The American History Company



Books for Study and Reading

References.--Scribner's Popular History, V, 579-659; McMaster's School History, chs. xxxiv, xxxv.

Home Readings.--Any short, attractive account of the Spanish War.



Benjamin Harrison elected President, 1888.

464. Benjamin Harrison elected President, 1888.--In 1888 the Democrats put forward Cleveland as their candidate for President. The Republicans nominated Benjamin Harrison of Indiana. Like Hayes and Garfield, he had won renown in the Civil War and was a man of the highest honor and of proved ability. The prominence of the old Southern leaders in the Democratic administration, and the neglect of the business interests of the North, compelled many Northern Republicans who had voted for Cleveland to return to the Republican party. The result was the election of Harrison and of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

The McKinley tariff, 1890.

465. The McKinley Tariff, 1890.--One of the questions most discussed in the campaign of 1888 was the reform of the tariff. There seem to have been two sets of tariff reformers. One set of reformers proposed to reform the tariff by doing away with as much of it as possible. The other set of reformers proposed to readjust the tariff duties so as to make the protective system more consistent and more perfect. Led by William McKinley, the Republicans set to work to reform the tariff in this latter sense. This they did by generally raising the duties on protected goods. The McKinley Tariff Act also offered reciprocity to countries which would favor American goods. This offer was in effect to lower certain duties on goods imported from Argentina, for instance, if the Argentine government would admit certain American goods to Argentina on better terms than similar goods imported from other countries.


Gold and Silver.
Sherman Silver Law.

466. The Sherman Silver Law, 1890.--In the Civil War gold and silver had disappeared from circulation. But after the close of the war a gradual return was made to specie payments. In the colonial days the demand for silver, as compared with the demand for gold, outran the supply. The consequence was that silver was constantly becoming worth more in comparison with gold. In the nineteenth century the supply of silver has greatly outstripped the demand, with the result that silver has greatly declined in value as compared with gold. In 1871 the government decided to use silver for small coins only, and not to allow silver to be offered in payment of a larger sum than five dollars. This was called the "demonetization of silver." In 1878 a small but earnest band of advocates of the free coinage of silver secured the passage of an act of Congress for the coinage of two million silver dollars each month. The silver in each one of these dollars was only worth in gold from ninety to sixty cents. In 1890, Senator John Sherman of Ohio brought in a bill to increase the coinage of these silver dollars which, in 1894, were worth only forty nine cents on the dollar in gold.

Business depression.
Cleveland elected President, 1892.

467. Election of 1892.--One result of this great increase in the silver coinage was to alarm business men throughout the country. Business constantly declined. Every one who could lessened his expenses as much as possible. Mill owners and railroad managers discharged their workers or reduced their wages. Harrison and Cleveland were again the Republican and Democratic candidates for the presidency. As is always the case, the party in power was held to be responsible for the hard times. Enough voters turned to Cleveland to elect him, and he was inaugurated President for the second time (March 4, 1893).

Scarcity of money.
Repeal of the Sherman Law.
Wilson tariff.

468. Silver and the Tariff.--In the summer of 1893 there was a great scarcity of money. Thousands of people withdrew all the money they could from the banks and locked it up in places of security. But Congress repealed the Sherman Silver Law and put an end to the compulsory purchase of silver and the coinage of silver dollars. This tended to restore confidence. The Democrats once more overhauled the tariff. Under the lead of Representative Wilson of West Virginia they passed a tariff act, lowering some duties and placing many articles on the free list.

Chicago Exhibition, 1893.

469. The Chicago Exhibition, 1893.--The four hundredth anniversary of the Columbian discovery of America occurred in October, 1892. Preparations were made for holding a great commemorative exhibition at Chicago. But it took so long to get everything ready that the exhibition was not held until the summer of 1893. Beautiful buildings were erected of a cheap but satisfactory material. They were designed with the greatest taste, and were filled with splendid exhibits that showed the skill and resources of Americans, and also with the products of foreign countries. Hundreds of thousands of persons from all parts of the country visited the exhibition with pleasure and great profit. No more beautiful or successful exhibition has ever been held.


William McKinley.
W.J. Bryan.
McKinley elected President, 1896.

470. Election of 1896.--In 1896 the Republicans held their convention at St. Louis and nominated William McKinley of Ohio for President. They declared in favor of the gold standard, unless some arrangement with other nations for a standard of gold and silver could be made. They also declared for protection to home industries. The Democrats held their convention at Chicago. The men who had stood by Cleveland found themselves in a helpless minority. William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska was nominated for President on a platform advocating the free coinage of silver and many changes in the laws in the direction of socialism. The Populists and the Silver Republicans also adopted Bryan as their candidate. Now, at last, the question of the gold standard or the silver standard was fairly before the voters. They responded by electing McKinley and a Republican House of Representatives.

[Illustration: WILLIAM MCKINLEY.]

The Dingley tariff, 1897.

471. The Dingley Tariff, 1897.--The Republicans, once more in control of the government, set to work to reform the tariff in favor of high protection. Representative Dingley of Maine was chairman of the committee of the House that drew up the new bill, and the act as finally passed goes by his name. It raised the duties on some classes of goods and taxed many things that hitherto had come in free. Especially were duties increased on certain raw materials for manufactures, with a view to encourage the production of such materials in the United States. The reciprocity features of the McKinley tariff (P. 383) were also restored.



The Cubans rebel, 1894.
Spanish cruelties, Source-book, 374-379.

472. The Cuban Rebellion, 1894-98.--The Cubans laid down their arms in 1877 (p. 372) because they relied on the promises of better government made by the Spaniards. But these promises were never carried out. Year after year the Cuban people bore with their oppression. But at last their patience was worn out. In 1894 they again rebelled. The Spaniards sent over an army to subdue them. Soon tales of cruelty on the part of the Spaniards reached the United States. Finally the Spanish governor, General Weyler, adopted the cruel measure of driving the old men, the women, and the children from the country villages and huddling them together in the seaboard towns. Without money, without food, with scant shelter, these poor people endured every hardship. They died by thousands. The American people sent relief, but little could be done to help them. The Cubans also fitted out expeditions in American ports to carry arms and supplies to the rebels. The government did everything in its power to stop these expeditions, but the coast line of the United States is so long that it was impossible to stop them all, especially as large numbers of the American people heartily sympathized with the Cubans. Constant disputes with Spain over the Cuban question naturally came up and gave rise to irritation in the United States and in Spain.

[Illustration: THE "MAINE."]

Destruction of the Maine, 1898.
Cuban independence recognized.

473. The Declaration of War, 1898.--On January 5, 1898, the American battleship Maine anchored in Havana harbor. On February 15 she was destroyed by an explosion and sank with two hundred and fifty-three of her crew. A most competent Court of Inquiry was appointed. It reported that the Maine had been blown up from the outside. The report of the Court of Inquiry was communicated to the Spanish government in the hope that some kind of apology and reparation might be made. But all the Spanish government did was to propose that the matter should be referred to arbitration. The condition of the Cubans was now dreadful. Several Senators and Representatives visited Cuba. They reported that the condition of the Cubans was shocking. The President laid the whole matter before Congress for its determination. On April 19, 1898, Congress recognized the independence of the Cuban people and demanded the withdrawal of the Spaniards from the island. Congress also authorized the President to compel Spain's withdrawal and stated that the United States did not intend to annex Cuba, but to leave the government of the island to its inhabitants. Before these terms could be formally laid before the Spanish government, it ordered the American minister to leave Spain.

[Illustration: THE "OLYMPIA." From a photograph by Irving Underhill.]

Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, 1898.

474. The Destruction of the Spanish Pacific Fleet.--Admiral Dewey, commanding the American squadron on the Asiatic station, had concentrated all his vessels at Hong Kong, in the belief that war was at hand. Of course he could not stay at Hong Kong after the declaration of war. The only thing that he could do was to destroy the Spanish fleet and use Spanish ports as a naval base. The Spanish fleet was in Manila Bay. Thither sailed Dewey. In the darkness of the early morning of May 1, Dewey passed the Spanish forts at the entrance of the bay. The fleet was at anchor near the naval arsenal, a few miles from the city of Manila. As soon as it was light Dewey opened fire on the Spaniards. Soon one Spanish ship caught fire, then another, and another. Dewey drew off out of range for a time while his men rested and ate their breakfasts. He then steamed in again and completed the destruction of the enemy's fleet. Not an American ship was seriously injured. Not one American sailor was killed. This victory gave the Americans the control of the Pacific Ocean and the Asiatic waters, as far as Spain was concerned. It relieved the Pacific seacoast of the United States of all fear of attack. It made it possible to send soldiers and supplies to Manila, without fear of attack while on the way. And it was necessary to send soldiers because Dewey, while he was supreme on the water and could easily compel the surrender of Manila, could not properly police the town after its capture.

Defense of the Atlantic seaboard.
Blockade of Cuba.

475. The Atlantic Seacoast and the Blockade.--No sooner did war seem probable than the people on the Atlantic seacoast were seized with an unreasoning fear of the Spanish fleets. For the Spaniards had a few new fast ships. The mouths of the principal harbors were blocked with mines and torpedoes. The government bought merchant vessels of all kinds and established a patrol along the coast. It also blockaded the more important Cuban seaports. But the Cuban coast was so long that it was impossible to blockade it all. As it was, great suffering was inflicted on the principal Spanish armies in Cuba.

The Spanish-Atlantic fleet.
The American fleet.

476. The Atlantic Fleets.--Before long a Spanish fleet of four new, fast armored cruisers and three large sea-going torpedo-boat destroyers appeared in the West Indies. The Spanish admiral did not seem to know exactly where to go. But after sailing around the Caribbean Sea for a time, he anchored in Santiago harbor--on the southern coast of Cuba. In the American navy there were only two fast armored cruisers, the New York and the Brooklyn. These with five battleships--the Oregon, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Texas--and a number of smaller vessels were placed under the command of Admiral Sampson and sent to Santiago. Another fleet of sea-going monitors and unarmored cruisers maintained the Cuban blockade.

The Oregon's voyage.

477. The Oregon's Great Voyage.--When the Maine was destroyed, the Oregon was at Puget Sound on the northwest coast. She was at once ordered to sail to the Atlantic coast at her utmost speed. Steadily the great battleship sped southward along the Pacific coast of North America, Central America, and South America. She passed through Magellan Straits and made her way up the eastern coast of South America. As she approached the West Indies, it was feared that she might meet the whole Spanish fleet. But she never sighted them. She reached Florida in splendid condition and at once joined Sampson's squadron.

Sinking of the Merrimac

478. The Blockade of the Spanish Fleet.--Santiago harbor seemed to have been designed as a place of refuge for a hard-pressed fleet. Its narrow winding entrance was guarded by huge mountains strongly fortified. The channel between these mountains was filled with mines and torpedoes. The American fleet could not go in. The Spanish fleet must not be allowed to come out unseen. Lieutenant Hobson was ordered to take the collier Merrimac into the narrow entrance and sink her across the channel at the narrowest part. He made the most careful preparations. But the Merrimac was disabled and drifted by the narrowest part of the channel before she sank. The Spanish admiral was so impressed by the heroism of this attempt that he sent a boat off to the American squadron to assure them that Hobson and his six brave companions were safe.

Destruction of the Spanish Fleet.
Lessons of the victory.

479. Destruction of the Spanish Fleet.--As the American vessels could not enter Santiago harbor to sink the Spanish ships at their anchors, it became necessary to send an army to Santiago. But the Spaniards did not wait for the soldiers to capture the city. On Sunday morning, July 3, the Spanish fleet suddenly appeared steaming out of the harbor. The Massachusetts was away at the time, getting a supply of coal, and the New York was steaming away to take Admiral Sampson to a conference with General Shafter. But there were enough vessels left. On came the Spaniards. The American ships rushed toward them. The Spaniards turned westward and tried to escape along the coast. Soon one of them was set on fire by the American shells. She was run on shore to prevent her sinking. Then another followed her, and then a third. The torpedo-boat destroyers were sunk off the entrance to the harbor. But one ship now remained afloat. Speedily, she, too, was overtaken and surrendered. In a few hours the whole Spanish fleet was destroyed; hundreds of Spanish seamen were killed, wounded, or drowned, and sixteen hundred Spanish sailors captured. The American loss was one man killed and two wounded. The American ships were practically ready to destroy another Spanish fleet had one been within reach. At Manila Bay and off Santiago the American fleets were superior to the enemy's fleets. But the astounding results of their actions were due mainly to the splendid manner in which the American ships had been cared for and, above all, to the magnificent training and courage of the men behind the guns. Years of peace had not in any way dimmed the splendid qualities of the American sea-fighters.

Military preparations.
The volunteers.

480. The American Army.--Meantime the American soldiers on shore at Santiago were doing their work under great discouragement, but with a valor and stubbornness that will always compel admiration. While the navy was silently and efficiently increased to be a well-ordered force, the army was not so well managed at first. Soldiers there were in plenty. From all parts of the Union, from the South and from the North, from the West and from the East, from the cattle ranches of the plains and the classrooms of the great universities, patriots offered their lives at their country's call. But there was great lack of order in the management of the army. Sickness broke out among the soldiers. Volunteer regiments were supplied with old-fashioned rifles. It seemed to be difficult to move one regiment from one place to another without dire confusion. When the Spanish fleet was shut up in Santiago harbor, a force of fifteen thousand soldiers under General Shafter was sent to capture Santiago itself and make the harbor unsafe for the ships.


The landing.
La Guasimas. Source-Book, 380-382.
San Juan and Caney.
Fall of Santiago.

481. The Santiago Expedition.--On June 22 and 23 the expedition landed not far to the east of the entrance to Santiago harbor. Steep and high mountains guard this part of the coast. But no attempt was made to prevent the landing of the Americans. Dismounted cavalrymen of the regular army and Roosevelt's Rough Riders, also on foot, at once pushed on toward Santiago. At La Guasimas the Spaniards tried to stop them. But the regulars and the Rough Riders drove them away, and the army pushed on. By June 28 it had reached a point within a few miles of the city. The Spaniards occupied two very strong positions at San Juan (San Huan) and Caney. On July 1 they were driven from them. The regulars and the volunteers showed the greatest courage and heroism. They crossed long open spaces in the face of a terrible fire from the Spaniards, who were armed with modern rifles. The rains now set in, and the sufferings of the troops became terrible. On July 3 the Spanish fleet sailed out of the harbor to meet its doom from the guns of the American warships. Reinforcements were sent to Shafter, and heavy guns were dragged over the mountain roads and placed in positions commanding the enemy's lines. The Spaniards surrendered, and on July 17 the Americans entered the captured city.


The Porto Rico expedition.

482. The Porto Rico Campaign.--The only other important colony still remaining to Spain in America was Porto Rico. General Nelson A. Miles led a strong force to its conquest. Instead of landing on the northern coast near San Juan, the only strongly fortified position on the seacoast, General Miles landed his men on the southern coast near Ponce (Pon-tha). The inhabitants received the Americans with the heartiest welcome. This was on August 1. The American army then set out to cross the island. But before they had gone very far news came of the ending of the hostilities.

Fall of Manila.

483. Fall of Manila.--When the news of Dewey's victory (p. 390) reached the United States, soldiers were sent to his aid. But this took time, for it was a very long way from San Francisco to the Philippines and vessels suitable for transports were not easily procured on the Pacific coast. General Wesley Merritt was given command of the land forces. Meantime, for months Dewey with his fleet blockaded Manila from the water side, while Philippine insurgents blockaded it from the land side. Foreign vessels, especially the German vessels, jealously watched the operations of the American fleet and severely taxed Dewey's patience. On August 17 Merritt felt strong enough to attack the city. It was at once surrendered to him.


DEPENDENCIES OF THE UNITED STATES. All on same scale as United States, 1900.

Treaty of Peace, 1898.

484. End of the War.--The destruction of the Spanish Atlantic fleet and the fall of Santiago convinced the Spaniards that further resistance was useless. So it was agreed that the fighting should be stopped. This was in July, 1898. But the actual treaty of peace was not made until the following December. The conditions were that Spain should abandon Cuba, should cede to the United States Porto Rico, the Philippines, and some smaller islands, and should receive from the United States twenty million dollars. For many years American missionaries, merchants, and planters had been interested in the Hawaiian Islands. The war showed the importance of these islands to the United States as a military and naval station, and they were annexed.

485. Prosperity.--The years 1898-1900 have been a period of unbounded prosperity for the American people. Foreign trade has increased enormously, and the manufactures of the United States are finding a ready market in other countries. A rebellion has been going on in the Philippines, but it seems to be slowly dying out (February, 1900).



§§ 464, 465.--a. Why was Harrison chosen President?

b. What is "tariff reform"? What is "reciprocity"? Do you consider such a method wise or not? Why?

§§ 466, 467.--a. Why was silver demonetized? What is meant by the word "demonetization"?

b. What was the Sherman Silver Law? What effect did it have upon business?

c. Was there any reason for the fear on the part of business men?

d. Why was Harrison defeated in 1892?

§§ 468, 469.--a. Why did money become scarce in the summer of 1893?

b. How did the repeal of the Sherman Law affect confidence in the future of business?

c. Describe the Chicago Exhibition. What is the advantage of such an exhibition?

§§ 470, 471.--a. Who were the leading candidates for the presidency in 1896? What principles did they stand for?

b. Explain the provisions of the Dingley Tariff.

c. Ask some business man what he thinks of the wisdom of changing the tariff very often.


§§ 472, 473.--a. What promises had the Spaniards made to the Cubans and how had they kept them?

b. What do you think of Weyler's policy?

c. Could the Spanish war have been avoided?

§ 474.--a. Why could not Admiral Dewey remain at Hong Kong?

b. Describe the battle of Manila Bay. What were the results of this action?

§§ 475-477.--a. Why were the American people on the Atlantic seacoast alarmed? Were the harbors well defended?

b. Compare the American and the Spanish Atlantic fleets. Why was the voyage of the Oregon important?

§§ 478, 479.--a. Describe the harbor of Santiago. What advantages did it possess for the Spaniards?

b. How did Hobson try to prevent the escape of the Spanish fleet?

c. Describe the encounter between the two fleets.

d. To what was this great success due?

§§ 480-482.--a. From what parts of the country did the volunteers come?

b. Why was there so much confusion in the army?

c. Describe the Santiago campaign and the suffering of the soldiers.

d. Describe the Porto Rico expedition. Why did General Miles land on the southern coast?

§§ 483-485.--a. Why were the soldiers needed after Dewey's victory?

b. Give the conditions of peace. Exactly what was the condition as to Cuba?

c. Why are the Hawaiian Islands important to the United States?


a. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a tariff?

b. What important matters have been definitely settled during the past one hundred years?

c. What are some of the problems now before the American people?

d. Should the United States be a "world power"?


a. Present condition of any part of the United States or dependent territories.

b. Any campaign or battle of the Spanish War.

c. Present political parties and their principles.


Interesting constitutional questions will inevitably arise in teaching this section, but the events are too recent to admit of dogmatizing on lines of policy. The Spanish War and the Philippine trouble are too near to be properly judged, and the facts only should be taught. The duties and responsibilities resting upon the United States through its closer connection with all parts of the world can, however, be emphasized without the display of partisan spirit. Furthermore, the causes of present prosperity and the industrial advantages of the United States may well demand attention. Throughout every part of this section, also, the importance of good citizenship, in the broadest sense of the word, should receive special emphasis.