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.

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 Philippines.

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]

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. [5]

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.

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 dependency.

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]

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.

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 republic.

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.

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, 1899.

[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 received.

[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 $400,000,000.

[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 Presidency.