Thursday, September 30, 2010

Progressivism, War, and Race

I. Imposing the Federal Color Line


A. Woodrow Wilson, Southerner

1. Born in Virginia (1856) into a slave-owning family--although his paternal grandfather was an anti-slavery advocate.

2. Spend nearly all of his formative years in the South, growing up as whites in the region were constructing their "Lost Cause" narrative to explain the role in a treasonous rebellion against the United States.

3. Instituting the Color Line--upon taking office, one of the first actions Wilson took was the segregate Federal employment; in particular, Wilson issued an executive order stating that blacks would no longer be permitted to join the officer corps of the army, and removing African American units (the Army had been segregated itself since the end of the Civil War) from combat billets.

4. Screening Birth of a Nation at the White House--Wilson's Princeton classmate, Thomas Dixon, authored a fictional romanticization of the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, and convince President Wilson to screen the movie at the White House--despite the protests of the recently-established National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

If you're so inclined, you can also now watch all three hours of the movie on YouTube, since the film is now in the public domain.

5. Haitian Intervention (1915)--this was part of the series of the so-called "banana wars," but during this nearly 30 year occupation, the United States attempted to institute Jim Crow in a foreign country.

a. Intervention to "protect US and foreign interests," and to limit German influence on the island

b. Closing of the leading classical college in Haiti in order to transform it into a trade school (the school was attended by Haitian elites--many of whom were already bilingual.

B. Wartime and Postwar Riots

1. East St. Louis, Illinois (1917)

2. Chicago (1919)--the largest of the dozens of race riots that occurred that summer

3. Lynchings, which had been falling for most of the decade, spiked upward in response to events that year.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oppositional Politics

A. War and the National Interest--nations fight wars because they see  them serving  a particular national interest

1. Convincing the American People--the Wilson administration had to put a great deal of effort to sell the war to the American people, both with propaganda and with severe punishment for speaking against the war effort.

2. Speaking Out in Opposition--before war was actually declared, there was a great deal of opposition to the United States becoming involved in the "entangling alliances" that led Europeans to butcher one another. A number of Americans outside of government spoke out in opposition to the war, and continued to speak against it despite the US government's limitation of free speech through the passage of the Espionage Act in 1917, and which was further amended by the Sedition Act in 1918, which outlawed speech that could be construed as "aiding and abetting" enemies of the United States.



The jingoism, or super-patriotism, stirred by government propaganda, the perceived need to pull together during a time of national crisis, led to the severe repression of those institutions and persons perceived as not fully supporting the war effort.

B. Fighting for Free Speech--despite the efforts on the part of the government, and the repression when propaganda did not work, some people continued to speak out in opposition to the war.



1. Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)--or the "'Wobblies, were the largest group to continue to speak out against involvement in what they called a "capitalist war." IWW members were not only arrested for speaking out against the war, however; they were also arrested for attempting to organize workers into the organization itself. The IWW, unlike the trade unions that made up the membership of the American Federation of Labor (AFL),  was at war with the capitalist system--to the extent that, as a labor union, they refused to sign contracts with employers that would solidify the gains made by organizers and members in the stuggle with employers. For the IWW,  this would mean having the expectation that management would still be  around to negotiate with at the end of the contract.

The two clips shown in class are from the documentary The Wobblies (1979).  Portions can be viewed below:



and

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Becoming a World Power

I. America and "Foreign" Wars

A. Historical Suspicion of Foreign Entanglements--most Americans viewed their separation from Europe as a positive, a feeling present since the founding of the country.

B. European War Aims--this war was not fought over democracy, but over retaining imperial control over territory; in fact, it can be said that the European powers (particularly Austria-Hungary) fought in order to deny peoples under their control democracy.

1. Germany--fought to gain more territory in Africa and Asia. Coming late to the game, they could only gain more territory at the expense of other imperial powers holding colonies on those continents. Especially valuable was the Belgium Congo, which not only had rubber plantations, but also valuable gold fields.

a. King Leopold of Belgium (1835-1909, reigned  from 1865-1909) created the Congo Free State as his personal colony, where his private military force forced natives labor on rubber plantations by threats of physical violence--including cutting off the hands of children who did not meet their quota of rubber sap, besides the 10-15 million people that died during the Free State period. The world-wide condemnation of this horrible exploitation eventually forced the Belgian Parliament to force Leopold to turn over the Congo to the Belgian government. 

2. England--saw Germany as a threat to its place in the world, and therefore moved to challenge that country's every attempt to gain new colonies. While many American businessmen had close relationships with British counterparts, there was also a great deal of suspicion on the part of many Americans about British intentions.

3. France--had a long continental rivalry with Germany (including an embarrassing defeat in 1871, which led to the toppling of the government and the Paris Commune). France also had valuable colonies in Africa and Asia (Indochina) that it wanted to protect from German encroachment.

4. Austria-Hungary--was attempting to retain parts of its empire in Europe, particularly the Slavic enclaves, which had become flash points of the new nationalism that was sweeping much of the world--particularly in Europe.

5. Russia--longtime rival of the Austria-Hungary empire, and saw itself as the protector of its "Slavic brothers"; also trying to restrain nationalist sentiment in its own provinces.

6. Turkey--again, most interested in restraining nationalist sentiment in its  provinces, and in keeping Great Britain out of the Middle East.

II. The Battle for the American Soul

A. Roosevelt and Militarism--Roosevelt's vision of the United States was that of a country with great military might. Despite the conquest of much of the continent, the American Civil War,  and the War with Spain that Roosevelt took  part in, the United States had little interest in military conquest and the acquisition of colonies. The United States achieved these same aims by championing free trade, and  using its economic might to achieve these geo-political aims. Roosevelt and the militarists were at a distinct disadvantage.

B. Trading as a Neutral--while the United States remained neutral, it attempted to take full economic advantage and trade with both Great Britain and Germany. Because of British naval superiority--on top of the water, if not below it--Great Britain had been able to blockade German ports and prevent trade with that country. American loans floated mainly to the Allied side (due to prior business connections), and it was mainly the loans  and the  food America sold to the Allies that helped that side win the war, rather than American fighting might.

1. Mining Germany's harbors--to prevent trade, Great Britain placed aquatic mines just outside German ports. This acted to prevent German ships--except the unterseeboot, the infamous U-boat--from leaving port, and other ships from entering these ports, or run the risk of running into a mine and sinking,  as several US ships, attempting to trade as a neutral country, did.

2. Sinking the Lusitania--this British luxury liner was torpedoed by a German U-boat at the cost of 1,198 lives--including 125 Americans. While this seems like an egregious war crime, it was sunk because Great Britain was using these liners to secretly transport arms from the United States.  After the protest from the United States over this matter, however, Germany agreed to stop attacking these passenger ships.

2. Germany rescinds the U-boat agreement--the German navy was unable to break out of its own ports in the following year, however,  and announced that it would begin attacking passenger and merchant ships it determined was heading to British ports.

3. Zimmerman telegram--intercepted communication between the German government  and its ambassador to Mexico, in which it was proposed to the Mexican government that they could regain the territory lost to the United States over the previous century by allying with the Central Powers and attacking the United States

III. War--What is it Good For?



A. War and the National Interest--nations fight wars because they see  them serving  a particular national interest

1. Convincing the American People--the Wilson administration had to put a great deal of effort to sell the war to the American people, both with propaganda and with severe punishment for speaking against the war effort.

2. Speaking Out in Opposition--before war was actually declared, there was a great deal of opposition to the United States becoming involved in the "entangling alliances" that led Europeans to butcher one another. A number of Americans outside of government spoke out in opposition to the war, and continued to speak against it despite the US government's limitation of free speech through the passage of the Espionage Act in 1917, and which was further amended by the Sedition Act in 1918, which outlawed speech that could be construed as "aiding and abetting" enemies of the United States.



The jingoism, or super-patriotism, stirred by government propaganda, the perceived need to pull together during a time of national crisis, led to the severe repression of those institutions and persons perceived as not fully supporting the war effort.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jane Addams and the Progressive Woman


I. Her Early Life

A. Birth--Jane Addams was born September 6, 1860, in Cedarville, Illinois

B. Mother-- Sarah Weber Addams, born 1817. Sarah's  father, Col. George Weber, owned a successful milling business in Kriedersville, Pennsylvania.

C. Father--John Huy Addams, born in 1822 near Reading, Pennsylvania, to Samuel and Catherine Huy Addams.

1. 7th of 10 children, 3rd son.

2. Apprenticed to Evan Reiff, a flour miller, at the age of 18. Reiff's mill was located in Ambler, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia

3. Married Sarah Weber in the summer of 1844. After a honeymoon stop in Niagara Falls, the couple continued west to Illinois. John Addams had received a $4000 loan from his father (approximately $90,000 in today's money) to establish a mill to provide for himself and his family. After months of scouting locations, Addams chose to buy a mill that he refurbished  in Cedarville. To pay off this loan, Addams dedicated himself to long hours of work.

4. Raising a Family--John and Sarah Addams had eight children together (only four lived into adulthood, however), with Jane the youngest. Sarah Addams died during her ninth pregnancy, suffering undiagnosed internal bleeding after a fall, when Jane was only two. Jane Addams became extremely close to her father as a result, and he in turn doted on her. John Addams remarried Anna Haldeman when Jane was eight (and as his eldest daughter, Mary, who had born the major responsibility for the day-to-day care of young Jane, left home after her marriage). Anna Haldeman brought two sons of her own to the marriage, Harry and George. The younger of the two boys, George, was Jane's age.

II. The Rockford Seminary-was established in 1847 in Rockford, Illinois, as the female school companion for Beloit College, across the Illinois-Wisconsin border in Beloit, Wisconsin

A. Missionary Purpose--The purpose of Rockford Seminary, in the eyes of founder Anne Sill, was to turn out educated female missionaries; the only way open to achieving this when the school was founded, however, was to turn out educated wives of missionaries.

B. The Addams/Sill Relationship--Jane Addams chafed against the restrictions placed on students at Rockford Seminary, and at times her relationship with Sill was quite frosty. Sill saw in Addams a means to achieve her ultimate goal, and worked very hard at keeping her at the school--eventually offering Addams the first baccalaureate degree that Rockford granted.

III. The Loss of Her Father

A. Death of John Addams

1. Loss of her champion--John Addams respected his daughter's intelligence, and did much to foster its growth and development. Despite his rather conservative politics, he did not hesitate to provide Jane with the means to grow intellectually; his death meant that she no longer had his assurance that she could accomplish what she desired.

IV. The Family Claim

A. Anne Hardeman Addams--as the widow of John Addams, Anne now placed an emotional claim on Jane  to provided care and companionship for her.

1. Demanding personality--Anne's demanding and emotional personality (she was not on speaking terms with her eldest son at the time of the death of her husband because she was disappointed with his drinking habits) was in direct contrast to the personality of Jane's father.

2. Jane Addams Family Mediator--Jane returned to her former role in the family as the mediator of conflicts. It was she who prevailed upon her siblings and step-siblings to remain in contact with  "Ma."

3. Jane Addams Dutiful Daughter--Jane felt--had--an obligation as the unmarried daughter to care for her stepmother. This obligation was re-iterated by her stepmother on a number of occasions. In order  to accomplish this task, the unmarried daughter would be expected to sacrifice whatever plans she had for her own life in order to care for her aged parent.

B. Jane Addams Physical Debility--Jane suffered from Pott's Disease (like Theodore Roosevelt's older sister Anne), which left her with a slight curvature of the spine, and the life-long affliction of sciatica.

1. Marquette vacation--The reason the Addams family was in Marqette, Michigan, where John Addams was afflicted with appendicitis, was to allow Jane Addams time to regain her health.

2. Women's Medical College--enrollment was occasioned by the move in the fall of 1881to Philadelphia by her stepmother, rather than a burning desire on Jane's  part to become a doctor. In fact, the seven months in medical school proved to Jane that she had no interest in becoming a doctor.

3. George Hardeman's Romantic Interest--Jane largely avoided contact with George, her stepbrother, to avoid any intimation of romance,  despite what family legend on this matter might imply (which was largely that George pursued Jane, but that interest was not reciprocated).

4. Stay With Harry and Alice Hardeman--Jane's sciatica remained quite painful, and she was persuaded to go live in Iowa with her sister and step-brother,  where Harry would provide her with treatment. The treatment necessitated months of recover, where Jane was obligated to remain flat on her back.

5. Weber Addams'  Mental Illness--Jane's older brother suffered from mental illness, and in the spring of 1883 had  a manic episode so severe that he was institutionalized. With the assistance of a lawyer, Jane helped Weber's wife put the family's financial situation back in order.


C. Deepening Friendship with Ellen Starr


1. Faith--the continuing crises Jane experienced prompted her to change her mind on the issue of Jesus Christ; Ellen Starr's own belief in his divinity meant that Jane felt she could turn to an intellectual equal in this matter, and could therefore feel more at ease about "returning to the flock" of Christianity.


D. Rockford Seminary Address (1883)


1. End of the Sill Era--Anna Peck Sill prevailed upon Jane Addams in the spring of 1883 to attend an upcoming  board meeting, and to give a commencement address. The board was pressuring Sill to retire, and she wanted Jane to speak to them on  her behalf.


2. "To the Uncomfortableness of Tranisition"--speaking to the graduates and board members,  Jane focused her remarks on the transition of the school from its previous status to this new  collegiate status--but these remarks  also reflected her own trials and and frustrations as she attempted to find her way to a productive adulthood.


E. Jane Addams' Grand Tour--began in the fall of 1883.

V. Making Partners

A. Ellen Gates Starr--joined Jane Adams in this venture without ever having visited Toynbee Hall--the only settlement house model in existence.

1. Working-class background--Starr came from a working-class family, and her father's anti-capitalist beliefs  undoubtedly influence her own thinking on this matter. Her lack of deference toward the "well-born" was one of the things that attracted Addams to her--but this  also limited Starr's helpfulness in recruiting benefactors for the Hull House programs, and eventually this became one of the factors in severing their intimate personal relationship.

2. Starr's role--She provided the emotional support that Addams needed to break the family bond that had held her in Cedarville and as her stepmother's companion.

a. Lesbians?--Depends upon how that word is defined. If we use it to refer to women who sought the company of other women over the company of men, and developed deep romantic attachments with other women,  then yes Addams and Starr were lesbians. If we define the word as referring only to women who sought genital contact with other women--that  we really have no evidence of this between Addams and Starr, so we can draw no conclusions.  What we do no is that none of the people they came into contact with--including other residents of Hull House--saw nothing out of the ordinary in the relationship between the two women.

3. Starr's Financial Position--Starr did not have the money that Addams did; in fact, Starr gave up her livelihood, teaching, in order to co-found Hull House with Addams, and then had to hustle jobs to make ends meet,  since neither woman drew a salary.

4. Pleasing Addams--While Starr made many important contributions to the early success of Hull House, her anxiety over pleasing Addams on a personal level, and the personal drama led to a cooling of the personal relationship.

B. Helen Culver--inherited her uncle Charles Hull's home on  South Halstead, along with most of the property in the block the house occupied--as well as more than 220 other lots in the city.

1. Business woman--while Culver inherited a great deal of wealth from her uncle, but her management of that wealth increased it.

2. Less-than-willing philanthropist--Addams and Starr persuaded Culver to rent half of the house to them; within four years the settlement had expanded to the rest of the house and much of the block that surrounded  it--rent free.

C. Creating Female Space--Hull House was not exclusively female space, but the space created had a definite feminine touch. Much of the early attention garnered in the early was for the "feminine touches" around the house--the furnishings, the art work, etc.

VI. Leading--and Learning

A. Initial Purpose--Addams and Starr both initially visualized the settlement house mainly benefiting the residents of the house, who would find uses for their lives.

B. Neighborhood--the 19th Ward was an idyllic suburb when Charles Hull  built his home, but by the late 1880s it was an extremely impoverished neighborhood. It was home to a large population of recent Italian immigrants, with a smattering of other immigrants, as well.

1. "Dirty Dagoes"--these immigrants had a reputation in Chicago for being unsanitary--unwashed, smelling bad, lazy, etc. What was overlooked was the fact that most of the homes these people lived in lacked running water, so there was no place to bath or to wash.

2. "Introducing hygiene"--one of the first things that Addams and Starr did was to open their bathrooms to their neighbors for their use, and to provide the women of the neighborhood with facilities to wash clothes. Eventually, Addams convinced the city of Chicago to open a bathhouse in the  neighborhood.

C. Learning from their neighbors--while Addams initially thought that the poor people of the neighborhood would learn from exposure to the residents living in the settlement house. What quickly became apparent to the women, however, was that the immigrant neighbors had much knowledge of their own to impart.

1. Immigrant aspirations--Addams and Starr quickly learned that many of their immigrant neighbors arrived in the United States with skills that they were not allowed to use (many were doctors, lawyers, and other professionals),  despite popular perceptions that these people were unskilled.


VII. Summer 1894

A. Pullman Strike--the ongoing railroad strike tied up rail traffic in the western part of the country.

B. Mary Addams Linn--Jane's eldest sister was gravely ill during this summer, and separated temporarily from her husband, who had just taken on a new pastorate. Because of the strike, he did not make it back to Mary before she passed on.

C.  Care of the "Linnettes"--in her will, sister Mary left the care of her minor children--Esther, age 14 and Stanley, age 11--to the care of her sister Jane, rather than to her husband. Stanley is a bit of a sickly child, so this gave Jane extra incentive to take care of the garbage problem that had been festering in the  neighborhood since Hull House was established.

VIII. The Garbage Problem

A. Population density--the fact that people were closely confined in poorer neighborhoods, combined with the fact that they received inadequate city services, and lived in neglected properties, contributed to this problem.

B. Chicago Politics--while the mayor was not without a great deal of power, most power lay in the hands of ward aldermen in Chicago.

1. John Powers--"Johnny da Pow" was alderman of the 19th Ward from 1888 to 1927.  Powers was a saloon keeper  in Bridgeport (the  home of the Dailey clan--Richard J. and  Richard  M, the current mayor of Chicago).

a. Each ward had two aldermen; the most infamous were the aldermen for the First Ward--"Hinky-Dink" Kenna and "Bathhouse John" Coughlin, who got a cut from most all the vice that occurred in the First Ward  fiefdom.

2. Reformers--mayoral candidates regularly ran in Chicago promising to "clean-up" municipal politics--but their subordination to city council really prevented reform from taking place.

3. Appointment as Garbage Inspector--Addams did not place a great deal of  emphasis on the  cleanliness of the neighborhood until she took on the responsibility of raising here sister Mary's children.

a.  Rejected bid--Addams  and her Hull House team made a careful study of the situation,  and then submitted a bid to be given the position. Her bid was rejected on a technicality, but Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison, Jr., gave her the position, anyway--despite the protest from the aldermen, who did not want to see the $1,000 the appointee received go outside their political machine.

C. On the job--Addams and another Hull House resident rode around the neighborhood to ensure the firm they contracted actually did the work they were being paid to do.

1. Animal carcasses--the two women also made sure that animal carcasses were disposed of.

2. Hull House incinerator--was installed, and neighbors were encouraged to bring some of their garbage to the incinerator; later in the 20th century, this became a major means of disposing of garbage

D.  Civil Service--The State of Illinois made these garbage inspector positions Civil Service protected; this later leads to  Addams losing her position, when an alderman proposed that the position become a city civil service position--which by law meant that women could not hold the position.

Conclusion. The initial idea behind the Hull House settlement was to assist those people in the neighborhood in leading better lives--by having an example of upstanding white Protestants in their midst, the immigrant Roman Catholic and Jews would be able to see how "real" Americans lived their lives, and then follow that example. What Addams and the residents of Hull House quickly found  out, however,  was that they had much to learn from their neighbors.

What else became readily apparent to  the residents of Hull House was that although many of their neighbors were very poor, they were not without intelligence and culture--indeed, these recent immigrants from Europe were much more cognizant with European culture than many wealthy native Americans.

Addams also discovered that many of the Hull House neighbors did not need to be "Americanized," but rather when given the opportunity they were more than willing to take classes about American government and a willingness to learn English. But Addams  also came to the realization that this rush to "Americanize" led many of the offspring of these immigrants to reject their parent's cultural practices.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Progressivism


What was "Progressivism?"--a movement of middle class (and largely upper middle class) whites who attempted to reassert the control they had previously enjoyed in American society by reigning in what they perceived to be the excesses that unfettered capitalism had unleashed.

Progressivsim--Liberal or Conservative? This is a somewhat contentious point, historiographically speaking, in large part because people today who would formerly have identified themselves politically as liberal now choose to label themselves "progressive," and their political opponents tend to attribute attitudes and programs to earlier progressives that they did not advocate. Nevertheless, many of the political positions taken by earlier progressives can be seen as "liberal"--in as much as many of these proposals were about regulating the "free market." These regulations were undertaken, however, to achieve rather conservative results, and the means to achieve those ends were fairly conservative,  as well.

A prime example of this is the campaign for Women's Suffrage, one of the earliest and longest-lasting, and most difficult to achieve of the programs that epitomize progressivism. The battle for women's suffrage predates progressivism by nearly 40 years; we generally date the beginning of this movement to August 1848 and the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York.  While it was argued by opponents that this was far too a radical notion, proponents argued that extending the right to vote to women would help ensure  that the corrupting influences on the body politic (especially the liquor  lobby and capitalism) could only be defeated by the votes of women.

The women's suffrage movement from its inception was an attempt to make-over American society. In 1848, nearly all the women (and a few men) who became advocates for a woman's right to  vote were also advocated of abolition, especially among leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. With the end of the Civil War, and the passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments--which pointedly gave the right to vote to black  males, but still excluded both black and white females. Particularly galling to some was the fact that males could  vote even though many of these freed slaves were illiterate. This resulted in the women's suffrage movement splitting in two, and a period of inactivity.

Rise of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)--founded at Washington Court House in 1874 in the aftermath of a local temperance battle. In 1879, Frances Willard became president (after serving as  another officer briefly), and remade the organization into an all-encompassing social advocacy organization for a short time.

Who Were the Progessives? Progressivism and Secular Protestantism--progressives tended to emerge from evangelical Protestant homes, where they had lost the faith of their fathers (and mothers), and instead channeled their energies into creating a better place on this earth. The tended to find places in newly emerging professions, especially in journalism and academia. This is also the first period in American history when women could readily find a place for themselves outside of the home, as the first generation of college educated women began to emerge.

The "Muckrakers"--so-named by one of the Progressive heroes, Theodore Roosevelt (muck is what is raked  out of a barn after the animals there have been fed and watered--if you catch my drift). The muckrakers were journalist employed mainly by new magazines that were emerging during this time, that worked to expose what they viewed as the corruption and inequality of life in the United States (this focus on the problems in American is what irked Roosevelt). Most prominent among these muckraking journals was McClure's Magazine, which at on time employed Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell, and Ray Stannard Baker.

The Emergence of Academic Experts--the establishment of institutions like the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the University of Chicago, which focused upon the education of graduate students and the creation of new academic departments, led to the creation of a host of new experts, determined to use their newly acquired knowledge to the problems of modern American society. For these newly emerging academics, knowledge was not merely to be used to be able to read the biblical texts in the original Latin or Greek, which had been the objective of a college education before this time.

Social Work--inspired by the work being done at Toynbee Hall in London's East End, women like Jane Addams founded settlement houses in large cities throughout the United States, where they attempted to address the problems of the burgeoning immigrant populations there. This provided an outlet for college educated women in the United States, who were finally able to find useful, challenging work that allowed them to utilize the college education they had just recently received. Women readily moved into this kind of work because it was viewed as an extension of the home life they had long been responsible for.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Legacy of the Imperial Foreign Policy


A) The Roosevelt Corollary

1) Panama Canal – the construction of the Panama Canal was the result of another US imperialist foray into Latin America. Now president Theodore Roosevelt broke off negotiations with the Columbian government for right to the canal path when he thought they were asking too much money; instead, he negotiated with and convinced a small group of Columbian (despite what the textbook says, they were not “Panamanian;” that country is the invention of the United States) landowners in the area of the proposed canal that their land would greatly increase in value if the United States could build a canal there; these businessmen “rebelled” and US gunships prevented the Columbian navy from responding to this internal crisis, and then quickly recognized the resulting government. When the canal was completed in 1909, the US made Panama a protectorate, a status it maintained for thirty years

2) Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine – the Monroe Doctrine warned nations of Europe not to intervene in the affairs of the countries in the Western Hemisphere; Roosevelt extended this principle to justifying the intervention of the United States in the affairs of these countries in order to forestall any actions of “outsiders.” In practice, this led to armed intervention by the United States on a number of occasions.

(a) Cuba – protectorate from 1898-1934. In 1901, Secretary of State Elihu Root set about to make guidelines for future Cuban-US relations. The guidelines were introduced in the US Senate by Orville Platt, and thereafter known as the Platt Amendment. 
The Platt Amendment stipulated the conditions for U.S. intervention in Cuban affairs and permitted the United States to lease or buy lands for the purpose of the establishing naval bases (the main one was Guantánamo Bay) and coaling stations in Cuba. It barred Cuba from making a treaty that gave another nation power over its affairs, going into debt, or stopping the United States from imposing a sanitation program on the island. Specifically, Article III required that the government of Cuba consent to the right of the United States to intervene in Cuban affairs for “the preservation of Cuban independence [emphisis mine], the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty, and for discharging the obligations with respect to Cuba imposed by the Treaty of Paris on the United States, now to be assumed and undertaken by the Government of Cuba.”

This contrasts with the Teller Amendment, passed before the beginning of hostilities, which claimed that the United States government had no interest in holding any territory that it might gain in concession from Spain.

(b) Philippines--a colony of the United States from 1898 to 1946. Philippine resistance to this circumstance led to the the Philippine-US war, which lasted from 1899 to 1902. The Spanish resistance in the Philippines had been so feeble in large part due to the success of the Filipino insurgency, which by 1898 largely controlled the countryside. Nevertheless, when Spain and the United States sat down to discuss the future of the Philippines, the Filipinos had no representation at the bargaining table. The Filipino government refused to accept this outcome, which resulted in fighting breaking out between Filipino freedom fighters--or insurgents, as the US labeled them--and US troops. This quickly devolved into a guerrilla war, with the Filipino fighters inflicting casualties, and then melting into the jungle. This led the US to shift civilian populations into internment camps (where many died because of inadequate sanitary facilities), and to create "free-fire zones" (to use a term from another land war in Asia involving the United States). During the conflict, the United States lost 4,000 troops, while the number of Filipinos killed ranges from 20,000 troops and somewhere between 200,000 and 1,000,000 civilians

3) The Banana Wars--this new interventionist foreign policy led to numerous invasions of foreign countries in Central and South America, as well as several Caribbean islands, to "protect US interests"--business interests, that is

(a) Haiti – protectorate from 1915-1934

(b) Dominican Republic – protectorate 1905-1941; protectorates were nominally independent, although the United States reserved the right to intervene in internal affairs—and prevented protectorates from signing any treaties with third countries (that is, countries other than the United States.

(c) Honduras--the original Banana Republic, so named by US author O. Henry.

(d) Nicaragua--indigenous resistance was led be Augusto CĂ©sar Sandino until his capture murder by Anastasio Somoza Garcia, whose family ruled Nicaragua the next forty years.

(e) Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler--one of only 19 Americans to be awarded the Medal of Honor twice, Butler led Marines on a number of interventions--Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the Boxer Rebellion in China. After he retired, he wrote a book called War is a Racket, where he claimed

4) Russo-Japanese War – Japanese pushed Russian military around in Asia, eventually occupying Korea.

a) Japan – Japanese desires to become dominant force in Asia collided with US desires for the same; racial animosity also fueled this rivalry

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Imperialism Abroad and at Home


A. Rise of Imperialist Sentiment – advocates of imperialism in the US were not large in number, but because many of them held government office, their influence was much greater than their numbers should have indicated.

B. Extending the benefits of Western Civilization--or "The White Man's Burden." White power elites--both in the United States and in Europe--felt justified in seizing control of foreign lands because the felt their countries, and their race, were the products of the most advanced civilization in the history of man, and this achievement legitimized their stewardship of the rest of the world.

1. Hawaii – coup of the native ruling government engineered by white sugar and fruit growers on the islands, including one Sanford Dole.

a. Role of Marines in overthrowing government – US minister to Hawaii brought in Marines to assist with armed takeover of the legally constituted government; this will become the overarching theme of US foreign policy for the next century—the use of US military might to protect the interests of and benefit US business interests. Analogy to the most recent attacks on the US

2. Spanish-American War – the concept of Manifest Destiny writ large

a. The “Yellow” Press – was this war sparked over the circulation war between two NYC newspapers?  The fight between William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World to out scoop one another added pressure on high government officials to enter a war with Spain. (Hearst quote – “You supply the stories, I’ll supply the war

a. “Liberating” Cuba – Cuban nationals had long been attempting to liberate themselves from Spanish domination; in 1895 this attempt gains widespread notice in the US press; accusations of atrocities by “Butcher” Weyler of the Spanish army

b. “Remember the Maine” – recent evidence concludes that one of two things happened; either coal dust ignited, or a boiler exploded—in either case, it was not blown up by Spanish forces



c. “Liberating” the Philippines – Admiral Dewey was ordered by Naval Undersecretary Theodore Roosevelt (in his last act before resigning from government to volunteer to fight in Cuba) to attack Spanish forces in Manila Bay for strategic purposes. This attack was successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams; while Filipinos hoped this would quickly mean independence for their country, its perceived importance for the dreamed of empire of the United States meant something else.


B. TR and the Rough Riders – the Rough Riders were TR’s dream of a new America, and what the new American society should be. He recruited members from a variety of white ethnic groups (pointedly excluding African Americans and Orientals), who were led by a coterie of Anglo-Saxon officers, with him at the helm.

1. The Legend of San Juan Hill – TR and RR never charged up San Juan Hill, which they were long credited with doing (and for which he was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor); instead, the foolhardy charge of the RR was up Kettle Hill, which was less strategically important and which they did not take alone, but in conjunction with the all-black 24th Cavalry, which after taking Kettle Hill had to then take the more important, and more heavily fortified, San Juan Hill after an all-white regiment from New York refused orders to do so.


2. TR’s behavior after the war – in his published reminiscences after the war, TR gave slight credit to the 24th, although he alleged that he had to fire upon a soldier because of cowardice; the further he was removed from the events, however, the less the 24th received any credit for this battle. In fact, TR did little to correct the perception that he led his men up San Juan Hill, rather than Kettle Hill.

C. The Tightening Grip of Jim Crow--Jim Crow did not instantly come into being at the end of Reconstruction in 1877; rather, it was instituted by the gradual erosion of African American rights and increased levels of state-sanctioned, white-on-black violence.

1. Lynch law--as the United States was beginning to assert itself abroad, whites were asserting their racial dominance with the use of murder and terror--often with the assistance of local law enforcement, or at the very least their looking the other way.

a. Wilmington Race Riot (1898)--Wilmington, North Carolina was a prime example of this. In 1896, a "Fusion" party of local Populists and Republicans (the latter with a sizeable African American membership). Lacking support from North Carolina's governor to address local issues, the Fusion party came apart, and the local Democratic Party, made up of white business owners, turned to white racism and terror in an attempt to cower the African American population in town. During the 1898 campaign for state offices, Democrats used white supremiscist groups like the White Union and the Red Shirts; with the Democratic victory in November, whites took license to see that Wilmington African Americans "were put in their place."

D. The “White Man’s Burden” – the belief that it was the role of the Anglo-Saxon “race” to enlighten all of the masses, whether the wanted enlightenment or not

1. Manifest Destiny and Race Destiny – Southern politicians, who largely opposed the war with Spain, immediately saw the parallels between the drive for imperialist conquest and racism, and the convoluted reasoning for the denial of voting rights for a conquered people

Conclusion