INTERNATIONAL IMPACT AND
AMERICAN CONCERNS FOR INDEPENDENCE ABROAD TOOK ON A NEW urgencywith the instigation of the Spanish American War. The Declaration of Independence set the framework for national sovereignty in a changed world that witnessed the United States spreading its influence further abroad than might have been imagined by Thomas Jefferson and his revolutionary generation.
A group of forty-six hundred people yelled themselves hoarse at the Central Music Hall in Chicago in a show of support for the 1895 Cuban declaration of independence, which was issued at the commencement of fighting against Spain. Those in attendance endorsed a resolution that began, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal … ” and went on to recite other passages from the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The Chicago statement ended with condemnation of Spain for refusing to recognize Cubans’ determination to govern themselves. When William McKinley became president in 1897, Congress and the public clamored to send U.S. troops to support the Cubans’ fight for independence. The sinking of an American ship, the USS Maine, raised war cries to a fever pitch.1