Politics, Reform, and Expansion, 1890-1900

By Harold U. Faulkner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
The War with Spain

ON APRIL 30, 1898, five days after Congress officially declared that a state of war existed between the United States and Spain, Theodore Roosevelt telegraphed to Brooks Brothers for a "blue cravenette regular Lieutenant-Colonel's uniform without yellow on the collar and with leggings."1 A week later he resigned his position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and, impeccably attired, set off to war. In Nebraska, William Jennings Bryan assumed command of the Third Nebraska Regiment. All over the country, in the hills of Vermont, in the black belt of the South, on the plains of Kansas where farmers had lately listened to the impassioned rhetoric of Mary Ellen Lease and "Sockless" Jerry Simpson, young men flocked to the colors. The country was united as it had not been united since the time of Jackson. Southerner and Northerner, silverite and gold bug, joined their voices in a common hymn of praise to the flag, to the President, to the gallant heroes of the Maine. It was a heartwarming spectacle; it was glorious; it was splendid; it was, as Roosevelt so aptly summed it up, "bully."

Not many Americans had the faintest notion of the actual strength of the American and Spanish forces; not many ever knew how fortunate it was for this country that the war was largely fought on sea. Spain's regular troops in Cuba were estimated at 155,000 veterans of many months of warfare under the most exacting conditions, and their arms and equipment were far superior to anything the United States could provide. The regular Army of the United States numbered only 28,000 troops scattered throughout the nation, experienced only in small-acale Indian wars. After war was declared, Congress increased

____________________
1
Henry F. Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt ( New York, 1931), p. 183.

-235-

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Politics, Reform, and Expansion, 1890-1900
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Editors' Introduction ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Chapter 1 - The Restless Decade 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Revolt of the Cities 23
  • Chapter 3 - The Decline of Agriculture 48
  • Chapter 4 - Progress and Poverty 72
  • Chapter 5 - Billion-Dollar Politics 94
  • Chapter 6 - The Election of 1892 119
  • Chapter 7 - Depression, Bonds, and Tariffs 141
  • Chapter 8 - 1894 163
  • Chapter 9 - The Bryan Campaign 187
  • Chapter 10 - The Drums of War 212
  • Chapter II - The War with Spain 235
  • Chapter 12 - End of a Decade 260
  • Bibliography 281
  • Index 305
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