September 27

The Cuban Revolution and Hemispheric Affairs

Massachusetts senator Henry Cabot Lodge, at this point just beginning a career notable for its outspoken advocacy of a more aggressive US role in the Western Hemisphere.
The debate over imperialism, which we've been looking at over the last few classes, erupted with fervor by the mid-1890s. In short order, the United States proclaimed that its "fiat is law" over the Western Hemisphere and then sent troops to intervene in the Cuban independence revolt. By the end of the war, the United States was recognized as the dominant power in the Western Hemisphere.
The reading for today's class consists entirely of documents, except for this brief introduction to the Cuban-Spanish-American War. The documents begin with Secretary of State Richard Olney's "fiat is law" telegram.  We'll then move on to the remarks of a major player in the foreign policy of the era, Massachusetts senator Henry Cabot Lodge, on the Cuban revolt. Next will be two contrasting views of whether the United States should pursue an imperialist course, one by Massachusetts senator George Hoar, the other by Indiana senator Albert Beveridge. And finally, the text of the Platt Amendment, adoption of which brought this era to a close.


Richard Olney on the Venezuelan crisis (1895)
Henry Cabot Lodge on the Cuban conflict (1896)
George Hoar on imperialism (1899)
Platt Amendment (1902)

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