Revealing The Sense Of Monroe Doctrine

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Since the War of 1812 the U.S. had adopted a policy of neutrality towards European politics. The Monroe doctrine, issued in 1823, even threatened military action against European nations trying to intervene in the Western Hemisphere. During the Civil War, Napoleon III, hoping to take advantage of the Civil War, sent French troops to occupy Mexico. As soon as the Civil War ended in 1865 Secretary of State William H. Seward invoked the Monroe doctrine, and the French withdrew. Two years later, Seward successfully lobbied Congress to buy Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. The deal lacked public support however, and was referred to derisively as “Seward’s Folly” or “Seward’s icebox”.

Following the precedent set by the Monroe doctrine, America assumed a protectorate role in Latin America. In 1889, Secretary of State James G. Blaine established the first Pan American conference, and in 1995, Cleveland and Secretary of State Richard Olney arbitrated a boundary dispute between Venezuela and its neighboring British Colony Guiana.

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The immediate causes of the Spanish American War were (1) the Cuban Revolt, which was crushed by General Valeriano Weyler earning him the nickname “the Butcher” in the American Press, (2) the De Lome Letter, which criticized President McKinley and was seen as an insult to the country, and (3) the Sinking of the U.S. Battleship Maine, which was blamed by the yellow press on Spain. McKinley issued an ultimatum, to which Spain agreed. McKinley declared war anyways, citing humanitarian and economic reasons. The Teller Amendment, passed April 20th, promised autonomy to Cuba after the war.

A fleet commanded by Commodore George Dewey in the Philippines defeated the Spanish fleet in Manilla Bay, while the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry unit led by Theodore Roosevelt, succeeded in taking San Juan Hill in Cuba. When the Spanish fleet was destroyed at Santiago Bay, Spain sued for peace, [realizing that it could not continue fighting.

The resulting Treaty of Paris (1898) provided for (1) recognition of Cuban independence, (2) U.S. acquisition of two Spanish islands-Puerto Rico in the Caribbean and Guam in the Pacific, and (3) U.S. acquisition of the Philippines in return for payment to Spain of $20 million.] The last provision faced the most controversy, as guerilla fighters led by Emilio Aguinaldo, waged war against American control. At home, congress and the public at large were split between imperialists and an anti-imperialist league. In the end, the imperialists won out and the Treaty of Paris was approved.

insular cases idk (were the insular cases, in which the Supreme Court ruled that constitutional rights would not automatically be extended to the new territorial possessions.)

Worse still was the Platt amendment, which although allowed for the withdrawal of troops from Cuba, conditioned it upon the United States being let intervene in Cuba to preserve its independence and the allowance of Naval bases in Cuba, including one permanent base in Guantanamo Bay. 


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