1898 One Hundred Years Ago

The White Man’s Burden

When an armistice ended the Spanish-American War on August 12, the United States found itself with three major new territories obtained in three different ways. The first was Hawaii, annexed on July 7 with the President’s signature on a joint congressional resolution. The islands, controlled by a friendly American-installed government, had shown their value as a naval base, and in the exhilaration of impending victory over Spain, America took up a long-standing offer to absorb them.Read more »

The Meaning of ’98

Our war with Spain marked the first year of the American Century

One hundred years ago, in April 1898, the American Century suddenly began. “Suddenly” because what happened then—the declaration of war against Spain—led to a rapid crystallization of a passionate nationalism. The American longing for national aggrandizement existed before 1898—indeed it was gathering momentum—but as the great French writer Stendhal wrote in his essay “On Love,” passion has a way of “crystallizing” suddenly, as a reaction to external stimuli. Such a stimulus, in the history of the United States, was the Spanish-American War in 1898.

 
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