President Mckinley, Congress, Cuba discussed on American Elections: Wicked Game

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

By the time the ship was evacuated. The main had sunk low enough that the deck was almost level with the lifeboats as his custom. Captain Sixty was the last to leave as they rowed ashore. The captain surveyed the bodies of his men floating in the water. Two hundred sixty eight men over two thirds of his crew were dead the Bugler Newton who captain sixty had listened to just a half hour before was among them. Taps was the last song he ever played on March second. Eighteen ninety seven two days before his inauguration. Republican president-elect William McKinley had been invited to the White House by outgoing Democratic President Grover Cleveland. They're Cleveland warned McKinley about the expansionist agenda of many in Congress in his inaugural address. Mckinley had declared 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 but the sinking of the main would force a reluctant McKinley to wage. Exactly what? He cautioned against a war of conquest while. Mckinley hoped to avoid war. Many Americans have been chomping at the bit for conflict. European countries like England and France were aggressively expanding their empires in Africa and Asia the Dominant Naval Power in the Americas the Spanish empire had been on the decline smelling blood in the water American speculators salivating at the prospect of Spain abandoning its imperial conquests. Trade routes mineral deposits and fertile land. Were all up for grabs. If Spain retreated from the region many speculators had set their sights on the neighboring island of Cuba. The fertile island was perfect. For growing fruit sugarcane tobacco many had hoped that a Cuban revolution would free the country from the Spanish Empire but the revolution had not been going well. The Cubans had demanded independence. Spain aggressively countered the rebellion the Spanish crown launched a scorched earth campaign burning homes and crops and rounding up the freedom fighters in concentration camps. This inhumane treatment of the rebels allowed American speculators to voice moral rage an advocate for war. Then the pro war element of the American press gave voice to that outrage and the expansionists and Congress began to beat the drums of war yet. Outgoing president Cleveland and incoming President Mckinley and both been unwilling to get blood on their hands during the campaign of eighteen. Ninety six Theodore Roosevelt had set of McKinley. He is not a strong man. I should feel rather uneasy about him in a serious crisis. Do Hope he will take a strong stand about Cuba. Mckinley had not wished to start a war with Spain. He himself had seen more. Mckinley was the last veteran of the civil war to serve as president he had written to a friend. I've been through one more. I've seen the dead piled up. I do not WanNa see another. But despite mckinlay's wishes American tragedy dropped war directly in his lap on February Fifteenth. Eighteen ninety eight when the USS main exploded off the coast of Cuba. Two thirds of the three hundred fifty man crew were killed. An immediate investigation to the main explosion was launched by the US naval board of inquiry. They concluded that the cause of the explosion was a mind place beneath the ship. The result of the inquiry was playing. It was an act of war seventy five years later that inquiry would-be challenged in modern investigation. Determine that the blast most likely came from within the ship they would come to the conclusion that the cause of the main explosion was probably not a mind but simply an accident a spontaneous ignition of coal store next to the Reserve magazine but in Eighteen Ninety eight without modern investigative tools. The mind theory was widely embraced and in the heat of the moment. The mere accusation of a cowardly dastardly attacked by Spain. Calls public outrage. This outrage gave wore advocates justice. Excuse they crave for action. The sensationalist newspapers a William Randolph hearst and Joseph Pulitzer cried out retaliation known for their yellow journalism. These papers exaggerated story played on public fear. Headlines proclaimed Spanish treasury they claim destruction of the worship main was the work of an enemy William Harris even offered a reward. His New York Journal Fifty Thousand Dollars for information leading to the perpetrator of the main outrage. The press convinced Americans that the Spanish were responsible and sway public opinion towards war. Everyone rallied around the call. Remember the main to hell with Spain. Congress also clamored for retribution. Many wanted a declaration of war. The pressure on President McKinley was immense and yet. Mckinley resisted a close friend. Later told the story that in private the situation McKinley weep like a thirteen year. Old Boy. Mckinley told his friend. I have not slept over three hours a night for over two weeks. Congress is trying to drive us into war with Spain. The Spanish fleet is in Cuban waters. And we haven't enough ammunition on the Atlantic seacoast to fire salute before pro-war expansionist the sinking of the main had given them all the ammunition they needed. There is a popular joke. A President Mckinley at the time. Why is the president's mind like his bed because someone has to make it up for him before he can use it? The men of President Mckinley Cabinet certainly knew this to be true. They joined Congress in the call for war. And when McKinley resisted some took action to sway his opinion Kinley Secretary of war Russell Alder secretly approached the powerful Senator from Massachusetts Henry Cabot Lodge. Lodge was a vocal advocate for American imperialism. Secretary of War Alger begged the senator to pressure the president to declare war for Alger. The reasoning was purely political. The majority of public opinion was behind the war if the Republicans wanted to remain the dominant party. They must embrace the popular opinion secretary alter worn McKinley that if he did not declare war he was in danger of ruining himself and the Republican Party. By standing in the way of the People's wishes the cacophony of voices calling for war was deafening and finally the president gave in on April eleventh eighteen. Ninety Eight McKinley. Ask Congress for a declaration of war with Spain primary reason. He cited in helping Cuba. Was It's close. Proximity to the country keenly said it is especially our duty. Ford is right at our door. He publicly accepted the theory that the main had been sunk by a Spanish mine. He chastised the Spanish government for their failure as he put it to assure safety. And security to a vessel of the American navy in the harbor of Vana on a mission of peace on April Twenty first eighteen ninety eight the Republican controlled. Congress held vote on the declaration of war with Spain. The Senate voted forty two thirty five for the measure. The House overwhelmingly voted for war. Three hundred ten to six critics of the declaration claimed the war was solely conquest to answer these accusations. Congress also passed the teller amendment which limited the conflict to solely aiding Cuba and it's rebellion prohibited Cuba's annexation and once the conflict was over the. Us would leave. Congress also voted to give McKinley fifty million dollars to strengthen the US military volunteers enthusiastically lined up to enlist in June. Seventeen thousand troops landed in Cuba meeting little resistance the conflict with Spain which became known as the Splendid Little War would redefine. Us foreign policy would also create new battle lines which define the election fight of nineteen.

Coming up next