Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yellow = Propaganda!!

Beware of what you read! If you were reading newspapers during 1883-1904, expect to have your opinions swayed by the editors and owners of these newspapers.

Above you see two, of many headlines, that the New York World published pre-, during, and post- the Spanish American War. Joseph Pulitzer, the same guy that the Pulitzer Prize is named after, owned the New York World during this time. To make this newspaper successful, he invested his time in fabricating and twisting facts to sell, sell, sell!

In "Blood, blood, blood!" and "I saw what was left," the graphic description that is portrayed, makes one think twice, today. Back in 1896, Society had been led to believe that what was printed, was truth, without questioning. Luckily, we are very fortunate to have many fact checkers in publishing world. The practices of Pulitzer and his rival, Hearst (pictured below,) would have whistle blowers going crazy.

Imperialism-Its Dangers and Wrongs

 Samuel Gompers delivered his speech at the Peace Jubilee in Chicago, IL on October 18, 1898.  This quote is an excerpt of his speech:

"In our country we are perhaps too powerful to incur outside disaster; but
we shall certainly court worse evils at home if we try to benumb the
nation's sense of justice and love of right, and prevent it from striving
earnestly to correct all proved errors."

What is America's next move?
 The world will have to wait and see.
 Thequote by Gompers is referring to the power of the United States of America and its role in the annexation of the Philippines resulting in the migration of the Chinese, Negritos and the Malays to our country. It is a known fact that physical aggression towards a country reaps repercussions such as immigration of individuals with lower standards of living invading a country with social and financial opportunities such as America. Despite the fact that America has not had a skirmish on their own territory in more than thirty years, they are not above asserting their military authority in the annexation of other nations.  This poses an important question:  Is it fair for the United States to strong-arm the natives of the Philippines under our rule? If we do, it is certain that more lives will be taken and bloodshed is inevitable.  This, in turn, would bring us down to the level of the other world powers who practice Imperialism during the turn of the 20th Century. Although America is emerging as an assertive nation during the time of the Spanish-American War, such power through violent bullying is not typical of the peaceful beliefs of our government. Imperialism , on the other hand, demands respect by a dominant entity, with the use of violent force, while stripping the less dominant country of their dignity and pride.   Clearly at the end of the 19th Century, there is a definite question of Expansion versus Imperialism/Colonialism and it will be up to the United States to choose a course of action to rise to uphold our impending status.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Annexation of Santo Domingo

Ulysses S. Grant proposed a treaty to the US Senate in 1870, hoping to annex Santo Domingo. In the treaty Grant went on to explain why we should not only add the Dominican Republic as a territory, but why we should do so rather quickly.

As I was reading the treaty, it was clear to me that there were two reasons in particular that made Grant so favorable to adding the country. One was the country's location in the Carribean. The other was the economic value that Santo Domingo was worth. In the treaty Grant says "less than 120,000 souls, yet possessing one of the richest territories under the sun". Santo Domingo is one of the islands possessing the richest of soils, perfect for harvesting several crops.

In conclusion I think we all the know the results of this proposal as Santo Domingo is not a territory of the US like its neighboring island Puerto Rico, but it leaves us wondering what could have been?

The Better Part

Booker T Washington was an educator and a reformer. He was born on April 5, 1856 in Franklin County, VA and died November 14, 1915 in Tuskegee, Ala. Between the years 1895 and 1915 he was the most influential spokesman for African-Americans. One of his major platforms was that African-Americans needed to obtain economic security through education and learning industrial skills so that they could build up wealth and culture and that would help win the respect and acceptance of the white man. In this process though the African-Americans would have to give up the fight for civil rights and essentially accept segregation until they obtained that wealth and economic security that would gain the acceptance of the white man.
In the excerpt from "The Better Part" Speech from the Peace Jubilee in Chicago on October 16, 1898 by Booker T. Washington I found the following to be very poignant:

"But there remains on other victory for Americans to win...We have succeed in every conflict except in the effort to conquer ourselves in the blotting out of racial prejudice. We can celebrate the era of peace in no more effectual way than by a firm resolve in teh part of Northern men and Southern men, black men and white man, that the trenches we together dug aroung Santiago shall be the eternal burial-place of all that separates us in our business and civil relations. Let us be as generous in peace as we have been brave in battle. Until we thus conquer ourselves...we shall have a cancer gnawing at the heart of this Republic that one day shall prove as dangerous as an atttack from an army from without or within."

I think what Booker T. Washington is trying to say is why are we able to work and live together during a war to free others from oppression but in times of peace Americans can not achieve or work toward a society in their own country where all are equal and free. I think he is also saying that if Americans cannot find a way to reslove this issue it is not an attack from an army on the outside that we need to be concerned with but we should concern ourselves with how these tensions will destroy what America stands for: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Here is another quote that I found from Booker T. Washington that I think also points out the paradox of the American society at that time:

"In all things that are purely social we can be separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress" (from a speech he deliver in Atlanta, Ga on September 18,1895)

Click here to see the program from the Peace Jubilee in Chicago.

The Economic Basis of Imperialism

Image found on this blog, among others.
In September 1898, Charles Arthur Conant wrote an article for the North American Review entitled “The Economic Basis of Imperialism”. Imperialism was a policy which, at the time, most Americans were against. But anti-imperialism was at odds with the treasured American ideals of free markets and Capitalism.
“The United States cannot afford to adhere to a policy of isolation while other nations are reaching out for the command of these new markets… New markets and new opportunities for investment must be found if surplus capital is to be profitably employed.”
American companies were producing more goods than the country could support and exports were subject to very high tariffs in other “civilized” countries. The unending need for “new markets” for American products was used as the enticement to agreeing to imperialism. Conant characterized those new markets – namely in the Philippines and other parts of Asia – as “half-savage islands,” which clearly shows the racism and superiority that Americans felt at the time. The notion of new markets held a great appeal to Americans. The idea of losing those markets to other industrialized countries made the distasteful act of imperialism all the more appealing.

United States Invaded Our Pretty Little Garden

US invasion 1898

After many years of colonialism by SpainPuerto Rico was granted autonomy on November 28, 1897, but it did not last long. The Spanish American War broke out in the early months of 1898 and by July 25, 1898 Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States. The island was ceded to United States by Spain as part of the Treaty of Paris. Puerto Rico's government became an American military government. Puerto Ricans were not given the chance to sit down at the negotiating table, or were consulted in any way; they had no voice.
"… our military forces have come to occupy your pretty little garden."
Military Bases in Puerto Rico
United States invaded Puerto Rico for military reasons. Their invasion was designed to confiscate the island of Puerto Rico from the Puerto Rican people.They thought that Puerto Rico would be a good strategic location since it is the first big island that you come to when you are coming from Europe. Puerto Rico is really far out there, and it is about 1,000 miles into the ocean away from Miami. They use the island for military bases. Once the Americans first landed in Puerto Rico, they established all kinds of military bases and took most of Culebra, most of Vieques and many other places. Today there is only one active military base, Fort Buchanan, which is located in Guaynabo.
“The sole object of our presence will be to overthrow all your old and time-honored customs, and give to the people of your beautiful island, the largest amount of work and the smallest pay consistent with military occupation.”
San German, Puerto Rico
With this came the Foraker Act of 1900, which changed its government to a civil government. This new act gave Puerto Ricans a few provisions, and one of then was a citizenship in the island, but not in the United States. The Act also changed the name from Puerto Rico to Porto Rico, because as many said, it was easier to pronounce.
"You have no laws and customs that are what we    would call wholesome…”
They not only created a legislature and a government that was control by the United States, because the governor was appointed by the president and the cabinet. They also imposed English as the official language, without caring that every single Puerto Rican spoke Spanish. For United States it was more about what we want vs. what they need.

Central Mercedita in Ponce, PR
The second reason for U.S. invasion was that there was already a lot of trade going on between Puerto Rico and United States. Puerto Rico had the products that the Americans were interested in developing. Such as sugar cane and tabaco. The Foraker Act allowed American corporations the chance to crete sugar mills (centrales) on Puerto Rican lands, but it limited their land to 500 acres. However, the U.S. government did not really enforce this, because the centrales were relatively unchecked. 
Then in 1917, president Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones Act, which became the basis of Puerto Rico’s legal status until 1948. Now Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens and could freely travel to the United States. However, behind this act was the thought of drafting soldiers for WWI. Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens against their will, and around 250,000 Puerto Ricans were eligible to be draft. However, about 20,000 Puerto Ricans were drafted during WWI.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The white mans burden

The white mans burden was a poem written by Rudyard Kipling in 1899, this poem related to The Spanish-American War (April-July 1898) which was a brief, intense conflict that effectively ended Spain's worldwide empire and gained the United States several new possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Preceded by a naval tragedy, the destruction of USS Maine at Havana, Cuba, the Spanish-American War featured two major naval battles, one in the Philippines and the other off Cuba, plus several smaller naval clashes.

Imperialism was a major factor that led to the impact of the Spanish American War. A major issue that arouse during this war along with many others was the issue of RACE. American leaders felt that we had an obligation to over rule countries that were not as strong as our nation ( like Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam), they also felt that we were doing them a favor by Americanizing there savage culture. When people, tribes and cultures where not similar to those of the "white man", we found the urgency to try and over come those people.

The White Man's Burden, written by Rudyard Kipling 1899 touches base on how

"As with slaves before them, the colonized were viewed as entirely other: uncivilized, child like (even in the case of the Irish), Not white. These "Savage children" needed the wise counsel and stern hand of the west in order to pull themselves up and take their place among the civilized people of the world"

This poem explains how the white man took over the Philippines causing many problems because the white man wanted their land. It explains how we looked at the Filipino people as being ours that we caught and not even looking at them as human beings. For whatever reason the United states till to this day thinks that they have the power to go into ones land and do what we want to them, if we do not like what is doing on there- or in the time of the Spanish American War, we just simply did not understand them.

Take up the White man's burden --
Send forth the best ye breed --
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild --
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child

As expressed in this verse of the poem  they are not even look upon as people, but a child and a devil? The so you say "white man" wants there strongest sons and best workers to do what he want to profit for us.

The fighting that took place during the Spanish American War was brutal there was torture, rape, throat slitting, and capture. There was also much disease and famine. In a statement in Over Throw by Stephen Kinzer states from the Cleveland Plain Dealer "MA: whats the sound of running water out there, Willie? Willie: Its only us boys, Ma. We've been trying the Philippine water cure on Bobby Snow, an' now were pouring him out. The united states made sick jokes in reference to the torture that went on during a war that could have been avoided.

The united states wanted to expand for control and for money, The imperialistic era brought the United States into war and into peace, we temporally conquered land for the thought of profit with totall disregard to others because we wanted to expand for our own benefit, with no regards to other societies. "Filipinos remember those years as some of the bloodiest in their history. Americans quickly forgot that the war ever happened"( Over Throw, Stephen Kinzer)