early
in 1900 members of a Chinese society called the Boxers began to kill
Christian natives, missionaries, and other foreigners. The disorder soon
reached Peking, where foreign ministers, many Europeans, and Americans
were besieged in the part of the city where they were allowed to reside.
Ships and troops were at once sent to join the forces of Japan and the
powers of Europe in rescuing the foreigners in Peking. War was not
declared; but some battles were fought and some towns captured before
Peking was taken and China brought to reason. [9]

[Illustration: SETTLED AREA IN 1900.]

THE CENSUS OF 1900.--At home in 1900 our population was counted for the
twelfth time in our history and found to be 76,000,000. This census did
not include the population of Porto Rico, Guam, or the Philippines. In New
York the population exceeded that of the whole United States in 1810; in
Pennsylvania it was greater than that of the whole United States in 1800,
and Ohio and Illinois each had more people than the whole country in 1790.

IMMIGRATION.--In 1879 (p. 403) a great wave of immigration began and rose
rapidly till nearly 800,000 foreigners came in one year, in 1882. Then the
wave declined, but for the rest of the century every year brought several
hundred thousand. In 1900 another great wave was rising, and by 1905 more
than 1,000,000 immigrants were coming every year. For some years these
immigrants have come mostly from southern and eastern Europe.

GROWTH OF CITIES.--Most remarkable has been the rapid growth of our
cities. In 1790 there were but 6 cities of over 8000 inhabitants each in
the United States, and their total population was but 131,000. In 1900
there were 545 such cities, and their inhabitants numbered 25,000,000--
about a third of the entire population; 38 of these cities had each more
than 100,000 inhabitants. By 1906 our largest city, New York, had more
than 4,000,000 people, Chicago had passed the 2,000,000 mark, and
Philadelphia had about 1,500,000.

THE NEW SOUTH.--The census of 1900 brought out other facts of great
interest. For many years after 1860 the South had gone backward rather
than forward. From 1880 to 1900 her progress was wonderful. In 1880 she
was loaded with debt, her manufactures of little importance, her railways
dilapidated, her banks few in number, and her laboring population largely
unemployed. In 1900 her cotton mills rivaled those of New England. Since
1880 her cotton crop has doubled, her natural resources have begun to be
developed, and coal, iron, lumber, cottonseed oil, and (in Texas and
Louisiana) petroleum have become important products. Alabama ranks high in
the list of coal-producing states, and her city of Birmingham has become a
great center of the iron and steel industry. Atlanta and many other
Southern cities are now important manufacturing centers.

With material prosperity came ability to improve the systems of public
schools. Throughout the South separate schools are maintained for white
and for negro children; and great progress has been made in both.

THE ELECTION OF 1900.--One of the signs of great prosperity in our country
has always been the number of political parties. In the campaign for the
election of President and Vice President in 1900 there were eleven
parties, large and small. But the contest really was between the
Republicans, who nominated William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, and
the Democrats, who nominated William J. Bryan and Adlai E. Stevenson,
indorsed by the Populist and Silver parties.


MCKINLEY ASSASSINATED.--McKinley and Roosevelt were elected, and duly
inaugurated March 4, 1901. In that year a great Pan-American Exposition
was held at Buffalo, and while attending it in September, McKinley was
shot by an anarchist who, during a public reception, approached him as if
to shake hands. Early on the morning of September 14 the President died,
and Vice-President Roosevelt [10] succeeded to the presidency.

THE CHINESE.--In President Roosevelt's first message to Congress
(December, 1901) lie dealt with many current issues. One of his requests
was for further legislation concerning Chinese laborers. The Chinese
Exclusion Act accordingly was (1902) applied to our island possessions,
and no Chinese laborer is now allowed to enter one of them, nor may those
already there go from one group to another, or come to any of our states.

IRRIGATION.--Another matter urged on the attention of Congress by the
President was the irrigation [11] of arid public lands in the West in
order that they might be made fit for settlement. Great reservoirs for the
storage of water should be built, and canals to lead the water to the arid
lands should be constructed at government expense, the land so reclaimed
should be kept for actual settlers, and the cost repaid by the sale of the
land. Congress in 1902 approved the plan, and by law set aside the money
derived from the sale of public land in thirteen states and three
territories as a fund for building irrigation works. The work of
reclamation was begun the next year, and by 1907 eight new towns with some
10,000 people existed on lands thus watered.

ISTHMIAN CANAL ROUTES.--The project of a canal across the isthmus
connecting North and South America, was more than seventy-five years old.
But no serious attempt was made to cut a water way till a French company
was organized in 1878, spent $260,000,000 in ten years, and then failed.
Another French company then took up the work, and in turn laid it down for
want of funds. So the matter stood when the war with Spain brought home to
us the great importance of an isthmian canal. Then the question arose,
Which was the better of two routes, that by Lake Nicaragua, or that across
the isthmus of Panama? [12] Congress (1899) sent a commission to consider
this, and it reported that both routes were feasible. Thereupon the French
company offered to sell its rights and the unfinished canal for
$40,000,000, and Congress (1902) authorized the President to buy the
rights and property of the French company, and finish the Panama Canal;
or, if Colombia would not grant us control of the necessary strip of land,
to build one by the Nicaragua route.

[Illustration: PANAMA CANAL ZONE.]

THE PANAMA CANAL TREATY.--In the spring of 1903, accordingly, a treaty was
negotiated with Colombia for the construction of the Panama Canal. Our
Senate ratified, but Colombia rejected, the treaty, whereupon the province
of Panama (November, 1903) seceded from Colombia and became independent

Our government promptly recognized the new republic, and a treaty with it
was ratified (February, 1904) by which we secured the right to dig the
canal. The property of the French company was then purchased, and a
commission appointed to superintend the work of construction. [13]

THE ALASKAN BOUNDARY.--By our treaty of purchase of Alaska, its boundaries
depended on an old treaty between Russia and Great Britain. When gold was
discovered in Canada in 1871, a dispute arose over the boundary, and it
became serious when gold was discovered in the Klondike region in 1896.
Our claim placed the boundary of southeastern Alaska thirty-five miles
inland and parallel to the coast. Canada put it so much farther west as to
give her several important ports. The matter was finally submitted to
arbitration, and in 1903 the decision divided the land in dispute, but
gave us all the ports. [14]

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1904.--The campaign of 1904 was opened by the
nomination by the Republican party of Theodore Roosevelt and Charles W.
Fairbanks. The Democrats presented Alton B. Parker and Henry G. Davis, and
in the course of the summer seven other parties--the People's, the
Socialist, the Socialist Labor, the Prohibition, the United Christian, the
National Liberty, and the Continental--nominated candidates. Roosevelt and
Fairbanks were elected. [15]

OKLAHOMA.--Among the demands of the Democratic party in 1904 was that for
the admission of Oklahoma and Indian Territory as one state, and of New
Mexico and Arizona as separate states. In 1906 Congress authorized the
people of Oklahoma [16] and Indian Territory to frame a constitution, and
if it were adopted by vote of the people, the President was empowered to
proclaim the state of Oklahoma a member of the Union, which was done in
1907. The same act authorized the people of New Mexico and Arizona to vote
separately on the question whether the two should form one state to be
called Arizona. At the election (in November, 1906) a majority of the
people of New Mexico voted for, and a majority of the people of Arizona
against, joint statehood, so the two remained separate territories.

PURE FOOD AND MEAT INSPECTION LAWS.--At the same session of Congress
(1906) two other wise and greatly needed laws were enacted. For years past
the adulteration of food, drugs, medicines, and liquors had been carried
on to an extent disgraceful to our country. The Pure Food Act, as it is
called, was passed to prevent the manufacture of "adulterated or
misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and
liquors" in the District of Columbia and the territories, or the
transportation of such articles from one state to another. Foods and drugs
entering into interstate commerce must be correctly labeled.

The meat inspection act requires that all meat and food products intended
for sale or transportation as articles of interstate or foreign commerce,
shall be inspected by officials of the Department of Agriculture and
marked "inspected and passed." All slaughtering, packing, and canning
establishments must be inspected and their products duly labeled.

INTERVENTION IN CUBA.--As the year 1906 drew to a close, we were once more
called on to intervene in affairs in Cuba. The elections of 1905 in that
island had been followed by the revolt of the defeated party, and the
appearance of armed bands which threatened the chief towns and even
Havana. An attempt to bring about an understanding with the rebels was
repudiated by President Palma, who declared martial law and called a
meeting of the Cuban congress, which body gave him supreme power.

President Roosevelt, under our treaty with Cuba, was bound to maintain in
that island a government able to protect life and property. Secretary-of-
War Taft was therefore sent to Havana to examine into affairs, and while
he was so engaged President Palma resigned, and the Cuban congress did not
elect a successor. Secretary Taft then assumed the governorship of the
island and held it till October, when Charles Magoon was appointed
temporary governor. [17]

PANIC OF 1907.--The wonderful prosperity which our country had enjoyed for
some years past came to a sudden end in the fall of 1907. Distrust of
certain banks led to a run on several in New York city. When they were
forced to stop paying out money, a panic started and spread over the
country, business suffered, and hard times came again.

THE ELECTION OF 1908.--During the summer of 1908 seven parties nominated
candidates for President and Vice President. They were the Republican,
Democratic, Prohibition, Populist, Socialist, Socialist Labor, and
Independence. The Republicans nominated William H. Taft and James S.
Sherman; and the Democrats, William J. Bryan and John W. Kern. Taft [18]
and Sherman were elected.

[Illustration: WILLIAM H. TAFT.]

Early in 1909 Taft visited the Canal Zone, with eminent engineers, to
investigate the condition of the half-finished Panama Canal. He was
inaugurated President on March 4. In the selection of his cabinet
officers, and in his public addresses, he showed a determination to avoid
sectionalism and narrow partisanship. One of his first acts as President
was to convene Congress in special session beginning March 15, for the
purpose of framing a new tariff act.


1. Our foreign relations since 1898 have been most important. In 1898
there was a short war with Spain.

2. The chief events of the war were the battle of Manila Bay, the sinking
of the _Merrimac_, the battles near Santiago, the destruction of Cervera's
fleet, the invasion of Porto Rico, and the capture of Manila.

3. Peace brought us the Philippines, Porto Rico, and Guam, and forced
Spain to withdraw from Cuba.

4. Cuba for awhile remained under our flag; but in 1902 we withdrew, and
Cuba became a republic. Later events forced us to intervene in 1906.

5. In 1900 events forced us into a short war in China.

6. In 1898 Hawaii was annexed, and in 1900 was organized as a territory;
in 1903 our dispute with Great Britain over the Alaskan boundary was
settled; and in 1904 a treaty with Panama gave us the right to dig the
Panama Canal.

7. Prominent among domestic affairs since 1898, are the assassination of
President McKinley (1901); the Irrigation Act of 1902; the pure food and
meat inspection laws of 1906; and the admission of the state of Oklahoma.


[1] At the same time it was resolved, "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 determination, when that is accomplished, to
leave the government and control of the island to its people."

[2] When the _Maine_ was destroyed, the battleship _Oregon_, then on the
Pacific coast, was ordered to the Atlantic seaboard. Making her way
southward through the Pacific, she passed the Strait of Magellan, steamed
up the east coast of South America, and after the swiftest long voyage
ever made by a battleship, took her place in the blockading fleet.

[3] The storm of shot and shell from the forts carried away some of the
_Merrimac's_ steering gear, so that Hobson was unable to sink the vessel
at the spot intended. The channel was still navigable. Read the article by
Lieutenant Hobson in the _Century Magazine_ for December, 1898 to March,

[4] Among those who distinguished themselves in this campaign were General
Joseph Wheeler, an ex-Confederate cavalry leader; and Lieutenant-Colonel
Theodore Roosevelt, with his regiment of volunteers called "Rough Riders."

[5] The city of Manila was captured through a combined attack by Dewey's
fleet and Merritt's army, August 13, before news of the protocol had been

[6] Our flag was raised over Wake Island early in 1899. Part of the Samoa
group, including Tutuila (too-too-e'la) and small adjacent islands, was
acquired in 1900 by a joint treaty with Great Britain and Germany; these
islands are 77 square miles in area and have 6000 population. Many tiny
islands in the Pacific, most of them rocks or coral reefs, belong to us;
but they are of little importance, except the Midway Islands, which are
occupied by a party of telegraphers in charge of a relay in the cable
joining our continent with the Philippines.

[7] Porto Rico is a little smaller than Connecticut, but has a population
of about one million, of whom a third are colored. The civil government
consists of a governor, an executive council of 11 members, and a House of
Delegates of 35 members elected by the people. The island is represented
at Washington by a resident commissioner.

[8] The Philippine group numbers about two thousand islands. The land area
is about equal to that of New England and New York; that is, 115,000
square miles. Luzon, the largest, is about the size of Kentucky. A census
taken in 1903 gave a population of 7,600,000, of whom 600,000 were
savages. For several years the Philippines were governed by the President,
first through the army, and then through an appointed commission. This
commission, with Judge William H. Taft as president, began its duties in
June of 1900; but by act of Congress (July 1, 1902) a new plan of
government has been provided for. This includes a governor and a
legislature of two branches, one the Philippine commission of eight
members, and the other an assembly chosen by the Filipinos.

[9] In 1898 the emperor of Russia invited many of the nations of the world
to meet and discuss the reduction of their armies and navies. Delegates
from twenty-six nations accordingly met at the Hague (in Holland) in May,
1899, and there discussed (1) disarmament, (2) revision of the laws of
land and naval war, (3) mediation and arbitration. Three covenants or
agreements were made and left open for signature by the nations till 1900.
One forbade the use in war of deadly gases, of projectiles dropped from
balloons, and of bullets made to expand in the human body. The second
revised the laws of war, and the third provided for a permanent court of
arbitration at the Hague, before which cases may be brought with the
consent of the nations concerned.

[10] Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York in 1858, graduated from
Harvard University in 1880, and from 1882 to 1884 was a member of the
legislature of New York. In 1886 he was the candidate of the Republican
party for mayor of New York city and was defeated. In 1889 he was
appointed a member of the United States Civil Service Commission, but
resigned in 1895 to become president of the New York city police board. In
1897 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy, but when the war
with Spain opened, resigned and organized the First United States Cavalry
Volunteers, popularly known as Roosevelt's Rough Riders. Of this regiment
he was lieutenant colonel and then colonel, and after it was mustered out
of service, was elected governor of New York in the autumn of 1898. He is
the author of many books on history, biography, and hunting, besides
essays and magazine articles.

[11] Before this time many small areas had been irrigated by means of
works constructed by individuals, by companies, and by local governments.

[12] In 1825 Central America invited us to build a canal by way of Lake
Nicaragua, and from that time forth the question was often before
Congress. In Jackson's time a commissioner was sent to examine the
Nicaragua route and that across the isthmus of Panama. After Texas was
annexed we made a treaty with New Granada (now Colombia), and secured "the
right of way or transit across the isthmus of Panama upon any modes of
communication that now exist, or that may be hereafter constructed." After
the Mexican war, the discovery of gold in California, and the expansion of
our territory on the Pacific coast, the importance of a canal was greatly
increased. But Great Britain stepped in and practically seized control of
the Nicaragua route. A crisis followed, and in 1850 we made with Great
Britain the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, by which each party was pledged never
to obtain "exclusive control over the said ship canal." When (in 1900) we
practically decided to build by the Nicaragua route, and felt we must have
exclusive control, it became necessary to abrogate this part of the
Clayton-Bulwer treaty. The Hay-Pauncefote treaty was therefore made, by
which Great Britain gave up all claim to a share in the control of such a
canal, and the United States guaranteed that any isthmian canal built by
us should be open to all nations on equal terms.

[13] In accordance with our rights under the treaty, Congress (April,
1904) authorized the President, as soon as he had acquired the property of
the canal company and paid Panama $10,000,000, to take possession of the
"Canal Zone," a strip ten miles wide (five miles on each side of the
canal) stretching across the isthmus and extending three marine miles from
low water out into the ocean at each end. On April 22, 1904, the property
of the canal company was transferred at Paris, and on May 9 the company
was paid $40,000,000; Panama had already been paid her $10,000,000, and on
May 19 General Davis, president of the Canal Commission, issued a
proclamation announcing the beginning of his administration as governor of
the Canal Zone.

[14] Another event of 1903 was the addition of a ninth member to the
Cabinet,--the Secretary of Commerce and Labor. The Secretary of
Agriculture (1889) was the eighth member.

[15] By 336 electoral votes against 140 for Parker and Davis. The popular
vote was: Republican, 7,623,486; Democratic, 5,077,971; Socialist,
402,283; Prohibition, 258,536; Populist, 117,183; Socialist Labor, 31,249:
all others combined, less than 10,000.

[16] The central portion of Indian Territory was opened for settlement on
April 22, 1889, when a great rush was made for the new lands. Other areas
were soon added, and in 1890 Oklahoma territory was organized. It included
the western half of the Indian Territory shown on p. 394.

[17] Another event of 1906 was a great earthquake in western California
(April 18). Many buildings in many places were shaken down, and most of
San Francisco was destroyed by fires which could not be put out because
the water mains were broken by the earthquake. Hundreds of persons lost
their lives, and the property loss in San Francisco alone was estimated at

[18] William Howard Taft was born in Ohio, September 15, 1857, graduated
from Yale, studied law, became judge of the Superior Court of Ohio, and
United States Circuit Judge (6th Circuit). After the war with Spain, Judge
Taft was made president of the Philippine Commission, and in 1901 first
civil governor of the Philippine Islands. In 1904 he was appointed
Secretary of War, an office which he resigned after his nomination for the


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