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Conclusion The End Of The
Splendid Little War

 

 
August 13, 1898

War Suspended, Peace Assured
President Proclaims a Cessation of Hostilities 

PROTOCOL IS NOW IN FORCE 
Cambon and Day Formally Complete Preliminary Agreement 
CONCESSIONS MADE BY SPAIN 
Yields Cuba and Puerto Rico and Occupation of Manila 
WORK ON THE TREATY 
Not More Than Five Commissioners on Each Sidet
To Meet in Paris by Oct. 1

By SIDNEY SHALETT 
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES 

Washington, Aug. 12 -- The plenipotentiaries of the United States and Spain having the afternoon at 4:23 o'clock signed the protocol defining the terms on which peace negotiations are to be carried on between the two countries, President McKinley has issued the following proclamation: 

By the President of the United States of America 
A Proclamation 

Whereas, By a protocol concluded and signed Aug. 12, 1898, by William R. Day, Secretary of State of the United States, and his Excellency Jules Cambon, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of France at Washington, respectively representing, for this purpose, the Government of the United States and the Government of Spain, the Governments of the United States and Spain have formally agreed upon the terms on which negotiations for the establishment of peace between the two countries shall be undertaken; and, 

Whereas, It is in said protocol agreed that upon its conclusion and signature hostilities between the two countries shall be suspended, and that notice to that effect shall be given as soon as possible by each Government to the commanders of its military and naval forces: 

Now, therefore, I, William McKinley, President of the United States, do, in accordance with the stipulations of the protocol, declare and proclaim on the part of the United States a suspension of hostilities, and do hereby command that orders be immediately given through the proper channels to the commanders of the military and naval forces of the United States to abstain from all acts inconsistent with this proclamation. 

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

Done at the City of Washington, this 12th day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-third. 

William McKinley By the President, 
William R. Day, Secretary of State 


A copy of this proclamation has been cabled to our army and navy commanders. Spain will cable her commanders like instructions. Terms of the Protocol Washington, Aug. 12 -- Secretary of State Day, after the peace protocol had been signed by him and by Ambassador Cambon this afternoon, prepared and gave to the press the following official statement of the terms of the document: 

1. Spain will relinquish all claim of sovereignty over and title to Cuba. 
2. Puerto Rico and other Spanish islands in the West Indies and an island in the Ladrones, to be selected by the United States, shall be ceded to the latter. 
3. The United States will occupy and hold the city, bay, and harbor of Manila pending the conclusion of a treaty of peace, which shall determine the control, disposition, and government of the Philippines. 
4. Cuba, Puerto Rico, and other Spanish islands in the West Indies shall be immediately evacuated and Commissioners, to be appointed within ten days, shall, within thirty days from the signing of the protocol, meet at Havana and San Juan, respectively, to arrange and execute the details of the evacuation. 
5. The United States and Spain will each appoint no more than five Commissioners to negotiate and conclude a treaty of peace. The Commissioners are to meet at Paris not later than the 1st of October. 
6. On the signing of the protocol hostilities will be suspended and notice to that effect will be given as soon as possible by each Government to the commanders of its military and naval forces.

 

 

The Armistice ending hostilities in the Spanish-American War came just in time to spare the forces in Puerto Rico from at least two major battles.  Word of the agreement did NOT reach the Philippines in time to prevent the Mock Battle of Manila.  From the battlefield, the war moved into the Quai d'Orsay at the French Foreign Ministry.  Commissioners were appointed in September, and negotiations began on October 1st.  The battle of bullets would end with the battle of words.

Treaty of Paris - 1998
Commissioners

United States

Spain

William R. Day (Secretary of State)
Senator William Frye (R/ME)
Senator George Gray
(D/DE)
Senator Cushman K. Davis (R/MN)
Whitelaw Reid, Diplomat
Senator Eugenio Montero Rios
Senator Buenaventura Abarzuza
Associate Justice Jose de Garnica y Diaz
Envoy Wenceslao Ramirez de Villa Urrutia
General Rafael Cerero y Saenz

The Spanish had their backs to the wall, two Naval squadrons totally destroyed, and American troops in full control of the Philippines, Guam, Cuba and Puerto Rico.  For the most part, Madrid had been willing for some time to cede its hold on Cuba, Puerto Rico, and even the innocuous island of Guam.  The sticky point became the Philippine Islands, Spain willing to cede perhaps one island, but hoping to retain a portion of its empire.  The Spanish commissioners argued that Manila had surrendered AFTER the armistice, and for this reason could not be claimed as a conquest of the war.  The Filipino's sent their own delegation to Paris, but they were left out of all negotiations.  At home, the populace was calling for nothing less than possession of all of the spoils of war.

Even as the arbitration went on in Paris, heated debate raged in some quarters at home.  Anti-imperialists such as Mark Twain and William Jennings Bryan argued against any treaty that took land from Spain for the purposes of American expansion.  Though the Teller Amendment prevented the United States from holding on to Cuba following any agreement between Madrid and Washington, DC, some Americans feared that the politicians would use the victory over Spain to over-expand U.S. borders into the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico...which were NOT included in the Teller Amendment.   Racists like Benjamin Tillman argued against expansion simply because they wanted no more non-white Americans.

Three key elements gave the American commissioners to the process ample reason to stand their ground, and demand nothing but complete surrender to U.S. control of all the spoils of war, including the Philippines:

  1. President McKinley himself kept a very attentive ear to the proceeding, and had developed a political policy more in tune with the expansionists than the anti-imperialists.

  2. The American public, as well as powerful leaders like Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, largely felt "we fought for it, we have earned it".

  3. During the naval blockade at Manila, the bay had become filled with the ships of numerous European nations.  It was no small secret that, if a vacuum were created in the political structure of the Philippines, France or Germany would be more than willing to step in to fill the void.

On October 25th President McKinley instructed the American delegation to settle for nothing less than full annexation of the Philippine Islands.  One month later, with the American commissioners standing their ground, the Spanish delegation abandoned their futile efforts and reached agreement.

On December 10th representatives of both nations signed the treaty in Paris.  Spain had acquiesced to ALL American demands, granting independence to Cuba and ceding Puerto Rico, Guam and all of the Philippine Islands to the United States.   In return, the United States agreed to pay a $20 million indemnity to Spain.

With the agreement announced, all that remained was for the Treaty of Paris to be ratified by the United States Senate.  At home the debate between the expansionists and the anti-imperialists continued.   For a while, Senate ratification was doubtful at best.  Author Mark Twain stated, "I have read carefully the treaty of Paris, and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate."  On December 21 President McKinley issued his Benevolent Assimilation Proclamation, wherein he asserted that Americans had a responsibility to educate, civilize and uplift the conditions of the Filipinos.  The turning point came at the last minute when Democratic leader William Jennings Bryan called for ratification of the treaty.  Bryan had come to the conclusion that once the Philippines were freed from Spanish rule, the U.S. could arrange to provide the island nation with its freedom.

On January 1, 1899 Emilio Aguinaldo was declared president of the new Philippine Republic, but the United States refused to recognize the new government.  On February 6 the United States Senate finally voted on the Treaty of Paris.  It was confirmed by a vote of 52 to 27.  Requiring a two-thirds majority vote, the treaty was ratified with ONE VOTE making the difference.

Two days before that Senate vote, on February 4, 1899, an incident occurred in a suburb of Manila that ended with U.S. forces killing three Filipino soldiers.  Just two days before the official end of The Splendid Little War, the sequel war began.  Later called the PHILIPPINE INSURRECTION, there would be nothing splendid about it.

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

The following are some highly recommended links for further study:

The Spanish-American War Centennial Website
Simply the best and most detailed account of the people, places and battles of the Spanish American War including personal naratives.

The World of 1898:  The Spanish-American War
Maps, images, timelines and more are available from the Library of Congress in this well done series of pages.

The Spanish-American War
From Small Planet, a resource for teachers, these pages are rich with information, history, pictures and more.

A War in Perspective
From the New York Public Library, you can find perspectives, history, images and more in these well done pages.

The Spanish American War Homepage
A well done site with order of battle, information on awards and medals, links and more.

The Rough Riders
From Bartleby.com, you can find the complete text and the images from Theodore Roosevelt's own account of the Rough Riders and war in Cuba.

 Other Sources and Recommended Readings:

  • Bachrach, Deborah, The Spanish American War, San Diego: Lucent Books, 1991

  • O'Toole, G.J.A.  The Spanish American War-An American Epic 1898, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1984

  • Tebbel, John America's Great Patriotic War with Spain, Manchester Center, VT: Marshall Jones Company, 1996

  • Sullivan, Mark Our Times, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926

  • Crane, Stephen, The War Dispatches of Stephen Crane, New York: New York University Press, 1996

  • Cooke, Donald E., For Conspicuous Gallantry, Maplewood, NJ, C.S. Hammond and Company, 1966

  • Reader's Digest, Family Encyclopedia of American History, Pleasantville, NY, 1975

  • Lee, Irving, Negro Medal of Honor Men, New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1967

  • VFW Magazine  (In 1998 the VFW Magazine ran a series of stories across several issues that are well worth revisiting).

A Splendid Little War

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