BECK index

United States & McKinley’s War 1897-1901

by Sanderson Beck

McKinley to 1897
United States & McKinley in 1897
United States & McKinley’s War in 1898
United States & McKinley’s Filipino War 1899-1901
United States & McKinley in 1899
United States & McKinley in 1900
United States & McKinley in 1901

McKinley to 1897

      William McKinley was born in Ohio on 29 January 1843 as the seventh of nine children. A move provided a better school in 1852. His parents were religious Methodists, and William was baptized at a camp meeting in 1858. He graduated from the Poland Academy in 1859 and entered Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, but he became ill and went home after one year. He worked as a postal clerk and taught school. The McKinleys were strong abolitionists, and William enlisted for three years in the Union Army as a private on 11 June 1861. He admired Major Rutherford B. Hayes, became a commissary sergeant, and was wounded in a battle. During the battle at Antietam he took hot food and coffee to troops on the front line, and Hayes promoted him to second lieutenant. After he showed his bravery as a messenger, he was made a captain. He studied law and became a Freemason. After the battle at Cedar Creek in October 1864 McKinley was promoted to a brevet major without the pay increase.
      He began studying with an attorney, and in September 1866 he went to Albany Law School in New York for one term. He passed the Ohio bar exam in March 1867, and that year he campaigned for the Republican Hayes who was elected Governor of Ohio. McKinley also supported General Grant for President in 1868 by organizing Grant Clubs and rallies. In 1869 McKinley was elected the prosecuting attorney for Stark County. By enforcing the liquor laws he prevented saloon-keepers from selling alcohol to college students, and he was not re-elected. He impressed Ida Saxton when as the YMCA president he introduced Horace Greeley. He married Ida in January 1871. Their two daughters had died by 1875, and Ida suffered from depression and other health problems.
      In the spring of 1876 McKinley defended 23 striking coal miners on various charges, and the jury acquitted 22 of them. In October he was elected to Congress from Canton, Ohio, and he advised President-elect Hayes on appointments. In 1878 McKinley voted for the government purchasing silver, but President Hayes vetoed the bill. McKinley advocated protective tariffs that aided the manufacturing of farm equipment, and he was re-elected in 1880 and replaced President-elect Garfield on the Ways and Means Committee. He lost a contested election in 1882 as Democrats made gains. McKinley won again in the next three Congressional elections. In a speech on 1 October 1885 at Ironton, Ohio he estimated that 5 million blacks, who were 41% of the population in the South, were not allowed to vote and were not represented.
      At the 1888 Republican convention McKinley supported Senator John Sherman of Ohio. When Sherman’s votes declined, McKinley told the convention that he would not consent to having his name be used as a candidate. Hayes advised McKinley to become a specialist on tariffs, and he became an expert and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on 4 March 1889. He proposed reducing the annual $60 million surplus by $10 million by repealing the domestic excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol. The McKinley tariff bill, which he called “an act to reduce the revenue,” would eliminate all duties on sugar, but Senators ruined the bill by adding 496 amendments that increased the duties. He claimed that 29 years of protective tariffs enabled the United States to lead all the nations in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. He came in second in the election for Speaker of the House to the Republican Thomas Reed of Maine on 4 December 1889.
      Americans began suffering an economic recession in 1890. Rep. Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts in March introduced a bill that would allow 100 voters in a district to contest a congressional election, and southerners called it a “force bill.” McKinley believed that their black allies must not be forsaken and that they should have their constitutional rights. He supported the Lodge bill and opposed an amendment by Rep. John Hemphill of South Carolina that would take away the President’s power to enforce voting rights, saying that “the conscience of the American people will not be permitted to slumber until this great constitutional right—the equality of suffrage” is “a living birthright.” He warned, “The people of the North will not continue to permit two votes to the South to count as much as five notes in the North.”1 After the Civil War the emancipation of black citizens had given the South 37 more seats in Congress and 37 more Electoral College votes. If they denied blacks the vote, southern whites would have even more power than they had during slavery. In 1890 Democrats gerrymandered McKinley’s district so that they had 3,000 more Democrats than Republicans. Yet they defeated his re-election by only 302 votes out of 39,816. In the House of Representatives the Democrats replaced the “Billion-Dollar Congress” and gained 86 seats to give them a 238-93 dominance over Republicans. In the 1892 elections Democrats returned Cleveland to the White House and retained a 218-124 advantage in the House. Their party prevented the President from intervening in elections from then until the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.
      In March 1891 McKinley went to the home of the former Republican Governor Joseph Foraker of Ohio and asked him to nominate him for governor at the convention in June at Columbus. Foraker spoke so well that the delegates nominated McKinley by acclamation. The incumbent Democrat Gov. James Campbell was for more silver coinage. McKinley was for bimetallism balancing gold and silver, but his supporting the 1890 Sherman Silver Purchase Act had disastrous results for the government’s gold reserves. He agreed with Cleveland on the “double standard” of gold and silver. McKinley campaigned in 84 of Ohio’s 88 counties. The political operative Mark Hanna raised money for his campaign, and McKinley defeated Campbell in November 1891 by 21,511 votes. Republicans were double the Democrats in the state legislature. McKinley planned to improve conditions to make railroad workers safer, and he wanted to revive the deteriorating canals in Ohio. The majority Republicans in the state legislature passed all of McKinley’s policies in the next two years.
      The Republican National Convention met at Minneapolis in June 1892, and delegates unanimously chose McKinley as permanent chairman of the convention. On the first ballot the incumbent President Harrison was nominated with 535 votes while James Blaine received 183. Ohio gave all their votes to McKinley despite his objection, and he had 182 votes. Hanna arranged a national tour enabling McKinley to speak in support of Harrison, and he visited nine states in the North and West from Pennsylvania to Colorado. The former President Cleveland defeated President Harrison by 372,639 votes, and the Republicans also lost nine seats in the Senate; but they regained 38 House seats after having lost 85 in 1890.
      In February 1893 McKinley learned that his old friend Robert L. Walker, who had asked him to guarantee many of his loans, was on the verge of bankruptcy. McKinley recalled co-signing loans for $17,000, but his patron Myron Herrick eventually informed McKinley that his share of the debt was about $130,000. Friends and supporters of McKinley began contributing various amounts including $40,000 from Chicago. His wife Ida was willing to turn over her property that was worth about $75,000, and they decided to keep that in reserve in case it was needed. Herrick persuaded the banks to discount the debts by 10%. McKinley was re-elected as governor in November by about 81,000 votes.
      In April 1894 about 200,000 coal miners in Ohio walked off their jobs in one of the largest strikes that also affected Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois. Local sheriffs in Ohio asked for troops, and McKinley sent 3,000 militia to suppress the violence in the five eastern counties. After the strike ended, he arranged for funds and provisions to help miners and others suffering from the strike. During the fall elections McKinley gave 371 speeches as he traveled through seventeen states. That helped Republicans gain 110 seats in the House of Representatives. In his second term Gov. McKinley made Ohio taxes more progressive and improved civil rights. On October 18 he dispatched the National Guard to protect the young black William Dolby, who had been accused of assaulting a white woman, from a mob of over a thousand people gathered outside. When they broke into the courthouse, seven people were killed. Many blamed the soldiers instead of the mob. McKinley announced,

Lynching cannot be tolerated in Ohio.
The law of the state must be supreme …
and the agents of the law, acting within the law,
must be sustained.2

His last act as Governor of Ohio was to sign an anti-lynching bill.
      Mark Hanna rented a home in Thomasville, Georgia and invited McKinley and his wife Ida. Although they did not expect to win southern states in the election, they could gain many Republican delegates from there to help him get the nomination. Early in 1895 McKinley traveled with Hanna to Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, and Virginia to persuade Republicans and black leaders to support McKinley, and at the 1896 convention McKinley would get 197 of the 225 votes from the South on the first ballot.
      Mark Hanna in May 1895 went to New York on behalf of McKinley’s candidacy to meet with the Republican political bosses in the northeast. The most powerful were the former Senator Tom Platt of New York, two former chairmen of the Republican National Committee: Pennsylvania’s Senator Matthew Quay and James S. Clarkson of Iowa as well as the current chairman Joseph H. Manley of Maine and Rhode Island’s Senator Nelson Aldrich. They wanted a Republican president who would grant them patronage. Hanna told McKinley that Platt wanted to be guaranteed in writing that he would be Treasury Secretary because President Benjamin Harrison had not kept that promise. Hanna suggested that McKinley recognize their requests in order to get the nomination and then not accept them, but McKinley refused to do that, saying, “If I cannot be President without promising to make Tom Platt Secretary of the Treasury, I will never be President.”3 Hanna agreed with his candidate, and they adopted the slogan, “The People Against the Bosses.” They planned a six-month campaign to win delegates in the state conventions. Hanna ran the campaign at the headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. The depression started by the Panic of 1893 brought about 15% unemployment. Hanna in August met at his home in Cleveland with the former governors William Merriam of Minnesota and Russell Alger of Michigan.
      On 4 February 1896 Benjamin Harrison told Indiana’s Republican chairman John Gowdy that he was not going to run again. McKinley called Charles Dick in Akron and sent him to “take up the Indiana situation.” Young Charles G. Dawes volunteered to work for McKinley, and he managed the McKinley campaign in Illinois where state convention delegates overcame those backing their US Senator Shelby Cullom. McKinley made a speech in Chicago on Lincoln’s birthday, and he criticized the “debt-increasing, bond-issuing, gold-depleting, labor-destroying, low tariff polices” of the Cleveland Administration. On March 10 the Ohio state Republican convention endorsed McKinley for President. Quay visited McKinley at Canton on May 22, and he declared that Major McKinley “is sound on the money question.”
      The Republican National Convention began in St. Louis on June 16. The platform advocated a free Cuba, and the McKinley draft was that he would not do anything “to debase our currency or disturb our credit.” They also proposed,

It is the plain duty of the United States to maintain
our present standard, and we are therefore
opposed under existing conditions to the free
and unlimited coinage of silver at sixteen to one.4

The Resolutions Committee approved the McKinley gold plank by a vote of 40-11. Senator Henry Teller of Colorado and other westerners wanted to replace that with a free-silver plank, but that was defeated 105-818. Then Teller and two dozen delegates walked out. The former Ohio Republican Governor Joseph Foraker made the nominating speech. When he mentioned McKinley’s name, the delegates cheered for about a half hour. He won on the first ballot with 661 votes to 84 for House Speaker Thomas Reed, 61 for Senator Quay of Pennsylvania, and 58 for Gov. Levi Morton of New York. Hanna did not want to reward Platt by selecting Morton for Vice President, and McKinley chose Garret Hobart of New Jersey. Hanna became the new Chairman of the Republican National Committee.
      At the Democrats’ convention in Chicago on July 7-11 they advocated unlimited coinage of silver and gold at a ratio of 16 to 1, government regulating trusts and railroads, and a more effective Interstate Commerce Commission while they opposed the protective tariff and the Supreme Court’s ruling that a federal income tax was unconstitutional. McKinley expected that Rep. Richard Bland of Missouri would be nominated, but Dawes predicted that if William Jennings Bryan was allowed to speak there, they would choose him. Bryan gave the last speech during the platform debate on July 9, and he noted that Republicans had nominated McKinley who advocated maintaining the gold standard. He compared the Democrats’ economics to the Republicans’ which later came to be known as the “trickle down” theory.

There are two ideas of government.
There are those who believe that,
if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous,
that their prosperity will leak through on those below.
The Democratic idea, however, has been that
if you legislate to make the masses prosperous,
their prosperity will find its way up
and through every class which rests upon them.5

 They cheered him for a half hour after he concluded with the following:

If they dare to come out in the open field
and defend the gold standard as a good thing,
we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us
the producing masses of the nation and the world.
Having behind us the commercial interests
and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses,
we shall answer their demands for a gold standard
by saying to them, you shall not press down
upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns.
You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.6

      Bland led on the first ballot, but on the fifth ballot Bryan gained well over the two-thirds needed for the Democratic nomination. The former railroad president Arthur Sewall of Maine was also nominated on the 5th ballot for Vice President.
      Mark Hanna devoted himself to raising money in New York, and he appointed Charles Dawes to run the campaign in Chicago. Dawes distributed about 100 million articles during the campaign to 15 million voters while Hanna sent out 20 million pieces of literature in the northeast. Silver was the main issue for many, and their 40-page article on that was popular. They also distributed about 3 million articles to newspapers each week. This campaign spent $3,562,326 which was twice what the former President Harrison had in 1892. Hanna asked the wealthy for 2% of their annual incomes. They received $250,000 from the Standard Oil Company and $2,500 from John D. Rockefeller, $250,000 from J. P. Morgan, $174,000 from some railroad companies, $41,000 from Chicago meatpacking firms, and $50,000 from the New York Life Insurance Company which usually gave to Democrats.
      Bryan traveled about 18,000 miles in 29 states and gave 570 speeches, but the Democrats raised only about $300,000 for his campaign. In July the People’s Party met at St. Louis and nominated Bryan but with Tom Watson of Georgia as a running mate instead of Sewall which complicated those ballots. On July 25 the Silver Party nominated Bryan and Sewall. The National Democratic Party, who were called “Gold Democrats,” nominated John Palmer. That party and the Prohibition Party with Joshua Levering each got just under 1% of the popular vote.
      McKinley had decided he would not go on a tour to make speeches. Instead he stayed home in Canton with his wife Ida, and he spoke about a dozen times each day on their front porch to large groups that visited. An estimated 750,000 people came from thirty states. His speeches were also sent out to newspapers. McKinley in August criticized the Democrats for advocating free silver and free trade instead of the gold standard and the protective tariff. On August 23 he told about 500 farmers that free silver would not remove their competition against wheat from Russia, India, and the Argentine Republic. In October wheat prices rose because of poor crops in India, Russia, and Australia.
      The total number of votes on November 3 was 13,936,957 which was nearly 80% of the eligible voters. The number of votes for the President increased in each election from 1828 to 1908. McKinley was the first person to get over 50% of the votes since Grant in 1872. He had 51% with 7,112,138 votes to 6,510,807 for Bryan. McKinley won 23 states with all the northeastern and midwestern states except Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota, plus Kentucky, California, and Oregon. Bryan got 22 states which included all the southern states along with Missouri and the rest of the western states. McKinley won the Electoral College 271-176. Bryan was the first US presidential candidate to congratulate the winner with a telegram, beginning the tradition of conceding to the winner.
      President-elect McKinley was very grateful to Mark Hanna for helping him get nominated and elected, and he learned that Hanna wanted to be a senator rather than in the cabinet. Hanna suggested the President make Senator John Sherman the Secretary of State so that Ohio’s Gov. Asa Bushnell could replace Sherman by appointing Hanna, and that eventually worked out. McKinley rejected advice from Tom Platt who had just been elected as a US Senator from New York.
      McKinley made Lyman J. Gage, who was president of the First National Bank of Chicago, the Treasury Secretary even though he had become a Gold Democrat to support President Cleveland. Michigan’s former Gov. Russell Alger became Secretary of War despite his questionable service as a general in the Civil War. McKinley chose the former Congressman and current Federal appeals judge Joseph McKenna of California as the Attorney General. The former Gov. John D. Long of Massachusetts agreed to be Navy Secretary. McKinley appointed the former Iowa Congressman James Wilson as Secretary of Agriculture, and he would stay in that position for 16 years. Southerners were pleased that the President-elect chose the successful textile executive James Gary of Maryland as the Postmaster General. He needed someone from New York and finally named Cornelius Bliss to be the Interior Secretary on 3 March 1897. That day McKinley dined at the White House with the President and Mrs. Cleveland, and they agreed on the gold standard. Cleveland later recalled,

The one question on McKinley’s mind
was the threatened war with Spain.
He went over with me, carefully,
the steps that I had taken to avert this catastrophe,
emphasized his agreement with the policy adopted
and expressed his determination
to carry it out so far as lay in his power.7

      McKinley appointed the experienced John Hay to be the minister to Britain. Although he was warned that Theodore Roosevelt was pugnacious, the President gave him the position he wanted as Assistant Navy Secretary. McKinley appointed several prominent blacks such as Blanche K. Bruce, who had been a US Senator for Mississippi and was recommended by Booker T. Washington. John Campbell Dancy had graduated from Howard University and was an editor and businessman, and he was given the lucrative position of collector for the port of Wilmington, North Carolina with a $4,000 annual salary. McKinley appointed 179 black men to government jobs in his first six months.

United States & McKinley in 1897

            About 40,000 people attended the inauguration of President William McKinley on 4 March 1897. He began by “invoking the guidance of Almighty God.” He discussed the depression of the previous four years and suggested remedies such as more revenues from higher tariffs on imported goods. He noted that the current government had an annual deficit of $70 million. He emphasized the importance of adhering to the principles that established their government. He said,

Equality of rights must prevail, and our laws be
always and everywhere respected and obeyed.
We may have failed in the discharge of our full duty
as citizens of the great Republic,
but it is consoling and encouraging to realize that
free speech, a free press, free thought, free schools,
the free and unmolested right of religious liberty
and worship, and free and fair elections are dearer
and more universally enjoyed to-day than ever before.
These guaranties must be sacredly preserved
and wisely strengthened.
The constituted authorities must be
cheerfully and vigorously upheld.
Lynchings must not be tolerated
in a great and civilized country like the United States;
courts, not mobs, must execute the penalties of the law.
The preservation of public order, the right of discussion,
the integrity of courts, and the orderly administration
of justice must continue forever the rock of safety
upon which our Government securely rests.8

He promised that the Republican Party would protect citizens from corporate abuses.

The declaration of the party now restored to power
has been in the past that of
“opposition to all combinations of capital organized in trusts,
or otherwise, to control arbitrarily the condition of trade
among our citizens,” and it has supported “such legislation
as will prevent the execution of all schemes
to oppress the people by undue charges on their supplies,
or by unjust rates for the transportation
of their products to the market.”9

He emphasized the importance of public education.

Nor must we be unmindful of the need of improvement
among our own citizens, but with the zeal of our forefathers
encourage the spread of knowledge and free education. Illiteracy must be banished from the land
if we shall attain that high destiny as the foremost
of the enlightened nations of the world
which, under Providence, we ought to achieve.
   Reforms in the civil service must go on.10

The Cleveland administrations had increased the positions covered by the civil service reforms from 42,000 to 87,000.
      McKinley discussed foreign policy and war and peace.

We have cherished the policy of non-interference
with affairs of foreign governments wisely inaugurated
by Washington, keeping ourselves free from entanglement,
either as allies or foes, content to leave undisturbed
with them the settlement of their own domestic concerns….
We want no wars of conquest;
we must avoid the temptation of territorial aggression.
War should never be entered
upon until every agency of peace has failed;
peace is preferable to war in almost every contingency.
Arbitration is the true method of settlement
of international as well as local or individual differences.11

McKinley criticized the tradition of Congress adjourning after a November election from March to December, and he summoned the Congress to an “extraordinary session on Monday, the 15th day of March, 1897.” His address did not mention Cuba or Spain. After the speech Grover Cleveland apologized to McKinley at the White House and made a prediction, ”I am deeply sorry, Mr. President, to pass on to you a war with Spain. It will come within two years. Nothing can stop it.”12
      President McKinley met with his cabinet on Tuesdays and Fridays. He listened to their ideas and then made his own decisions. Having been in Congress he found it easy to talk with them, and he often offered patronage to gain their votes. McKinley had good relations with the press by having his best staffers keep them informed on current activities. While traveling he would talk with reporters on the train. During his presidency he went on forty speaking tours. As President he gave 38 public speeches in 1897, 74 in 1898, and 108 in 1899. He formed voluntary commissions to study current issues and included knowledgeable scholars. Secretary of State John Sherman turned 74 in May and had trouble with his memory and sometimes confused State Department policies. McKinley relied on the Assistant Secretary of State William Day, and he replaced Sherman in April 1898. Young Charles Dawes and his wife Caro were always welcome at the White House, and at the beginning of 1898 he became the Comptroller of the Currency.
      House Ways and Means Chairman Nelson Dingley crafted a moderate tariff bill that the journalist Ida Tarbell described as “a fairly good protectionist measure” that she believed improved on the McKinley Bill. The Republicans passed it in the House on 31 March 1897 to replace the Democrats’ 1894 Wilson-Gorman tariff. The US Senate added 872 amendments raising many rates before passing it on July 7. McKinley was pleased that it provided for three kinds of reciprocal negotiation, and he signed it into law on July 24. Prices on raw materials had reached a low in 1896, and this bill revived the economy and would remain in force for twelve years.
      The First Lady Ida McKinley had many health problems that included occasional seizures and times when she was an invalid. Her husband, the President, was very caring and solicitous to her, and sometimes the Vice President’s wife Jennie Hobart filled in for her.
      President McKinley in April appointed a commission to fix the relative value of gold to silver that was led by Colorado’s Senator Edward Wolcott, the outgoing Vice President and Democrat Adlai Stevenson, and the industrialist Charles J. Paine. They attempted to persuade the governments of Britain, France, Germany, and others to attend a bimetallism conference. The President told them to keep this issue separate from the tariff policy. On July 16 the minister John Hay wrote to McKinley that the British and the French were favorable. On October 11 Hay learned from the Chancellor of the Exchequer Michael Hicks Beach that the government of India was against silver coinage and held firmly to the gold standard. The Bank of England was also adhering to gold. The world’s gold production was going up from $205 million in 1896 to $240 million in 1897 and rose to $300 million by 1900. This relieved McKinley of the concern that his gold policy might restrict trade.
      At the beginning of July 1897 the Trans-Mississippi Congress met in Salt Lake City with William Jennings Bryan as chairman, and they passed a resolution for annexing Hawaii, building an isthmian canal, and liberating Cuba.
      In 1890 Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan had published his lectures at the Naval War College as The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783. He warned that the European powers were building up their navies and advised that the United States must do the same in order to be a world power. Mahan’s ideas were supported by Theodore Roosevelt who had published The Naval War of 1812 in 1882.
      McKinley wanted to annex the Hawaiian Islands which President Cleveland had reversed in 1893. After McKinley’s election Hawaii’s President Sanford Dole sent the Provisional Vice President Francis Hatch as the Hawaiian envoy to the United States. McKinley knew that House Speaker Reed opposed the annexation of Hawaii, and the President avoided antagonizing him. At this time Japan had 18,156 men of voting age in Hawaii; the 17,663 Chinese men were not asking for the franchise; and there were 13,148 native Hawaiians and 8,275 whites. Many Japanese were immigrating in January 1897, and Japan sent its largest warship to Honolulu.
      McKinley responded on April 2 by ordering Navy Secretary Long to send to Hawaii three warships including the armed cruiser Philadelphia commanded by Admiral Lester Beardslee. That month Japan’s ambassador Okuma told Secretary of State Sherman that Japan was against the US annexation of Hawaii, but Sherman did not inform the President. The House Foreign Affairs Committee led by Rep. Robert Hitt began holding hearings on the annexation. McKinley asked Theodore Roosevelt to determine which ships could go to Hawaii quickly. Hawaii began rejecting more immigrants from Japan. When McKinley sent Harold M. Sewall as the minister to Hawaii, Edwin Godkin in The Nation called Sewall “a Jingo and annexationist.” Carl Schurz also opposed Sewall because he was an imperialist. The Japanese warship Naniwa arrived at Honolulu with the special emissary Akiyama Masanosuke who complained that Hawaii’s rejecting Japanese immigrants was violating their 1871 treaty. He promised an investigation that could lead to an indemnity. William Day asked Hawaii’s Secretary of State John W. Foster for an annexation treaty, and he found the one that President Harrison had used in 1893.
      On May 17 McKinley sent a message to Congress informing them that about 700 American citizens in Cuba were destitute, and he asked Congress to approve $50,000 to relieve them. They did so right away, and the House passed it a few days later.
      On May 20 Alabama’s Senator John Tyler Morgan offered a resolution recognizing that “a condition of public war exists between the government of Spain and the government proclaimed” and that the United States should pledge “strict neutrality between the contending parties.”13 The US Senate passed this 41-14 over the objections of McKinley’s allies.
      On June 2 the Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt argued for a strong navy at the Naval War College, and he used the word “war” 62 times in his speech. He also said,

All the great masterful races have been fighting races,
and the minute that a race loses the hard fighting virtues,
then … no matter how skilled in commerce and finance,
in science or art, it has lost
its proud right to stand as the equal of the best….
No triumph of peace is quite so great
as the supreme triumphs of war.14

One week later Roosevelt wrote in a letter to the respected naval historian Alfred Thayer Mahan,

Yesterday I urged immediate action by the President
as regards Hawaii.
Entirely between ourselves,
I believe he will act very shortly.
If we take Hawaii now, we shall avoid trouble with Japan,
but I get very despondent at times over the blindness
of our people, especially of the best-educated classes.
   In strict confidence I want to tell you that Secretary Long
is only lukewarm about building up our Navy,
at any rate as regards battleships.15

The McKinley Administration received dispatches from Honolulu in June demanding indemnities for rejected Japanese immigrants and their rights in Hawaii. McKinley decided to send the annexation treaty to the Senate for ratification. On June 10 Navy Secretary Long wired Admiral Beardslee,

Watch carefully the situation.
If Japanese openly resort to force,
such as military occupation or seizure of public buildings,
confer with Minister and authorities, land a suitable force,
and announce officially provisional assumption of
protectorate pending ratification of treaty of annexation.16

On June 16 Sherman and Hawaiian diplomatic commissioners signed the treaty. McKinley sent it to the Senate, and he approved leaking to the press Beardslee’s orders. Japan in late July agreed to Hawaii’s offer to submit all their disputes to arbitration. By fall the United States had assured the Japanese that the US would honor the legitimate indemnity claims. The US Congress would approve the annexation treaty on 4 July 1898 by a joint resolution that required only majority votes. The House passed it 209-81, and two days later the Senate approved it 42-21. McKinley signed it the next day.
      Some US politicians were concerned about how American citizens in Cuba during the insurgency were being treated. At the end of 1896 Cuba was occupied by about 160,000 Spanish soldiers. Spain complained about filibusterers from the United States, and McKinley agreed with Cleveland that they should be stopped. Secretary of State Sherman in April warned Americans going to Cuba to act in lawful ways, or they would face consequences for hostile acts. The Republican Senator George F. Hoar of Massachusetts passionately opposed imperialism.
      McKinley had sent Stewart Woodford of New York as minister to Madrid in June, and on July 16 Sherman wrote to Woodford in Spain that their policy was neither to annex Cuba nor to fight a war and that McKinley was willing to mediate to achieve a peaceful solution.
      On August 19 the Secretary’s second assistant in the State Department, Alvey A. Adee, wrote a memorandum that Sherman sent to McKinley which warned,

A “recognition of belligerency”—as the issuance
of a formal proclamation of neutrality is generally styled—
is not a middle course,—
it would rather be a stepping stone to intervention.17

He explained that neutrality would give Spain the right to search and interdict US ships, and that could provoke a casus belli which would precipitate an alliance with Cuban insurgents.
      William J. Calhoun, a lawyer who knew McKinley when they were schoolboys, reported that rebellion in Cuba was devastating American investments and trade especially because of the reconcentrados policy perpetrated by General Valeriano Weyler. Calhoun said the insurgents would accept nothing less than independence and that Weyler’s forces could not win. McKinley wanted to end the war and sent a note protesting Weyler’s policies to Spain’s Ambassador in Washington, and he demanded that Spain follow “military codes of civilization.”
      On September 18 the US minister Woodford spent five hours talking with Spain’s foreign minister, the Duke of Tetuan. He asked Tetuan to reply by November 1. President McKinley shared his policy with a Congressman who anonymously gave it to the Chicago Tribune which printed it on September 29:

I know that the people of this country
from one end to the other are getting impatient
because we do not move faster,
but I am convinced that prosperity is here and that
war is the only thing which will prevent its continuance.
It would be easy to free Cuba by a war,
but to do it without one, to satisfy the people,
and keep us in the high road to prosperity,
is a thing which cannot be done in a day.
That is the problem which confronts us,
and we must solve it slowly but surely.18

      On October 4 Spain’s Queen Regent Maria Cristina recognized the Liberals’ government led by Práxedes Mateo Sagasta, and their policy was to balance counterinsurgency with substantial autonomy for Cubans. Sagasta replaced General Weyler with General Ramón Blanco y Erenas. About 350,000 creditors were afraid that they would be overcome by over a million non-Spanish Cubans. In October the insurgents rejected autonomy. Sagasta asked the United States to do more to prevent the filibustering in Cuba, and he indicated that Spain intended to retain Cuba.
      President McKinley in his First Annual Message to Congress on December 6 thanked providence for prosperity and affirmed, “Peace and good will with all the nations of the earth continue unbroken.” Congress passed his tariff bill, and he expected his administration would put finances on a sound basis by preventing the gold reserve from being depleted. He noted that relations with Spain and Cuba were an important problem. He reviewed the recent history of Cuba and hoped that they could help bring about peace. He promised, “The United States for its part shall enforce its neutral obligations and cut off the assistance which it is asserted the insurgents receive from this country.”19 He criticized the cruelty of Spain’s policy of extermination. He suggested that untried remedies were:

Recognition of the insurgents as belligerents;
recognition of the independence of Cuba;
neutral intervention to end the war by imposing
a rational compromise between the contestants,
and intervention in favor of one or the other party.20

He ruled out forcible annexation because it would be “criminal aggression.” So far he found the insurrection “impracticable and indefensible.”
      McKinley reported that the Republic of Hawaii had fully ratified the annexation treaty but that the US Senate still needed to do so. He noted that issues of Japanese immigration to Hawaii were being negotiated. He asked the Congress to fund the needed armor for Navy ships. He claimed that the public approved the expansion of the US Navy.
      He also discussed the situation of the five civilized tribes of Indians. Interior Secretary Dawes was advising individual ownership. The government was financing the railroads, and he asked the Congress to decide on the government ownership of railroads. He hoped that civil service reforms would continue to reduce incompetency, and he urged the Congress to reduce the expenses of the government.
      McKinley made an appeal for Americans to donate to the Red Cross to help relieve destitute Cubans, and at the end of the year he sent an anonymous check for $5,000.

United States & McKinley’s War in 1898

      Spain’s grant of autonomy to Cuba and Puerto Rico began at the beginning of 1898; but it did not have much support and had little effect. In early January the Ohio legislature elected Mark Hanna to the US Senate for a 6-year term. On the 11th the Navy Secretary Long wired the European Squadron commander to retain all sailors even those whose enlistments were expiring. The next day soldiers loyal to General Weyler led Spanish mobs in the streets of Havana attacking offices of liberal newspapers and breaking shop windows. Thousands of conservative Cubans criticized Havana newspapers and denounced the Spanish army in Cuba.
      The Senate’s Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Cushman Davis of Minnesota, wanted to get the Hawaii annexation treaty ratified, but they lacked the two-thirds needed. Davis warned that Britain, Japan, or Germany could get control of Hawaii. Three Republicans from Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin were opposed because their states sold sugar beets which would be competing with Hawaii’s sugar. McKinley sent a commission to Nicaragua to study the possibility of a canal to connect the two oceans, though the US and Britain had agreed to the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty in 1850 promising to share such a canal.
      In December 1896 President Cleveland had criticized the Junta in New York City, which supported Cuban rebels, for increasing enmity in the United States that made foreign relations more difficult. He warned that if peace was not established, the insurrection would lead to American intervention in Cuba.
      On January 15 the US Minister Woodford met with Spain’s Queen Regent Maria Cristina in Madrid. She appreciated McKinley’s efforts to end the war in Cuba, and she promised autonomy to Cubans with her new ministry there. She asked President McKinley to break up the Junta in New York and to call on US citizens not to support the insurrection in Cuba. Woodford said that most Americans wanted the war to end and that McKinley would do what the people wanted. Woodford noted there was a recent rebellion in General Blanco’s army and that conspiracies may be threatening her government in Spain. She replied that she would crush that, and she asked McKinley to let her policies succeed. The next day Woodford learned from the Colonial Minister Moret that conservatives demanded that Weyler be reinstated. Woodford replied that Weyler would not be allowed back in Cuba.
      On January 20 Dupuy de Lôme, Spain’s ambassador, visited William Day at the US State Department, and he insisted that the US shut down the New York Junta. Day asked him how Spain would respond if the US sent ships to protect American citizens and property in Havana. Dupuy replied it would be unfriendly. Day reported this to McKinley who ordered the Navy Secretary Long to send the battleship Maine to Havana, and that ship entered the Havana harbor on January 25.
      McKinley in late January told a thousand leaders in the National Association of Manufacturers that the US Government would pay in gold for outstanding US bonds.
      Hawaii’s President Sanford Dole came to Washington and was welcomed at the White House on January 26. The next week McKinley honored him with a reception with about 3,000 guests. A joint resolution could approve the treaty by majority votes, and the Davis committee passed it on March 16.
      Spain’s reply to McKinley’s policy given to Woodford on February 3 warned that the US had no right to intervene in Cuba. On February 9 Dupuy advised the Spanish foreign minister Gullóne Iglesias that the New York Journal, which supported the Junta, would publish Dupuy’s letter criticizing McKinley as

weak and a bidder for the admiration of the crowd,
besides being a would-be politician who tries to leave
a door open behind himself while
keeping on good terms with the jingoes of his party.”21

William Randolph Heart’s New York Journal called it the “worst insult to the United States in its history.” Spain’s government accepted Dupuy’s resignation and praised his conduct in Washington.
      On February 15 at 9:40 p.m. an explosion ripped a hole in the hull of the Maine. The two stacks collapsed, and the ship began to sink. Commander Sigsbee and survivors got off the ship and on to the US steamer City of Washington and the Spanish man-of-war Alfonso. Sigsbee’s report went to Navy Secretary Long and reached President McKinley at 1 a.m. The death toll would be 266 men. On the 16th the President approved Long’s naval board of inquiry, and he advised his cabinet and Congressmen to be calm and patient. Hearst’s Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s World in New York called for war. In the next week Pulitzer sold five million newspapers. The President’s cabinet discussed demanding an indemnity from Spain and declaring war. Spain’s colonial minister Moret accused a US naval officer of aiding rebel filibusters in the Dominican Republic and the US Consul Fitzhugh Lee in Havana of having ties to rebels and working for the US annexation of Cuba.
      President McKinley appointed many qualified black men. Very early in the morning on February 21 the home and post office of the Lake City Postmaster Frazier Baker in South Carolina were burned as shots were fired at the house. Baker and an infant were killed, and his wife and three children were seriously wounded. McKinley ordered that post office closed, and he said that the perpetrators should be “arrested, tried, and if convicted, executed!”22 The President had the Attorney General John Griggs aid the US District Attorney, and thirteen men were tried. Three were acquitted, and five jurors were brave enough to vote for conviction. The judge declared a mistrial, and the two threatened witnesses disappeared.
      On February 25 while Navy Secretary Long was taking a day off, his assistant Theodore Roosevelt ordered Commodore George Dewey to prepare in Hong Kong for “offensive operations in the Philippine Islands” in case Spain declared war. Long was concerned that Roosevelt sometimes did not have “a cool head and careful discretion.” Dewey’s squadron reached Hong Kong harbor in early March.
      On March 7 McKinley met with congressional leaders, War Secretary Alger, and Navy Secretary Long to discuss military preparations for a possible war. Two days later the Congress unanimously appropriated $50 million of which $37 million went to the US Navy that included two new cruisers the British had built for Brazil that Spanish officials had been hoping to get. Spain had a $400 million debt and was spending $8 million per month fighting Cuban rebels. Senator Redfield Proctor of Vermont had toured Cuba recently and informed his friend McKinley how devastated Cuba was. On March 22 Woodford warned Moret that Spain must make an agreement with Cuban rebels in a few days, or the crisis would be turned over to the US Congress. On the 25th the Navy Inquiry concluded that an external explosion blew up the Maine, but Spain’s report on March 22 had concluded that the explosion was caused by an internal cause. In 1976 the US Admiral Hyman Rickover supervised an investigation which found that the explosion was probably caused by a spontaneous combustion in Maine’s coal bins.
      On March 26 William Day sent a cable to Woodford advising,

For your guidance the President suggests that
if Spain will revoke the concentration order
and maintain the people until they can support themselves
and offer to the Cubans full self-government
with reasonable indemnity,
the President will gladly assist in its consummation.
If Spain should invite the United States to mediate for peace
and the insurgents would make the request,
the President might undertake such office of friendship.23

Day also wired the President’s desire for an armistice until October 1 initiated by Spain, negotiations between Spain and the insurgents, Spanish cooperation with US relief efforts, and arbitration by McKinley himself.
      Spain’s foreign minister Gullóne Iglesias consulted the Council of Ministers and then told Woodford that Spain would authorize the Cuban Congress to negotiate peace with the rebels when it met on May 4. Democrats in the US House of Representatives voted for a resolution to recognize Cuban independence, but they were outvoted.
      McKinley sent his ultimatum to Spain. On March 26 he wrote, “There is no hope of peace through Spanish arms.” On the 27th he suggested the armistice until October 1, negotiations through his “friendly offices,” revocation of the reconcentrado order, and if those fail, his arbitration between Spain and the insurgents.
      On March 29 Vice President Hobart warned McKinley that he was losing his influence with Republican senators. On the 31st Woodford advised McKinley that Spain’s Prime Minister Sagasta would submit the Maine issue to arbitration, end the reconcentrado policy, provide money for Cuban relief, and accept a cease fire until May 4 if it was offered by the rebels. Some newspapers supported McKinley’s patient diplomacy, but a large crowd in Richmond, Virginia hanged and burned the president in effigy. Germany offered Pope Leo XIII as a mediator, and he proposed an armistice. On April 4 Day advised Woodford that Spain’s Manifesto of the Autonomy Government was not an armistice but a “scheme for home rule.”
      McKinley planned to send a message to Congress on April 6, but he agreed to put it off for five days to allow Americans to leave Cuba. Six European ambassadors sent McKinley a letter urging him to settle the conflicts peacefully. They urged the Queen Regent to accept an armistice, but her policy allowed General Blanco to set the conditions. On April 9 the US Consul Fitzhugh Lee and 300 Americans left Cuba.
      On April 11 President McKinley sent his 7,000-word message to Congress on the war crisis. He quoted from his previous message in December for “neutral intervention to end the war.” He reviewed the history of Mexico and Texas. He summarized the four main reasons for intervening as follows:

First. In the cause of humanity and to put an end to
the barbarities, bloodshed, starvation, and horrible miseries
now existing there, and which the parties to the conflict
are either unable or unwilling to stop or mitigate.
It is no answer to say this is all in another country,
belonging to another nation,
and is therefore none of our business.
It is specially our duty, for it is right at our door.
Second. We owe it to our citizens in Cuba to afford them
that protection and indemnity for life and property
which no government there can or will afford,
and to that end to terminate the conditions
that deprive them of legal protection.
Third. The right to intervene may be justified
by the very serious injury to the commerce, trade,
and business of our people, and by the wanton destruction
of property and devastation of the island.
Fourth, and which is of the utmost importance.
The present condition of affairs in Cuba
is a constant menace to our peace,
and entails upon this Government an enormous expense.
With such a conflict waged for years in an island so near us
and with which our people have such trade
and business relations;
when the lives and liberty of our citizens are in constant
danger and their property destroyed and themselves ruined;
where our trading vessels are liable to seizure and
are seized at our very door by war ships of a foreign nation,
the expeditions of filibustering
that we are powerless to prevent altogether,
and the irritating questions and entanglements thus arising—
all these and others that I need not mention,
with the resulting strained relations,
are constant menace to our peace,
and compel us to keep on a semiwar footing
with a nation with which we are at peace.24

      On April 13 House Democrats lost a vote to recognize the Cuban Republic 150-190. On April 19 the “Joint Resolution for the Recognition of the Independence of the people of Cuba, demanding that the government of Spain relinquish its authority and government on the island of Cuba, and withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters, and directing the President of the United States to use the land and naval forces of the United States to carry this resolution into effect” passed in the US House of Representatives by a 311-6 vote authorizing McKinley’s intervention to end the war, and the Senate approved it 52-35. The Teller amendment renounced annexation of Cuba by stating,

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.25

While McKinley was signing the bill on April 20, he said that Spain had three days to accept his ultimatum. The next day Spain broke off diplomatic relations with the United States, and Woodford left Madrid.
      On April 21 President McKinley ordered the Atlantic squadron under Commodore William Sampson to blockade Cuba. The next day they agreed that National Guard units would serve intact under their officers while the President maintained the right to appoint volunteers as officers. The US Congress approved the enlistment of volunteers to increase the military to 65,527 men for the duration of the war. On the 23rd McKinley called for 125,000 volunteers for two years or until the end of the war, and Spain declared war on the United States. On April 24 McKinley approved the Navy Secretary Long’s wire to Commodore George Dewey which instructed him,

Proceed at once to the Philippines.
Commence operations against the Spanish squadron.
You must capture or destroy. Use utmost endeavors.26

On that day the Spanish Admiral Patricio Montojo decided to move his flotilla of twelve ships to Subic Bay in the Philippines. The United States declared war against the Kingdom of Spain on April 25. McKinley made it retroactive to April 21, the day he had ordered the blockade. Also on April 22 the US cruiser Nashville captured the Spanish merchant-ship Buenaventura. By making the war declaration retroactive that meant that prizes taken in blockaded waters could legally be confiscated. US law made the officers and crew of the capturing ship the co-owners of the prize taken.
      A year earlier the Congress had funded the building of four new battleships and 15 torpedo boats with heavy armor and powerful ordnance. In addition the US Navy had 35 other ships. Since January 1898 the Navy had been retaining enlistments that had expired, and Dewey had been training his men to fight the Spanish fleet in Asia.
      McKinley asked Congress for a declaration of war against Spain on April 25, and the Congress passed the bill declaring that Spain had begun the war on April 21. On that day the US Postmaster Gary had resigned, and he was replaced by Charles Emory Smith who had been minister to Russia. On April 29 the top US General Nelson Miles ordered General William Shafter to muster 5,000 men at Tampa, Florida to prepare for the invasion of Cuba.
      Theodore Roosevelt managed to get commissioned as a lieutenant colonel to organize volunteer US Cavalry. He recruited from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and another college and from clubs in Boston and New York. Other men from New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, and the Indian Territory gathered in San Antonio, Texas. They were commanded by Roosevelt’s friend Leonard Wood. Trains took them most of the way from Texas to Tampa, and they were called “Rough Riders.” Lt. John Pershing led the 10th Cavalry of well-trained black troops, and he was called “Black Jack” Pershing. George W. Prideau, the black chaplain of the 9th US Cavalry wrote to the Cleveland Gazette on May 13 about the prejudice against the Negroes, and he concluded,

The four Negro regiments are going to help free Cuba,
and they return to their homes, some then mustered out
and begin again to fight the battle of American prejudice.27

      McKinley asked for excise tax increases on beer and tobacco and also a stamp tax on legal documents, stock transfers, and bank checks in order to raise $100 million. The US Congress approved this quickly. The President also promoted eleven men to be major generals including the southerners Joe Wheeler and Fitzhugh Lee.
      In the dark early on May 1 Dewey’s nine black ships entered the Manila harbor in the Philippines. They sank Admiral Montojo’s flagship Reina Cristina, and they destroyed or disabled seven other Spanish warships while killing 161 Spaniards and wounding 210. The Americans had no deaths and only nine wounded. Dewey took over the naval station at Cavite. The next day he warned Spanish authorities that if Manila fired a cannon at his ships again, he would destroy the city. They accepted his terms and surrendered. When they would not let him use their telegraph cable, Dewey had it cut. McKinley promoted Dewey to rear admiral and approved the organizing of troops in San Francisco led by General Wesley Merritt to command a Philippine expeditionary force in the new Department of the Pacific with 15,000 men. That was increased to 20,000. The Army Signal Corps installed telegraph and telephones in the White House with a direct line to Tampa.
      On May 2 at a meeting of the cabinet and the military the President approved a strategy of 50,000 soldiers attacking Cuba near Havana probably at Mariel. War Secretary Alger said he needed three weeks to prepare the troops. On May 6 Navy Secretary Long said his ships were ready to transport soldiers. On May 9 General Shafter was ordered to “seize and hold Mariel.” Other troops were delayed for a week. On May 19 they learned that Cervera’s Spanish fleet had entered the harbor at Santiago de Cuba, a city of 30,000 people. One week later the war council at the White House approved a strategy.
      On May 12 Admiral William Sampson’s squadron bombarded San Juan, Puerto Rico for a few hours early in the morning, though there was little damage on either side. On May 19 McKinley ordered General Merritt to take his 8th Corps to the Philippines and to declare that they came to protect the rights of the people. On that day Edwin Godkin wrote in the Nation that McKinley’s installing a military governor in the Philippines “initiates the first experiment which this nation has ever tried in the control of a territory at a great remove from our shores.”28 On May 25 McKinley summoned 75,000 more men for the army and navy. On that day the 8th Corps sailed from San Francisco, and on June 21 they took over Guam in a bloodless coup. Guam would connect a telegraph line from the Philippines to the United States and would serve American ships as a coaling station.
      On May 31 McKinley ordered Adjutant General Corbin to send Shafter’s Fifth Corps from Tampa to Santiago. By June 1 about 300 railroad cars had arrived at Tampa with diverse war materials that were not well organized. Theodore Roosevelt led his Rough Riders on a four-day ride from Texas, and they arrived to discover they had to buy food with their own money. By June 8 Shafter had on 35 ships 17,000 men, 959 horses, 1,336 mules, 81 wagons, armaments, 89 reporters, 11 military advisors, and clerks. They waited for a naval escort led by Commodore Sampson.
      The Boston banker Gamaliel Bradford persuaded the aldermen to allow a meeting on June 15 in Faneuil Hall. Bradford criticized the war as not for humanity but for “private interests seeking gain, politicians striving to keep themselves in power, and imaginations thirsting after military and naval glory” led by a faction that was seeking “a military empire in Asia.” Rev. Charles Gordon Ames objected to a war “by the right of might,” and he asked, “Can we not show the world a more excellent way?” The lawyer Moorfield Storey denounced “territorial aggrandizement” and called colonialism “a violation of the principles upon which this Government rests.” The delegates voted to oppose the United States holding colonies. George E. McNeill was a founding member of the American Federation of Labor, and he warned, “The cost of standing armies and navies, colonial governments, and infrastructural developments awaited the conquering power.”29 He asked if they wanted to assimilate millions of Asians. They formed a Committee of Correspondence that would draft a constitution on November 18 for the Anti-Imperialist League. They elected the 80-year-old former governor, Treasury Secretary, and US Senator George Sewall Boutwell as their president. Their honorary vice presidents included Andrew Carnegie, Grover Cleveland, John Sherman, Samuel Gompers, Carl Schurz, and Charles Francis Adams Jr.
      US forces left Tampa on June 14 and reached the southern shore of Cuba five days later. Rebels advised Shafter to land his men by the hamlet of Dalquiri. He sent 6,000 men who took over the town of Siboney from 600 Spanish troops on June 23. Shafter reported that in the day-long battle 225 Americans were killed with 1,384 wounded while the Spanish lost only 215 dead and 376 wounded. The next day General Joseph Wheeler led the attack near Santiago at Guasimas in which Americans had 15 killed and 52 wounded while the Spanish had only 21 casualties. Shafter’s army took the road to Santiago, and on June 30 they marched all day to the heights of Santiago. They were under Spanish fire from the heights of San Juan Hill and Kettle Hill. In the afternoon Roosevelt’s Rough Riders advanced ahead of the other troops, and Pershing’s 10th Cavalry of well-trained black troops joined their attack on Kettle Hill.
      On July 2 Shafter asked for a hospital ship for the wounded. The next day he cabled that he could not take Santiago, and he wanted to withdraw. That day he also reported that Cervera’s fleet had left the Santiago harbor. On July 4 Sampson contradicted this. He described how on the 3rd Cervera’s escape was blocked and that six Spanish ships had been sunk, burned, or destroyed. The United States had only two casualties while they killed 343 Spaniards and captured 1,889. Shafter on July 8 asked for permission to surrender, and the surprised McKinley did not approve that.

      The Philippines has about 600 islands and is 7,292 miles from Los Angeles. Emilio Aguinaldo led the Philippine Revolutionary Army, and he had been made the president of the Filipino resistance in early 1897. His rival Andrés Bonifacio was executed on May 10. The Spanish Governor-General Fernando Primo de Rivera paid Aguinaldo and the rebels $800,000 to move to Hong Kong. On 24 April 1898 Aguinaldo at Singapore met with the US Consul E. Spencer Pratt, and they agreed to oppose the Spanish. Pratt telegraphed Commodore Dewey at Hong Kong, and the US Navy transported Aguinaldo and 17 revolutionary leaders from Hong Kong to Manila. Dewey met with Aguinaldo on May 19, and later Dewey denied that he offered them weapons. On June 23 Aguinaldo proclaimed a revolutionary government in the Philippines, and he wanted the US to recognize Philippine independence.
      On July 10 Germans sent Lt. Hintze to Dewey’s flagship Olympia to protest that Americans from the cutter McCulloch had boarded the German ship Irene in Manila Bay. Admiral Dewey got angry and threatened war, but Vice Admiral Otto von Diedrichs did not take offense.

      On July 11 Amos K. Fiske wrote in the New York Times an editorial that began, “There can be no question to perplex any reasonable mind about the wisdom of taking possession of the island of Puerto Rico and keeping it for all time.” He argued that the US is “not pledged to give Puerto Rico independence,” and he concluded, “The circumstances of the conflict for the enfranchisement of Cuba and Puerto Rico fully entitle us to retain the latter as a permanent possession.”30 On July 21 the US government informed the press, “Puerto Rico will be kept…. That is settled, and has been the plan from the first. Once taken it will never be released.” On July 28 the Nation countered, “Porto Rico is entitled to decide her own destiny by a fair vote of her people, and that she ought not to be forcibly annexed … without the consent of the inhabitants.”31 On July 22 the New York Times printed an interview with the Puerto Rican educator Eugenio Hostos who said that a plebiscite found that Puerto Ricans wanted either statehood or independence. Ramón Betances, who was called “Father of the Poor,” led the independence movement in Puerto Rico, and he warned,

It’s extremely important that
when the first troops of the United States reach shore,
they should be received by Puerto Rican troops,
waving the flag of independence and greeting them.
   Let the North Americans cooperate in the achievement
of our freedom; but not push the country to annexation.
If Puerto Rico does not move quickly,
it will be an American colony forever.”32

Betances offered to negotiate political concessions; but he was disregarded, and he died on September 16.
      General Nelson Miles had reported on July 13 that the Americans were suffering from a hundred cases of yellow fever. McKinley and his cabinet urged them to attack Santiago. Generals Shafter and Miles threatened to bombard the city, and General José Toral surrendered on the 17th. McKinley offered his troops transport home to Spain, and officers were allowed to keep their sidearms.
      On July 23 the scholar Charles Eliot Norton protested the war in a speech at Cambridge in which he said,

“There never was a good war,” said Franklin.
There have indeed been many wars in which
a good man must take part….
But if a war be undertaken for the most righteous end, before the resources of peace have been tried
and proved vain to secure it, that war has no defense.
It is a national crime.
The plea that the better government of Cuba,
and the relief of the reconcentrados, could only be secured
by war is the plea either of ignorance or of hypocrisy.33

      General Miles led his army to Puerto Rico, and they landed at Guánica on July 25. Two days later Spain’s Foreign Minister, the Duke of Almodóvar del Río, advised the Ambassador Leon y Castillo at Paris that the invasion of Puerto Rico led by US General Miles would make the peace “more onerous.” Within two weeks the Americans gained control of the island except for the capital at San Juan. On July 28 Miles as the commander of the invasion proclaimed from his headquarters at Ponce,

The chief object of the American military forces
will be to overthrow the armed authority of Spain
and to give to the people of your beautiful island
the largest measure of liberty
consistent with this military occupation.”34

      On July 26 McKinley had met with the French ambassador Jules Cambon and his assistant Eugene Thiebault. They explained that they were representing the Queen Regent of Spain, and they wanted to end the war in Cuba with “liberal and honorable terms.” Secretary of State Day asked about the Philippines, and McKinley hoped to settle the Philippines by peace talks. The President and his cabinet agreed that Spain was to give up Cuba and Puerto Rico, and that peace negotiators could work on the Philippines. The United States was occupying and holding the harbor and part of the city of Manila. On July 30 McKinley and Day presented their proposal to Cambon, and McKinley insisted on keeping Puerto Rico. On August 4 Cambon conveyed that Spain’s Foreign Minister Almodóvar considered the US proposal for Spain ceding Puerto Rico was “very severe.” That day they agreed that five commissioners from each side would negotiate in Paris.
      US General Shafter reported that the number of sick men in his army had increased to 4,290 by August 2, and there were not enough ships to evacuate his 5th Corps. On August 3 he was ordered to move his army to San Luis in the interior of Cuba, but he insisted on withdrawal because of the malaria and the worse danger of yellow fever. Theodore Roosevelt wrote for several officers in a letter that the 5th Corps had become an “army of convalescents” and should be transported back to the United States, warning, “The whole command is so weakened and shattered as to be ripe for dying like sheep when a real yellow fever epidemic … strikes us as it is bound to if we stay here.”35 Angry McKinley questioned War Secretary Alger and ordered an investigation.
      On August 9 Cambon and Thiebault conveyed Spain’s assertion that they could not evacuate Cuba and Puerto Rico until the Spanish legislature approved. On August 12 in Washington the US Secretary of State Day and Cambon for Spain signed the protocol. McKinley also signed it and proclaimed he was suspending US military action. Cuba was made independent; the United States annexed Puerto Rico; and the US would stay in the Philippines until a peace treaty “shall determine the control, disposition and government of the Philippines.” Ships transported the US soldiers from Cuba to Montauk on Long Island, New York. In the brief war combat killed only 281 American soldiers, but about 2,500 died of typhus and other diseases. In a war that lasted 105 days the US Army had increased from 25,000 men to about 270,000, and half of those did not get beyond their training camps. Compared to the US Civil War this short war had so few casualties that Lincoln’s former secretary John Hay called it “a splendid little war.”

      The American military held only the harbor and part of the city of Manila while Aguinaldo said he had about 67,000 soldiers, and he planned to raise 100,000 more. Aguinaldo also said Dewey promised that the US would recognize Philippine independence; but Dewey denied that. Aguinaldo from May to August recruited fighters and gained allies seizing Luzon and surrounding Manila where Dewey’s warships protected his men. McKinley sent 20,000 soldiers to General Merritt who in August led 11,000 to Cavite at Manila. Spain had 15,000 soldiers and about 60,000 civilians inside the city. The new Spanish Governor-General Basilio Augustín wanted to surrender, and he was replaced on July 24 by Fermín Jáudenes who negotiated that he would only hold on briefly for his honor. Merritt’s forces attacked on August 13. When the rebels heard of that, they invaded the suburbs of Manila and were kept out of the city by the Americans.
      After Manila capitulated, on August 14 General Merritt raised the US flag. Filipinos were not allowed to participate in the victory parade because Aguinaldo’s soldiers were not permitted in the city. On August 21 McKinley gave the following order to Admiral Dewey:

The President directs that
there must be no joint occupation with the insurgents.
The United States in possession of Manila City, Manila Bay, and harbor must preserve the peace and protect
persons and property within the territory
occupied by their military and naval forces.
The insurgents and all others must recognize
the military occupation and authority of the United States
and the cessation of hostilities proclaimed by the President.
Use whatever means in your judgment
are necessary to this end.
All law-abiding people must be treated alike.36

General Elwell Otis became the Military Governor of the Philippines on August 28. Aguinaldo wanted Otis to remove the Americans because the people would fight for independence.
      On August 26 McKinley had instructed the Commissioners for Puerto Rico “that Puerto Rico and the other mentioned islands, with the exception of Cuba, will be converted into United States territory.”37

      On September 3 McKinley, Vice President Hobart, and Alger visited the camp at Montauk for five hours.
      As the US was about to double their forces to 22,000 General Otis demanded that Aguinaldo move his soldiers out of a Manila suburb within a week, or he would use force. Aguinaldo said he would if Otis softened his language. Otis complied, and on September 14 about 2,000 Filipino soldiers marched out of two zones in Manilla and saluted the American flag as three bands played. The next day at a church next to Aguinaldo’s headquarters a national assembly with a hundred delegates gathered.
      McKinley appointed General Grenville Dodge to head the commission to investigate the War Department. Then he named Day to head the peace commission and appointed the newspaper editor Whitelaw Reid and three US Senators. Senator Chandler of New Hampshire wrote to McKinley that his appointing senators to be peace commissioners was unconstitutional, but he did not press the issue. In his Instructions on September 16 to the U.S. Peace Commission the President wrote,

As an essential preliminary to the agreement
to appoint commissioners to treat of peace,
this government required of that of Spain the unqualified
concession of the following precise demands:
   1. The relinquishment of all claim of sovereignty
over and title to Cuba.
   2. The cession to the United States of Puerto Rico and
other islands under Spanish sovereignty in the West Indies.
   3. The cession of an island in the Ladrones,
to be selected by the United States.
   4. The immediate evacuation by Spain of Cuba,
Puerto Rico, and other Spanish islands in the West Indies.
   5. The occupation by the United States of the city,
bay, and harbor of Manila pending the conclusion
of a treaty of peace which should determine
the control, disposition, and government of the Philippines….
The war has brought us new duties and responsibilities
which we must meet and discharge
as becomes a great nation on whose growth and career
from the beginning the ruler of nations had plainly written
the high command and pledge of civilization.
   Incidental to our tenure in the Philippines
is the commercial opportunity to which
American statesmanship cannot be indifferent.
It is just to use every legitimate means
for the enlargement of American trade;
but we seek no advantages in the Orient
which are not common to all.
Asking only the open door to ourselves,
we are ready to accord the open door to others.
The commercial opportunity which is naturally and inevitably
associated with this new opening depends less
on large territorial possession than upon an adequate
commercial basis and upon broad and equal privileges.38

The five commissioners and their wives sailed for Europe the next day.
      The President recalled John Hay from England to become Secretary of State after he had improved relations between the British and the Americans. McKinley tried to remove the anti-imperialist George Hoar from the Senate by appointing him to replace Hay in England, but Hoar declined. The New York lawyer Joseph Choate went to England instead.
      Booker T. Washington in September said,

My opinion is that the Philippine Islands
should be given an opportunity to govern themselves.
They will make mistakes but will learn from their errors.
Until our nation has settled the Indian and Negro problems,
I do not think we have a right
to assume more social problems.39

      On September 22 Carl Schurz wrote in a letter to McKinley,

This popular feeling against such political entanglements
by the proposed annexations will very much grow
in intensity as the burdens
which the imperialistic policy will put upon us,
become more apparent to the public mind.40

      On September 26 McKinley persuaded his less than competent War Secretary Russell Alger to accept a commission to investigate the War Department, and the President appointed the retired general and successful businessman Grenville Dodge as its head.
      Francis V. Greene had raised the 71st New York Volunteer Infantry, and he was made a colonel on May 2. He led 3,550 troops that fought in the battle of Manila that captured the important port on August 13. Greene was promoted to Brigadier General and returned from the Philippines to meet with McKinley five times starting on September 27. He told the President that Spain could no longer govern the Philippines which could be taken by Germany, Japan, Russia, or England. He said Emilio Aguinaldo would be a dictator and would not last long, that educated Filipinos wanted American protection, that no native government could survive without protection from a strong foreign government, and that Manila and the Philippines offered commercial benefits to the US that included gold, coal, oil, sulfur, rice, corn, hemp, sugar, tobacco, coffee, cotton, and cocoa. He suggested building railroads in the interior of Luzon. Greene brought reports on how the Spanish government was corrupt. Finally on October 1 he advised that if the Philippine Islands were divided, the economy would suffer. McKinley decided that the United States should take all of the Philippines, and he sent copies of Greene’s report to the commissioners in Paris.
      On October 1 McKinley met with representatives of Aguinaldo whose chief diplomat was the rich Filipino lawyer Felipe Agoncillo. He asked for Filipino representation at the Paris peace talks, but that was denied. On October 3 Admiral Dewey met with President McKinley and advised him to “keep the islands permanently.”
      McKinley made a two-week tour of the West where he spoke 57 times to excited crowds with major speeches in Omaha on October 12, in St. Louis, and in Chicago on the 18th. He toured the South in the middle of December. William Jennings Bryan came to Washington to support the treaty, and he argued that they should ratify the treaty, take the islands from Spain, and then make them independent.
      The US economy was improving, and for the first time the exports were double the imports. In the November elections the Democrats gained 29 seats in the House while Republicans lost 21; but in the US Senate the Democrats lost eight, and Republicans added nine. On November 11 Red Tolbert told McKinley how he and his brother Tom tried to witness sworn statements of blacks who were not allowed to vote at Greenville, South Carolina. Angry Democratic election officials attacked the Tolberts and started a riot, and that led to armed riders attacking hundreds of black tenants, killing several. There was also violence against black voters in Wilmington, North Carolina that killed at least 21 black men. McKinley learned that the US Supreme Court had blocked federal intervention in state elections, and Congress would not act. A protest meeting at Cooper Union in New York recommended a constitutional amendment to enable the President to intervene. Over 5,000 gathered in Washington DC, and some criticized McKinley and Booker T. Washington. They had spoken at the Chicago Jubilee on October 17 when Washington said,

I want to present the deep gratitude of nearly 10 million
of my people to our wise patient and brave Chief Executive,
for the generous manner in which my race
has been recognized during the conflict;
a recognition that has done more to blot out sectional and
racial lines than any event since the dawn of freedom.41

Washington invited the President to visit Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and McKinley did so in December. He and the US Attorney General John Griggs worked with the black Congressman George White to get legislation against lynching, but the Judiciary Committee did nothing. Ida Wells-Barnett criticized Washington and McKinley, but the former black Congressman Henry Cheatham of North Carolina defended the President and Washington.
      American anti-imperialists gathered at Chicago, and on October 18 they approved a platform for an Anti-Imperialist League in America that began, “We hold that the policy known as imperialism is hostile to liberty and tends toward militarism.” They concluded,

Our defense is in the spirit which prizes liberty
as the heritage of all men in all lands.
Those who deny freedom to others
deserve it not for themselves,
and under a just God cannot long retain it.42

      On October 30 the peace commissioner, Senator Frye of Maine, had wired McKinley that negotiations might fail if they did not offer $10 million to $20 million as compensation for the Philippines. The next day the commissioner Rufus Day announced that the US intended to annex all of the Philippine Islands and would provide compensation. Frye suggested paying $10 million “in gold.” On November 3 Spain’s Foreign Minister Almodóvar wrote “that the intention of the Americans is to annex everything of value in the colonial empire of Spain with the least sacrifice possible.”43 On November 21 commissioner Day gave the Spanish commissioners an ultimatum that they must accept $20 million for the Philippines with no more claims, though Spain would be allowed commercial access to the islands for ten years. Four days later Almodóvar ordered the five Spanish commissioners to sign the peace treaty and accept the $20 million which they did on December 10. Anti-imperialists accused McKinley of purchasing 10 million Filipinos for $2 a head.
      In the final treaty Spain also ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States. Prisoners were to be released. Freedom of religion was to be guaranteed, and the United States assumed all of Cuba’s financial obligations during the occupation. The New York Herald took a poll of 498 newspapers, and 305 favored the treaty.
      The nationalist movement led by Aguinaldo had begun working on a constitution at Malolos on September 15, and they adopted it on November 29. They declared a free and independent Philippine Republic protecting equal rights with an Assembly of Representatives that elects the President with executive power and with a Supreme Court of Justice.
      On December 4 the New York Times printed an article by the British newspaper editor W. T. Stead who wrote,

The annexation of the Philippine Islands
may seem but a small thing, but it is decisive.
When Eve ate the apple it was but the act of a moment.
But it barred against her forever the gates of Paradise.
What the Old World says is that the New World has now
eaten of the forbidden fruit, and that the flaming sword …
will prevent all return to the peaceful tradition
of the fathers of the Republic.44

      In his Second Annual Message to Congress on December 5 McKinley began by claiming,

Notwithstanding the added burdens rendered necessary
by the war, our people rejoice in a very satisfactory
and steadily increasing degree of prosperity, evidenced by
the largest volume of business ever recorded.45

He talked at length about the pacification of Cuba. Then he reviewed the wars in Puerto Rico and in the far-off Philippine Islands. He reported that the total US service men killed was 280 in the Army and 17 in the Navy. He did not mention how many died of diseases nor how many people the US Army and Navy had killed. McKinley summarized the Protocol that the Peace Commissioners had negotiated. Puerto Rico and many islands were to be ceded to the United States. On the first of December 101,165 officers and men had been discharged from the service. He noted that the US was facilitating arbitration of a dispute between Argentina and Chile. He reported that 22 striking miners had been killed by law enforcement at Lattimer, Pennsylvania. He discussed international trade and improved relations in Central America. He said his Nicaragua Canal Commission had nearly completed its work, and he considered a maritime highway indispensable. He reported on continuing trade with China. He summarized commercial relations with France, Germany, and Britain. The sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands had been transferred in August to the United States. He discussed various issues with Mexico. Russia’s Czar Nicholas II proposed “a general reduction of the vast military establishments that weigh so heavily upon many peoples in time of peace.” The Swiss Government promoted the mission of the International Red Cross. A US envoy was sent to the Ottoman Porte to resolve controversies with Turkey. The Treasury Secretary estimated that the deficit for the fiscal year ending on 30 June 1899 would be $112 million. McKinley approved several increases in US Navy spending. He said that Indians had made progress and that the only outbreak was by the Chippewas in Minnesota, which had occurred on October 5, and was suppressed.
      On December 13 General Otis learned that Filipinos were attacking Spaniards at Iliolo, and he sent Brigadier General Marcus Miller with 2,500 men; but Dewey refused to send ships until McKinley authorized the venture to “protect life and property” in Iloilo. The Spanish garrison surrendered to the Filipinos on Christmas Day, and their commander refused to let Miller’s forces land without orders from Aguinaldo. He warned Otis that an attack on Iloilo would open hostilities, and the American forces remained on the ships off Iloilo for six weeks.
      President McKinley announced on December 21 that he wanted to “win the confidence, respect and affection” of Filipinos by coming “not as invaders and conquerors but as friends” and to show them that “the mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation.”46 Yet he instructed his commanders to claim sovereignty over all of the Philippines, proclaiming,

The military government heretofore maintained
by the United States in the city, harbor and bay of Manila,
is to be extended with all possible dispatch
to the whole of the ceded territory.47

Otis removed the language claiming sovereignty, but McKinley’s original proclamation was made public and angered Filipino leaders. Aguinaldo proposed a united Philippines under US protection with an American-Filipino Commission to draft a treaty of alliance, but his offer was ignored. Americans wanted to use the Philippines to develop business in Asia, to provide naval and military bases, and to open it to Protestant missionaries.

United States & McKinley’s Filipino War 1899-1901

      On 4 January 1899 General Elwell S. Otis proclaimed himself Military Governor of the Philippines. He promised to support and protect those who “cooperate with the government of the United States,” and he aimed to appoint “such Filipinos as may be acceptable to the supreme authorities at Washington.”48 In a speech at the University of Chicago on that day Carl Schurz said,

I warn the American people that a democracy cannot
so deny its faith as to the vital conditions of its being—
it cannot long play the king over subject populations
without creating within itself ways of thinking
and habits of action most dangerous to its own vitality.49

      The next day Aguinaldo responded to that proclamation by asserting,

I protest a thousand times and with all the energy I possess
against such authority….
I likewise protest, in the name of the Filipino people,
against such intrusion, because, by reposing in me
their vote of confidence as president of the nation,
they have vested me with power
to maintain its liberty and independence at all costs.50

He entreated General Otis “to desist from his rash enterprise, but no attention was paid.” On January 8 Aguinaldo declared,

My government cannot remain indifferent in view of such
violent and aggressive seizure of a portion of its territory
by a nation which has arrogated to itself
the title of “champion of oppressed nations.” …
I denounce these acts before the world,
in order that the conscience of mankind may pronounce
its infallible verdict as to who are the true
oppressors of nations and tormentors of human kind.51

He warned that if the Americans forcibly took the Visayan islands, hostilities would begin; he prepared for war.
      On January 9 Senator George Hoar of Massachusetts rejected Louisiana’s Senator Orville Platt’s idea of “unlimited sovereignty.” Hoar was an anti-imperialist and warned against the dangers of disunion and “the greed and lust of empire,” and he spoke in opposition to the Treaty of Paris. He referred to Senator Orville Platt and said,

The Monroe Doctrine is gone.
Every European nation, every European alliance,
has the right to acquire dominion in this hemisphere
when we acquire it in the other….
   Our fathers dreaded a standing army;
but the Senator’s doctrine, put in practice anywhere,
now or hereafter, renders necessary a standing army,
to be reinforced by a powerful navy.
   Our fathers denounced the subjection of any people
whose judges were appointed
or whose salaries were paid by a foreign power;
but the Senator’s doctrine requires us to send
to a foreign people judges, not of their own selection,
appointed and paid by us.
The Senator’s doctrine, whenever it shall be put in practice,
will entail upon us a national debt larger than
any now existing on the face of the earth,
larger than any ever known in history.52

      On January 10 two commissions appointed by Otis and Aguinaldo met to try to find mutual understanding; but the American officers stalled without negotiating so that their reinforcements could arrive. Otis moved the Nebraska regiment into the eastern suburb of Manila at the strategic juncture of the Pasig and San Juan rivers inside territory claimed by the Filipinos.
      On January 12 General Miles testified before the Dodge Commission, and he accused the Commissary General Charles P. Egan of using loathed canned beef that was treated with chemicals so much that it was called “embalmed beef.” Roosevelt had said that the meat at Santiago was “at best tasteless and at worst nauseating.” Egan called Miles a liar. A court martial found Egan guilty of conduct unbecoming of an officer. McKinley reduced his sentence so that Egan could keep his pension. The final report of the Dodge Commission did not find evidence for the accusation made by Miles.
      Aguinaldo had appointed Apolinario Mabini premier of his cabinet and secretary of Foreign Affairs on January 1, and the Constitution was promulgated on January 21 at Malolos west of Manila. Two days later the Philippine Republic was proclaimed. Aguinaldo was inaugurated as president, and Mabini became prime minister. He released Spanish prisoners except for soldiers, and he allowed all foreigners including Spaniards to engage in business. The learned (ilustrados) dominated the government and restricted suffrage to leading citizens even in local elections. The land confiscated from friars was turned over to local chiefs and men of means. Aguinaldo later claimed that this was “the first crystallization of democracy” in Asia.
      On January 25 the United States Senate resolved to vote on the Paris treaty on February 6. Minister Plenipotentiary Felipe Agoncillo presented to them a moderate memorial claiming Philippine independence on January 30 that included these points:

1. I respectfully submit that the United States, not having
received from the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands
authority to pass laws affecting them,
its legislation as to their welfare
possesses no binding force upon my people….
6. Spain could not deliver possession of the Philippines to
the United States, she having been ousted by their people,
and in fact at the present moment the United States holds
only an entrenched camp, controlling 143 square miles,
with 300,000 people, while the Philippine Republic represents the destinies of nearly 10,000,000 souls,
scattered over an area approaching 200,000 square miles….
9. Secretaries of State of your country
(including Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Pinckney) have denied
the right of an ally of America to acquire by conquest
from Great Britain any American territory
while America is struggling for independence.
The United States Supreme Court has sustained this view.53

      Rudyard Kipling wrote his imperialist poem “The White Man’s Burden” to influence the debate in the US Senate. Many Senators opposed the treaty as being unfair to the Filipinos; but after they were told (falsely) that the Filipinos had started hostilities on February 4, the Senate ratified the treaty two days later. Mabini refuted the claims that the Filipinos had started the hostilities, noting that at the time most senior Filipino officers were away from Manila for a celebration at Malolos.
      On February 4 the American sentry William Grayson shot a Filipino soldier, and then he and another American killed two more Filipinos. Col. John Stotsenburg immediately ordered his Nebraska volunteers to move forward. After hearing of the fighting, Aguinaldo ordered his men to stop. The next day at 4 a.m. Admiral Dewey ordered his navy artillery to begin firing. The American armies led by General Arthur MacArthur advanced and killed about 3,000 Filipino soldiers while 59 Americans were killed. Aguinaldo sent General Carlos Mario de la Torres to General Otis to propose peace talks and a demilitarized zone. Otis replied that the fighting had begun and “must go on to the grim end.”
      The next day Aguinaldo “published the outbreak of hostilities between the Philippine forces and the American forces of occupation in Manila, unjustly and unexpectedly provoked by the latter.”54 He ordered an investigation, but the Americans did not examine how the war started. Prime minister Apolinario Mabini hoped that Filipino resistance and sacrifice would remind the Americans of their struggle against the British for their own independence. He also accused President McKinley of provoking armed conflict in order to get the Senate to ratify the treaty on February 6.
      On February 5 South Dakota’s Senator Pettigrew said,

We could have had no possible difficulties
with the people of the Philippines if we had given to them
the honest assurance that we did not propose
to overthrow their newly established liberties.55

The US Senate defeated an amendment that would have put the Philippines on a path to independence that had been promised to Cuba.
      On February 6 the US Senate ratified the treaty 57-27. The next day Georgia’s Senator Augustus Bacon offered a resolution to pacify the Philippine Islands by renouncing permanent sovereignty and by creating a native government. The Senate vote on his resolution was a tie until Vice President Hobart cast the defeating vote. Then Louisiana’s Senator Samuel McEnery proposed a resolution that denied citizenship to Filipinos, prohibited annexation or statehood, and recognized permanent sovereignty by the United States, and on a narrow vote the Senate passed this.
      On February 16 McKinley spoke at a dinner for Boston’s Home Market Club with 2,000 dining and 3,800 spectators. He acknowledged the opposition to the cession of the Philippines, and he argued that he could not leave them “to the anarchy and chaos of no protectorate at all.” When he concluded “that neither their aspirations nor ours can be realized until our authority is acknowledged and unquestioned,” there was loud applause.
      The Filipinos lacked weapons and trained soldiers and won few victories. Their General Martin Delgado ordered the city of Iloilo burned so that the Americans could not use it as a base. The American troops advanced and took over Visayas, Iloilo, and Cebu by the end of February. The leaders on Negros wanted to be under an American protectorate, and they gained permission from Otis on February 21 to help defend their own republic; he created the Visayan Military District on March 1. The US Congress authorized 65,000 regulars and 35,000 two-year recruits to fight for a standing army, and McKinley signed the bill on March 2. The next day he asked the Walker Commission to study a route in Panama for a canal. The American army reached Malolos on March 30 while the Philippine government retreated to San Isidro in Nueva Ecija.
      The Schurman Commission had arrived in Manila on March 4. They interviewed Filipino landlords, money-lenders, and businessmen in Manila without trying to learn the views of the Filipinos who were resisting the Americans, and they published their report on April 4. Mabini sent a message on April 29 to the Commission asking for a three-month cease-fire in order to learn Filipino public opinion, but the Americans rejected his offer.
      The Cortes did not ratify the treaty, but Spain’s constitution allowed the Queen Regent to ratify it with her signature on March 19. This Treaty of Paris went into effect on April 11. The pragmatic philosopher William James opposed imperialism, and after the ratification he wrote in a letter, “The way the country puked up its ancient principles at the first touching of temptation was sickening.”56
      In the battle of Calumpit on April 25-27 about 3,000 Filipino fighters lost only some 200 dead as they killed about 700 American volunteers from Kansas, Utah, Montana, and Nebraska. The next day Filipino officers asked General Arthur MacArthur for a two-week armistice to negotiate with the Americans who would not grant independence.
      On May 5 the Schurman Commission proposed what they called “autonomy” for the Philippines, but the US President would hold absolute power. About fifteen remaining members of the Malolos Congress met, accepted the offer, and asked Aguinaldo to appoint a new cabinet. He agreed. Prime Minister Mabini resigned on May 7 and was replaced by Pedro Paterno.
      Pardo de Tavera founded La Democracia in May as a pro-American newspaper; but General Otis had it shut down, and he charged the American editor of Freedom with treason and sedition. On May 29 Otis appointed Cayetano Arellano chief justice of the Supreme Court with Florentino Torres and Victorino Mapa as associate justices. Under US direction Arellano organized the lower courts. Arellano and Tavera were early supporters of American annexation. On June 10 the US Generals Henry Lawton and Lloyd Wheaton moved their soldiers south from Manila to Cavite, and the US Navy supported them. General Otis censored the American war correspondents, but on July 17 they sent a cable from Hong Kong to correct the distorted views being dispatched by Otis. This aroused the Anti-Imperialist League in America.
      Paterno and others hoped that the Democratic Party in the US would grant them their rights. Negros submitted a constitution to President McKinley on July 20, but the poor Babaylanes revolted against the elite government, burned their haciendas, and destroyed their sugar mills.
      Schurman reported to McKinley in July that most of the Filipinos on the islands other than Luzon wanted peace and would accept the American sovereignty except for the Tagalogs who controlled much of the population. Reporters complained that General Otis censored and delayed the news. Thomas Platt on July 20 in the New York Tribune criticized anti-war Americans for getting “immoderate satisfaction” from Americans’ military problems, and he accused them of deceiving Aguinaldo’s rebels by suggesting that the Democrats would defeat McKinley in the next election and then grant Philippine independence.
      By July many critics were fed up with the incompetence of War Secretary Alger. As with President Lincoln’s War Secretary Simon Cameron, Russell Alger had been McKinley’s only major political appointment. Concern over his ineptitude grew during the Philippine War, and McKinley persuaded him to resign on July 19. The great presidential historian Henry Adams wrote in a letter, “The President long ago set Alger aside, and this is one reason why he cannot remove him, because Alger is really not responsible, but McKinley is.”57 Another reason why McKinley replaced Alger was because he was planning to run for the US Senate with the backing of Michigan’s Gov. Hazen Pingree who criticized McKinley’s Philippine policy. The President had the ailing Vice President Hobart persuade his close friend Alger to resign.
      On August 1 President McKinley replaced the unpopular War Secretary Alger with the skilled lawyer Elihu Root of New York. New York’s Republican power broker Tom Platt did not want Root, but he accepted some credit for the choice. Platt wrote in his Autobiography,

Elihu Root is one of the keenest, ablest
and squarest opponents I have ever met….
I won’t go across the street to help him,
and I won’t get out of my chair to hurt him.58

Root gained the assistance of the Attorney General Griggs by suggesting they specialize on “colonial business.”
      General Otis asked for 60,000 soldiers, and in August the War Department called for ten regiments of volunteers. McKinley sent four black regiments to fight the rebellion. General Arthur MacArthur at a battle at Angeles led 2,500 troops that inflicted about 200 casualties on Filipinos while only two Americans were killed. In the south the Americans had taken over Jolo in May, and those Filipinos signed a treaty with the Americans on August 20. Aguinaldo retreated to the mountains and went north until he reached Palanan in the province of Isabela on September 6. On the 21st the Washington Post reported that Senator William Mason of Illinois criticized the war in the Philippines saying,

I shall continue my opposition to the war upon the Filipinos.
I would sooner resign my seat
than treat a dog the way we are treating those poor people.
I am ashamed of my country.59

      On September 29 General Otis appointed Tavera to the Board of Health. Two days later Aguinaldo made Tavera his director of diplomacy, though he later resigned and went over to the Americans. The Americans began a major offensive on October 12, and their deployed troops increased to 42,794 on November 5. From May through October the Philippine War cost Americans $50 million and over a thousand lives. After Tarlac fell on November 12, Aguinaldo went to Northern Luzon. Filipinos organized their first autonomous government on the island of Negros in early November.
      On November 21 McKinley told Methodist ministers that the Philippines came “as a gift from the gods,” and at first he wanted only Manila; but he ended up believing the most realistic solution was to acquire all the islands. He considered it a humanitarian obligation to “uplift and civilize” them through education.
      The young Filipino General Gregorio del Pilar tried to defend the mountain pass at Pasong Triad with sixty men, but the Americans killed him and defeated them on December 2. Mabini, Paterno, and other cabinet officials were captured on December 10. On the 19th the US General Henry Ware Lawton, who was famous for having captured the Apache chief Geronimo, was killed by a sniper while confronting forces under General Lucerio Geronimo. Aguinaldo let the women leave, and they surrendered to the Americans on Christmas Day. By the end of 1899 the US had about 64,000 troops in the Philippines.

      In January 1900 the US Army defeated about 800 insurgents at Taal in southern Luzon. That month the Schurman Commission released a report which recommended that the President appoint a colonial governor over all the Philippine Islands with American and native advisors. They suggested a legislature that was partly elected with others appointed. The governor could veto some things, and provincial governors were to be appointed.
      McKinley in late January invited William Howard Taft, a US Circuit Court Judge in Cincinnati, to the White House and asked him to take the top job in the Philippines. Taft admitted that he opposed McKinley’s policy there because it was contrary to American traditions and a distraction. McKinley said that the Philippines belonged to America, and he wanted it governed wisely and compassionately until the Filipinos could learn how to govern themselves. War Secretary Root and Navy Secretary Long joined them. McKinley said he felt he could trust Taft, who did not want to deal with them, more than a man who did. Root challenged Taft, saying, “Here is something that will test you, something in the way of effort, and struggle, and the question is, will you take the harder or the easier task?60 Taft accepted the position and later said that McKinley stood by him. Root and Taft wrote “Instructions of the President for the Philippine Commission” that McKinley edited. The 12-page memorandum was for War Secretary Root who was to supervise the Military Governor and Taft’s 5-man Philippine Commission.
      General Otis had an army of 60,000 men by February. On March 4 the New York Times had reported that the Filipino insurrection was adopting guerilla warfare on a large scale. On May 4 General Otis reported that in April the enemy had lost 1,721 who were killed, wounded, or captured. He believed the insurrection was over, and he asked to be relieved. That put General Arthur MacArthur in command on May 5 as the Military Governor, and he requested 100,000 soldiers to pacify the Filipinos. Taft and the second Philippine Commission had sailed from San Francisco on April 17, and they reached Manila on June 3 to organize a civilian government for the Philippines.
      General MacArthur got permission to offer amnesty, which he proclaimed on June 21. Before it ended three months later, about 5,000 mostly poor Filipinos surrendered. Paterno and others, but not Mabini, took the oath of allegiance. General Artemio Ricarte planned an uprising in Manila; but the plot was discovered, and he was captured on July 1 and sent to Guam six months later. Former members of the Katipunan led by Aurelio Tolentino organized the secret society Junta de Amigos; they followed the orders of Aguinaldo and attacked Americans until they were crushed.
      At Indianapolis on August 8 the Democrats’ presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan said,

“The wages of sin is death.” And so with the nation.
It is of age and it can do what it pleases;
it can spurn the traditions of the past;
it can repudiate the principles upon which the nation rests;
it can employ force instead of reason;
it can substitute might for right;
it can conquer weaker people; it can exploit their lands,
appropriate their property and kill their people;
but it cannot repeal the moral law or escape the punishment
decreed for the violation of human rights.61

Three days later “A Powerful Democratic Argument against Imperialism” by Victor Gillam appeared in Judge with a cartoon on the cover of three men (Bryan as a court jester, a Chinese Boxer, and a Filipino) each with a sign saying “I am against American Imperialism.”
      On August 10 Aguinaldo gave Apolinario Mabini full power to negotiate with the Americans. He held discussions with Taft, but they could not agree. On September 1 the Taft Commission assumed the legislative powers to tax, fix tariffs, and establish law courts. Mabini told Aguinaldo in November that the imperialistic Republican McKinley had been re-elected. On December 20 General MacArthur proclaimed martial law and announced that anyone helping guerrillas would be severely punished, warning that brigands, “war rebels” and traitors would not be given the “privileges of prisoners of war.”

      Mabini criticized Americans in El Liberal and was arrested again in January 1901. In February some Spanish mestizos organized the Partido Conservador, and they also acknowledged American sovereignty. Rafael Palma founded El Renacimiento in 1901, and his newspaper criticized dishonesty and corruption in government.
      The Taft Commission’s report argued that the Philippines needed civil government in order to facilitate American investment. On January 2 Taft wired Secretary of War Elihu Root, urging passage of the Spooner bill so that public franchises could be granted, public lands sold, and mining claims allowed. The Spooner amendment began the legal colonization of the Philippines. On January 21 the Philippine Commission established a public school system with free primary education. Taft announced that his policy was “the Philippines for the Filipinos,” but it also was to be profitable for American merchants and manufacturers. In the first four months of 1901 the Taft regime set up 283 committees in provincial towns. In August the ship Thomas brought five hundred American teachers to the Philippines, and they were called Thomasites. They taught English and in the first two years under Fred Atkinson they emphasized vocational training.
      Aguinaldo stayed in contact with guerrilla leaders, and in March he still was fighting for independence. General Frederick Funston used four former insurgents and 78 friendly Filipino scouts disguised as guerrilla fighters escorting four US officers as prisoners so that they could march through the country for three days to get to Aguinaldo. Then on March 23 they attacked his headquarters, killed two bodyguards, and took him into custody. Aguinaldo swore allegiance to the United States on April 1 and on the 19th he proclaimed, “The complete termination of hostilities and a lasting peace are not only desirable but absolutely essential to the welfare of the Philippines.”62
      On July 4 the Americans established a government with Taft as the first civil Governor-General, and two weeks later they formed the Philippine Constabulary. This national police of 6,000 men had many members from the hated Guardia Civil, and the Constabulary was led by American officers until 1917. Nearly seventy American soldiers had been punished for crimes against Filipinos in the first year of the war.

United States & McKinley in 1899

      On 9 February 1899 the Dodge Commission completed its report on the War Department in nine volumes. They found that the former War Secretary Alger was a poor manager and incompetent, but he was not corrupt.
      President McKinley and the Congress in March worked on a bill to provide $2 million for Puerto Rico, and they crafted a bill that included tariffs and free trade that McKinley signed on April 12. On May 29 McKinley used an executive order to allow some civil service employees to choose their private secretaries and confidential clerks. The US Congress adjourned on June 7.
      In mid-September a conference on “Trusts and Combinations, Their Uses and Abuses—Railway, Labor, Industrial, and Commercial” held a national conference at Chicago. William Jennings Bryan declared, “Monopoly in private hands is indefensible from any standpoint and intolerable.”63
      Admiral Dewey returned to the United States, and on September 29 his flagship Olympia led the Atlantic fleet up the Hudson River. Some wanted Dewey to run for President, but he declined. Later he changed his mind; but Dewey’s announcement that he thought the presidency was not “very difficult” to fill was not favorably received. In the fall President McKinley traveled to the Midwest to help Republican candidates, and Gov. Theodore Roosevelt of New York did the same.
      On October 24 Booker T. Washington wrote to McKinley asking him to support a black exhibit at the Paris Exposition, and he suggested Tuskegee’s Vice President Thomas J. Calloway as its head. McKinley agreed, and Calloway enlisted W. E. B. DuBois, his former classmate at Fisk University and Daniel Murray, assistant librarian of Congress. They employed students from black colleges. The progress of blacks since the end of slavery was displayed, and DuBois included the Georgia Black Codes in his study of Georgia’s history. McKinley met annually with Afro-American leaders, though he was often criticized by Ida Wells-Barnett and by DuBois because the President could not stop lynching and disenfranchisement of blacks. Yet Bishop Alexander Walters, a former slave, accepted that that was difficult, and he commended McKinley for appointing black officers in the army.
      On October 31 McKinley learned that his close friend and best advisor, Vice President Hobart, was seriously ill, and he died at Paterson, New Jersey on November 21. The President, his cabinet and scores of Congressmen including 60 senators attended the funeral at Paterson. Maine’s Senator William Frye was President pro tempore of the US Senate, and he replaced Hobart in presiding over the Senate but not as Vice President.
      On November 17 Treasury Secretary Lyman Gage estimated that the surplus for the current fiscal year would be about $80 million.
      President McKinley began his Third Message to Congress on December 5 by suggesting mourning for the late Vice President Hobart. He claimed that US exports and imports were the highest ever in history. The Treasury Secretary Lyman Gage had estimated that the surplus for the year about to end would be about $40 million, though the previous fiscal year had a deficit of $89 million. He urged the Congress to modify the Banking Act so that national banks could organize with a capital of $25,000. On the problem of trusts and monopolies McKinley wrote,

Combinations which engross or control the market
of any particular kind of merchandise or commodity
necessary to the general community,
by suppressing natural and ordinary competition, whereby
prices are unduly enhanced to the general consumer,
are obnoxious not only to the common law
but also to the public welfare.64

Yet he left it to the Congress or the states to take the initiative on these concerns because the US Supreme Court had decided that federal jurisdiction on trusts only extended to interstate commerce. In early 1900 the US House of Representatives would vote 273-1 to improve enforcement of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, but the bill did not make it through the Senate.
      McKinley in his message also discussed numerous events and issues with various countries. He reported that the Walker Commission was exploring the possibility of a canal in Panama. He maintained neutrality toward the conflict between Britain and the Boer States of Africa. He said he was faithful to the precept of avoiding “entangling alliances.” He hoped for a telegraphic connection with Japan and Manila. A new treaty in February 1899 was improving relations with Mexico. The US had advocated arbitrating conflicts at The Hague Disarmament Conference. He discussed issues related to US rights at the harbor of Pago Pago in Samoa.
      He reported that friendly relations had been restored with Spain which left Puerto Rico in October. He described progress that was being made in Cuba, and the US had spent $1,417,554 for 5,493,000 rations the US Army delivered to the destitute. The US also used $2,547,750 to pay $75 to each Cuban soldier who turned in a weapon to the US Army. Reciprocity treaties were made with British colonies in the Caribbean. He discussed how many US troops were in the Philippines in 1899 and how they had been reduced to much smaller numbers in Cuba and Puerto Rico where he planned to end all custom tariffs to give Puerto Rico full access to US markets. He reported how much the government was spending subsidizing railroads in the United States. A large portion of this message discussed the US territories in the Philippines, Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. He urge free education as “the best preceptor for citizenship.” He declared that “lynchings must not be tolerated.” He argued his case for the Philippine War in the following words by General Otis and Admiral Dewey:

Our obligations to other nations and to the friendly Filipinos
and to ourselves and our flag demanded that
force should be met by force.
Whatever the future of the Philippines may be,
there is no course open to us now
except the prosecution of the war
until the insurgents are reduced to submission.65

      General Leonard Wood had been McKinley’s physician in the White House, and in December he sent Wood to replace General John Brooke in Cuba to get people ready for a republican government with a good school system and better courts. Wood won over Cubans by making use of their veterans. He expanded schools, appointed honest judges, and worked on improving food, medical supplies, hospitals, sanitation, and roads. In May 1900 he had persuaded the Surgeon General George Sternberg to appoint Walter Reed to an army board in Havana where he investigated yellow fever and learned that it was caused by mosquitoes. Wood had the Army’s inspector general study the finances of Cuba’s post office, and the finance chief Charles Neely quickly departed and was suspected of embezzling over $130,000. McKinley ordered Neely arrested. Estes Rathbone was the postmaster in Cuba, and he was charged with theft and embezzlement. Both Neely and Rathbone were convicted and were sentenced to ten years.

United States & McKinley in 1900

            On 13 February 1900 New York’s Gov. Theodore Roosevelt announced that he would not accept the Republican nomination for Vice President. New York’s Republican power-broker Tom Platt had found Roosevelt uncooperative. The journalist Lincoln Steffens revealed that although corporations would publicly oppose Roosevelt, they were not going to donate to his campaign. Mark Hanna considered him erratic and “unsafe,” and Hanna expected to be the chairman of the Republican National Committee again. He was supporting Cornelius Bliss who had been McKinley’s Interior Secretary for nearly two years while he was also chairman of New York’s Republican Party. Roosevelt told McKinley that he did not want to be his Vice President and was surprised when the President agreed with him. War Secretary Root also opposed Roosevelt.
      McKinley compromised and accepted Senator Hoar’s amendment that restricted the Taft Commission’s authority to give out business franchises. On February 23 the black Rep. George Henry White of North Carolina defended his bill to make lynching a Federal crime, saying,

Our constitutional rights have been trodden under foot;
our right of franchise in most every one of the
original slave States has been virtually taken away from us,
and during the time of our freedom fully 50,000 of my race
have been ignominiously murdered by mobs,
not less than 1 per cent of whom
have been made to answer for their crimes.66

      On March 1 Ohio’s Senator Joseph Foraker suggested a compromise by levying 15% of the Dingley rates for two years on money spent in Puerto Rico, and it became law as the Organic Act on April 12. Secretary of War Root was the main author of this law that established a civilian government in Puerto Rico with a governor and an Executive Council with 11 members appointed by the US President, a House of Representatives elected by Puerto Ricans, and a judicial system with a Supreme Court and a United States District Court.
      The US Congress passed the Gold Standard Act on March 13, and President McKinley signed it the next day. It created a gold reserve of $150 million, and the government was to redeem greenbacks and Federal notes with gold. His currency policy made it easier for new banks to get started in the South and Midwest.

      After Germany had obtained rights in China, Russia demanded rights at Port Arthur and a railway in Manchuria. Britain, France, and Italy wanted coaling stations. Charles Beresford was an expert on China, and he wrote The Break-up of China suggesting an “open door” for western nations there. He had visited Washington in 1899, and Hay introduced him to McKinley. Alfred Hippsley, who inspected Chinese maritime customs for Britain, agreed with Beresford, and Hippsley was introduced to Secretary Hay by Hay’s Far Eastern advisor William Rockhill. Hippsley, Rockhill, and Hay proposed that all the powers recognize their common rights in China with tariffs collected by Chinese officials that would be equal for all and that the powers would not discriminate against each other on harbor dues or railroad charges. McKinley liked the justice of the policy. On 9 September 1899 Hay had sent their plan to the capitals of Germany, Britain, Russia, Japan, Italy, and France. Hay received acceptance from all of them by January 1900, and on March 20 he announced that all the great powers had agreed to the Open Door policy on trading with China.
      A secret Chinese society Yìhéquán (Righteous and Harmonious Fists) that westerners called “the Boxers” reacted against exploitation by foreign nations in May by attacking foreign missionaries and Chinese converts to Christianity. In June they besieged their embassies in Beijing. The six European nations along with Austria-Hungary and the United States formed the Eight-Nation Alliance, and they managed to liberate most of their diplomats.
      On June 15 Governor-General Taft reported to McKinley that the military was making progress in the Philippines. On that day McKinley and his cabinet met and ordered more ships to go from the Philippines to China with an infantry regiment. On June 18 Chinese Empress Cixi declared war on all eight of the allied nations.
      McKinley in July interrupted his vacation at Canton, Ohio and returned to Washington, and he approved sending 10,000 more troops to China. The 18,000 Alliance troops that in August traveled 80 miles to Beijing included 2,200 Americans. In that capital they faced 100,000 Boxers and Qing troops. The allies reached Beijing on August 15 and used artillery. McKinley opposed dividing China or western nations taking territory or trying to overthrow the Qing government. On August 28 McKinley and his cabinet met all day to reconcile Russia’s position, and their final statement endorsed the open-door policy. On October 19 Chinese envoys proposed peace, recognized China’s responsibility for its violations, accepted an indemnity, and promised that foreigners would be safe.

      Henry Clay Payne of Wisconsin was vice chairman of the National Republican Party, and he proposed changing the rules for selecting delegates to the convention based on the number of elected politicians because he felt the South was getting too many delegates while winning few elections. McKinley and Mark Hanna believed this would be bad for black Republicans, and they persuaded Payne to withdraw his plan.
      When Gov. Theodore Roosevelt wearing a Rough-Rider hat arrived in Philadelphia on June 16 as New York’s delegate-at-large, he was cheered. McKinley announced that he would not choose the candidate for Vice President, but he would accept whomever the convention nominated. On June 19 Ohio’s Senator and the Republican Party chairman Mark Hanna opened the convention with a speech, and Colorado’s Senator Oliver Wolcott also spoke. The next day Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts addressed the crowd. On June 21 Ohio’s other Senator Foraker nominated McKinley, and Roosevelt made the speech seconding the nomination. For the first time since Grant in 1872 the nomination for McKinley was unanimous. The Republicans also nominated by acclamation Roosevelt for Vice President. The Republican platform supported the military occupation of the Philippines, and they condemned trusts and monopolies that “restrict trade, limit production and control prices.”
      In his letter accepting the nomination McKinley denounced the restraint of trade and competition that trusts use to cause higher prices. He wrote, “They are dangerous conspiracies against the public good, and should be made the subject of prohibitory or penal legislation.”67 He criticized Bryan for advocating the repeal of the Gold Standard Act. McKinley asked the Democrats what they would have done differently when Spain was controlling the islands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines and suppressing those fighting for independence. He argued that Bryan’s promise to give them independence was prolonging the war in the Philippines. The Republicans sent out ten million copies of this campaign statement, and newspapers printed it around the country.
      Democrats met at Kansas City on July 4 and again nominated William Jennings Bryan who still advocated silver coinage at a 16 to 1 ratio. He also said,

We condemn and denounce the Philippine policy
of the present administration.
It has involved the Republic in unnecessary war,
sacrificed the lives of many of our noblest sons,
and placed the United States,
previously known and applauded throughout the world
as the champion of freedom,
in the false and un-American position of crushing
with military force the efforts of our former allies
to achieve liberty and self-government.68

Bryan’s campaign criticized the Republican policies of McKinley that supported trusts, banks, the gold standard, protectionist tariffs, and especially the imperialistic foreign policy. He accused that war of attacking “the very foundation of free government.” After Bryan gave his speech at Indianapolis on August 8 criticizing the war in the Philippines, the Anti-Imperialist League endorsed his campaign.
      President McKinley in September announced that he would not campaign at all himself even at home because of his ailing wife, and he decided he would continue to do his work as President. Mark Hanna ran his campaign and focused on prosperity with the slogan “A Full Dinner Pail.” The economy was growing at an annual rate of 7.5%. When coal miners went on strike in late September, Hanna used his influence with J. P. Morgan to get management to settle the strike with justice for the miners. The campaign sent out 110 million brochures, pamphlets, and letters as well as materials for newspapers to insert. They printed McKinley’s speeches and writings in ten languages. The Republicans’ main speaker was Roosevelt who gave 673 speeches in eight weeks to about three million people in 567 towns and 24 states as he traveled about 22,200 miles. Hanna himself even campaigned in Bryan’s home state of Nebraska and in South Dakota.
      McKinley won those states and the election with 292 electoral votes to Bryan’s 155. Bryan won in the 13 former slave states and in Colorado, Montana, Idaho, and Nevada. McKinley won the other 28 states and the popular vote by 859,694 votes in the largest victory since Grant’s in 1872. Republicans also gained 13 House seats and 3 in the Senate. McKinley declared that he had moved from being “the President of a party” to “President of the whole people.”
      McKinley’s wife Ida did not want him to run for a second term. Since the spring of 1899 she was suffering from a more serious depression. She was worried he might be assassinated. The anarchist Luigi Lucheni had fatally stabbed Empress Elisabeth of Austria on 10 September 1898. The Italian-American Gaetano Bresci of Paterson, New Jersey shot to death Italy’s King Umberto on 29 July 1900. On October 3 a newspaper warned that Italians were suspected of leaving Italy to kill President McKinley at Canton, and the mayor increased the police force.
      At a cabinet meeting on November 9 McKinley decided to maintain the guards of the American legation in China, though some troops were returned to the Philippines to help General MacArthur fight the insurgents. McKinley spoke to the Union League in Philadelphia, and the New York Times reported on November 25 what the President considered his mandate:

Unquestioned indorsement of the gold standard,
industrial independence, broader markets,
commercial expansion, reciprocal trade,
the open door in China, the inviolability of public faith,
the independence and authority of the judiciary,
and peace and beneficent government
under American sovereignty in the Philippines.”69

      In his annual message to Congress on December 3 McKinley reviewed in great detail the history of the western nations’ confrontation with China, saying,

The matter of indemnity for our wronged citizens
is a question of grave concern.
Measured in money alone, a sufficient reparation
may prove to be beyond the ability of China to meet.
All the powers concur in emphatic disclaimers
of any purpose of aggrandizement
through the dismemberment of the Empire.
I am disposed to think that due compensation may be made
in part by increased guarantees of security for foreign rights
and immunities, and, most important of all, by the opening
of China to the equal commerce of all the world.70

Then he discussed relations with many nations. In the second half he reported on the finances of the United States that had a surplus of $79,527,060 in the preceding fiscal year ending in June 1900. He noted that the six preceding years had deficits. Exports set a new record with $1,394,483,082. Imports were $849,941,184. He discussed the situation in the Philippines under the Military Governor, and he reviewed the efforts of the Taft Commission. He mentioned briefly Puerto Rico and Cuba. He reported, “The present strength of the Army is 100,000 men—65,000 regulars and 35,000 volunteers,”71 and he warned that according to a recent law the US Army was to be reduced to “2,447 officers and 29,025 enlisted men” by the end of next June. In conclusion with prosperity he warned against extravagance. His last words were:

Our growing power brings with it temptations and perils
requiring constant vigilance to avoid.
It must not be used to invite conflicts, nor for oppression,
but for the more effective maintenance of those principles
of equality and justice upon which
our institutions and happiness depend.
Let us keep always in mind that the foundation
of our Government is liberty; its superstructure peace.72

      Also on December 3 about 2,200 Filipino rebels gave up their arms and swore allegiance to the United States. Over 35,000 surrendered in Panay and took the oath. Yet guerrilla actions continued, and those collaborating with the Americans could be targeted for assassination.
      On December 6 the New York Times reported that Rep. Samuel McCall of Massachusetts argued during the debate on the army bill against a large standing army. He urged the President to apply his Cuba independence policy to the Philippines suggesting, “Let us tell them that we will aid them for one year or for five if need be in setting up a Government of their own symbolized by their own flag.”73

United States & McKinley in 1901

      In February 1901 President McKinley persuaded Wisconsin’s Senator Spooner to propose an amendment increasing the authority of the executive in the Philippines that provoked opposition by anti-imperialists. Later that month Republicans passed the Army Bill in the House, but some Republicans in the Senate were opposed. McKinley warned them that he would call them back for a special session, and this threat persuaded the senators to pass a temporary authorization for 100,000 troops. The bill also included the Spooner amendment giving the President “military, civil, and judicial powers necessary to govern the Philippine Islands.”74 McKinley persuaded Senator Orville Platt to introduce an amendment that inserted Root’s controversial points and restricted Cuba’s right to make treaties and commercial agreements with nations other than the United States. A bill with the Spooner amendment on Cuba passed on March 2. Five points that Secretary Root wanted in that Constitution gave the United States such overwhelming prerogatives that 15,000 Cubans gathered to protest them at Havana. On February 16 the Cuban delegates decided not to accept the American naval base. On February 27 they agreed to the rest of the US amendments, and they asked for reciprocal trade relations.
      On March 4 about 40,000 people gathered for McKinley’s second inauguration. When he arrived to make his speech, it began to rain. Despite the rain that continued until shortly after his speech the crowd cheered him often. He reviewed the problems they had faced four years earlier, and then he described how much things had improved especially the economy. In the current prosperity he intended to move more into reciprocal trade agreements rather than the high tariffs he had previously advocated. He noted they needed to settle some issues with Cuba. In spite of ongoing difficulties in the Philippines he refused to admit the United States was at war against Filipinos, but he said, “A portion of them are making war against the United States.”75
      On April 5 McKinley made the lawyer and banker Philander Knox the new Attorney General, and the President agreed to give him a free hand in enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act.
      General Leonard Wood arranged for Cuban delegates to meet with McKinley and Root in the White House on April 26. The President would not agree to changing any of the Platt Amendment, but he said he would negotiate reciprocal trade after they formed a government. Root later learned at Havana that some of the language had been modified, and he insisted that it be precisely the same as the Platt Amendment, or the occupation would not end. The Cuban delegates reluctantly complied with that on June 12.
      On April 29 McKinley began a tour of the United States for six weeks that went to the west coast and culminated at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. After his wife Ida began recovering from nearly dying, they crossed the country from San Francisco to Washington in five days.
      McKinley in May criticized the indemnity demands and executions that the western powers were demanding of China. They modified death sentences, and they removed their troops from Beijing except for the legation guards. On May 28 Cuba’s constitutional convention voted 15-14 to accept the Platt Amendment.
      The McKinleys stayed at Canton as Ida recovered. On September 5 he spoke to 50,000 people at the Buffalo Exposition advocating reciprocity treaties in order to increase American exports. The next day Leon Czolgosz, who had been influenced by anarchists and a recent lecture by Emma Goldman, managed to get very close to McKinley in a reception line and shot him twice in the stomach. The Detective John Geary confirmed that the President was shot and helped him to a chair. McKinley asked his secretary Cortelyou to be very careful when telling his wife Ida what happened. Surgery helped repair two holes in his stomach, but one bullet had not been removed and damaged the pancreas, causing McKinley’s death on September 14. Czolgosz confessed and explained his motive, “I didn’t believe any man should have so much service and another man should have nothing.”76 He was convicted of first degree murder, and was executed by electrocution on October 29.
      When Vice President Roosevelt was informed he said,

In this hour of deep and terrible bereavement I wish to state
that I shall continue absolutely unbroken the policy
of President McKinley for the peace, prosperity,
and the honor of the country.77

Yet on his first day in the White House Roosevelt told reporters that he would act as if he had been elected President.


1. Cong. Rec. 51stt Cong. 1st sess. 6933-6934; Speeches and Addresses by William McKinley, p. 457-458 in Ragtime in the White House: War, Race, and the Presidency in the Time of William McKinley by Eliot Vestner, p. 4.
2. Cincinnati Enquirer, March 10, 1895, 1 in Ragtime in the White House by Eliot Vestner, p. 78.
3. Ragtime in the White House by Eliot Vestner, p. 90.
4. President McKinley: Architect of the American Century by Robert W. Merry, p. 119.
5. Speeches of William Jennings Bryan, Volume 1, p. 248.
6. Ibid., p. 249.
7. Ragtime in the White House by Eliot Vestner, p. 183.
8. Presidents: Every Question Answered by Carter Smith, p. 349.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid., p. 349-350.
11. Ibid., p. 350.
12. Ragtime in the White House by Eliot Vestner, p. 187.
13. The Spanish-Cuban-American War and the Birth of American Imperialism Vol. 2: 1898–1902 by Philip S. Foner, p. 185.
14. Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power by Howard K. Beale, p. 52.
15. Letters and Speeches by Theodore Roosevelt, p. 105-106.
16. President McKinley by Robert W. Merry, p. 208.
17. Ibid., p. 217.
18. Ibid., p. 227.
19. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume 10, p. 32.
20. Ibid., p. 33.
21. Spanish-American War, The: A Documentary History with Commentaries ed. Brad K. Berner, p. 41.
22. Ragtime in the White House by Eliot Vestner, p. 233.
23. President McKinley by Robert W. Merry, p. 266-267.
24. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume 10, p. 64-65.
25. Spanish-American War, The: A Documentary History with Commentaries ed. Brad K. Berner, p. 61.
26. In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines by Stanley Karnow, p. 102.
27. Spanish-American War, The: A Documentary History with Commentaries ed. Brad K. Berner, p. 97.
28. President McKinley by Robert W. Merry, p. 341.
29. Liberty and American Anti-Imperialism 1898-1909 by Michael Patrick Cullinane, p. 18-21.
30. Spanish-American War, The: A Documentary History with Commentaries ed. Brad K. Berner, p. 188.
31. Ibid., p. 187-188.
32. Ibid., p. 191.
33. Ibid. p. 91.
34. Ibid., p. 195.
35. President McKinley by Robert W. Merry, p. 314.
36. Spanish-American War, The: A Documentary History with Commentaries ed. Brad K. Berner, p. 218.
37. Ibid., p. 229.
38. The Annals of America Volume 12 1895-1904, p. 231-233.
39. Spanish-American War, The: A Documentary History with Commentaries ed. Brad K. Berner, p. 101.
40. Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War and the Dawn of the American Century by Ivan Musicant, p. 586.
41. Ragtime in the White House by Eliot Vestner, p. 331.
42. Spanish-American War, The: A Documentary History with Commentaries ed. Brad K. Berner, p. 249.
43. President McKinley by Robert W. Merry, p. 341.
44. Ragtime in the White House by Eliot Vestner, p. 307.
45. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume 10, p. 82.
46. History of the Filipino People by Teodoro A. Agoncillo and Milagros C. Guerrero, p. 263.
47. Spanish-American War, The: A Documentary History with Commentaries ed. Brad K. Berner, p. 220.
48. Ibid., p. 221.
49. Ibid., p. 246.
50. Ibid., p. 222-223.
51. Ibid., p. 223.
52. Ibid., p. 246-247.
53. Ibid., p. 224-225.
54. Ibid., p. 226.
55. Liberty and American Anti-Imperialism 1898-1909 by Michael Patrick Cullinane, p. 46.
56. Spanish-American War, The: A Documentary History with Commentaries ed. Brad K. Berner, p. 93.
57. Ragtime in the White House by Eliot Vestner, p. 354.
58. Ibid., p. 355.
59. President McKinley by Robert W. Merry, p. 433.
60. Ragtime in the White House by Eliot Vestner, p. 368.
61. Speeches of William Jennings Bryan, Volume 2, p. 38.
62. President McKinley by Robert W. Merry, p. 469-470.
63. Ibid., p. 391.
64. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume 10, p. 136.
65. Ibid., p. 169.
66. Forgotten Legacy: William McKinley, George Henry White, and the Struggle for Black Equality by Benjamin Justesen, p. 186.
67. McKinley and His America by H. Wayne Morgan, p. 366.
68. President McKinley by Robert W. Merry, p. 444.
69. Ibid., p. 454.
70. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume 10, p. 200.
71. Ibid., p. 232.
72. Ibid., p. 224.
73. President McKinley by Robert W. Merry, p. 457.
74. Ibid.
75. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume 10, p. 244.
76. Ragtime in the White House by Eliot Vestner, p. 451-452.
77. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908, Volume 10, p. 483.

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