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Morgan, Wayne, America's Road To Empire: The War With Spain And Overseas Expansion. 1965,124pp

1031 words - 5 pages

The issue of the Cuban problem during the Cleveland and McKinley administrations has received a wide variety of analysis and argument. Some argue Cleveland and McKinley took too much of a passive role in the affair while others argue they pursued the right course in diplomacy and had no choice but to intervene. It is easy to play the blame game but, America's public sentiment along with Spain's inability to handle its own affairs probably had the most dramatic effect on the situation. Morgan's brief work America's Road to Empire focuses on the actions of Cleveland and McKinley and their reluctant yet prudent diplomacy methods, however, leaving no choice but for intervention. Even though he ...view middle of the document...

He always threatened intervention but he refused public diplomacy due to Spain's stubbornness. "McKinley still shrank from public diplomacy, and was content to control Congress through senatorial friends and Speaker Reed." (40)Chapter three is laid against the backdrop of New Year's Eve and the pressures from the press mounting on McKinley's shoulders. America was rapidly losing trust in Spain and on February 15, 1898, the sinking of the Maine made intervention an even more viable, almost necessary, option. "The anti-autonomy riots in Havana of January 1898, the de Lome letter, and the Maine incident subtly but effectively turned American demands from Cuban autonomy to independence." (49) McKinley could hold his silence no longer but still entertained other issues and became a target of public abuse. Morgan raises an eyebrow questioning Spain's responsibility and points out, "Facing the critical likelihood of war, Spain still showed the unreality, confusion, and cross-purposes that always characterized her Cuban policy." Morgan goes on to compare and contrast Cleveland and McKinley's diplomacy pointing out McKinley's lack of creativity. Here the reader can question, "What about his lack of effort?" Morgan points out, "The basic problem was lack of alternatives to intervention." (60) Finally on April 4, 1898, McKinley delivers his war message.America was now faced with the logistical problems of raising its army. At first America's military seemed confused with passionate responses of volunteers and the War Department wrapped itself with its own red tape. Despite the red tape and confusion on May 7, 1898, Dewey won his decisive naval victory in Manila and his victory led to the American idea to keep the Philippine Islands as spoils of war. McKinley found the Philippine situation confusing...

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