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United States

The rise of the new west was the most significant fact in American history in the years immediately following the War of 1812. Ever since the beginnings of colonization on the Atlantic coast a frontier of settlement had advanced, cutting into the forest, pushing back the Indian, and steadily widening the area of civilization in its rear. [Footnote: Three articles by F.J. Turner, viz.: "Significance of the Frontier in American History," in Am. Hist.

Arrived at the nearest point to his destination on the Ohio, the emigrant either cut out a road to his new home or pushed up some tributary of that river in a keel-boat. If he was one of the poorer classes, he became a squatter on the public lands, trusting to find in the profits of his farming the means of paying for his land. Not uncommonly, after clearing the land, he sold his improvements to the actual purchaser, under the customary usage or by pre-emption laws.

In planning the campaign against Santiago, Admiral Sampson wished the army immediately to assault the defenses at the harbor mouth in order to open the way for the navy. General Shafter, however, after conferring with General Garcia, the commander of the insurgents, decided to march overland against the city. The army did not have sufficient small vessels to effect a landing; but the navy came to its assistance, and on the 22d of June the first American troops began to disembark at Daiquiri, though it was not until the 26th that the entire expedition was on shore.

While the American people were concentrating their attention upon the blockade of Santiago near their own shores, the situation in the distant islands of the Pacific was rapidly becoming acute. All through June, Dewey had been maintaining himself, with superb nerve, in Manila Harbor, in the midst of uncertain neutrals. A couple of unwieldy United States monitors were moving slowly to his assistance from the one side, while a superior Spanish fleet was approaching from the other. On the 26th of June, the Spanish Admiral Camara had reached Port Said, but he was not entirely happy.

In a large way, ever since the Spanish War, the United States has been adjusting its policy to the world conditions of which that struggle first made the people aware. The period between 1898 and 1917 will doubtless be regarded by the historian a hundred years from now as a time of transition similar to that between 1815 and 1829. In that earlier period John Marshall and John Quincy Adams did much by their wisdom and judgment to preserve what was of value in the old regime for use in the new.

The United States arrived in the Orient at a moment of high excitement. Russia was consolidating the advance of two centuries by the building of the trans-Siberian railroad, and was looking eagerly for a port in the sun, to supplement winter-bound Vladivostok. Great Britain still regarded Russia as the great enemy and, pursuing her policy of placing buffer states between her territories and her enemies, was keenly interested in preventing any encroachment southward which might bring the Russian bear nearer India.

While American troops were threading the mountain passes and the morasses of the Philippines, scaling the walls of Pekin, and sunning themselves in the delectable pleasances of the Forbidden City, and while American Secretaries of State were penning dispatches which determined the fate of countries on the opposite side of the globe, the old diplomatic problems nearer home still persisted.

As the acquisition of the Philippines made all Far Eastern questions of importance to the United States, so the investment of American millions in a canal across the Isthmus of Panama increased popular interest in the problems of the Caribbean. That fascinating sheet of water, about six hundred miles from north to south by about fifteen hundred from east to west, is ringed around by the possessions of many powers.

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