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- The Path of Empire, - 1/32 -


The Path Of Empire, A Chronicle Of The United States As A World Power

by Carl Russell Fish

CONTENTS

I. THE MONROE DOCTRINE II. CONTROVERSIES WITH GREAT BRITAIN III. ALASKA AND ITS PROBLEMS IV. BLAINE AND PAN-AMERICANISM V. THE UNITED STATES AND THE PACIFIC VI. VENEZUELA VII. THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR WITH SPAIN VIII. DEWEY AND MANILA BAY IX. THE BLOCKADE OF CUBA X. THE PREPARATION OF THE ARMY XI. THE CAMPAIGN OF SANTIAGO DE CUBA XII. THE CLOSE OF THE WAR XIII. A PEACE WHICH MEANT WAR XIV. THE OPEN DOOR XV. THE PANAMA CANAL XVI. PROBLEMS OF THE CARIBBEAN XVII. WORLD RELATIONSHIPS BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

THE PATH OF EMPIRE

CHAPTER I. The Monroe Doctrine

In 1815 the world found peace after twenty-two years of continual war. In the forests of Canada and the pampas of South America, throughout all the countries of Europe, over the plains of Russia and the hills of Palestine, men and women had known what war was and had prayed that its horrors might never return. In even the most autocratic states subjects and rulers were for once of one mind: in the future war must be prevented. To secure peace forever was the earnest desire of two statesmen so strongly contrasted as the impressionable Czar Alexander I of Russia, acclaimed as the "White Angel" and the "Universal Savior," and Prince Metternich, the real ruler of Austria, the spider who was for the next thirty years to spin the web of European secret diplomacy. While the Czar invited all governments to unite in a "Holy Alliance" to prevent war, Metternich for the same purpose formed the less holy but more powerful "Quadruple Alliance" of Russia, Prussia, Austria, and England.

The designs of Metternich, however, went far beyond the mere prevention of war. To his mind the cause of all the upheavals which had convulsed Europe was the spirit of liberty bred in France in the days of the Revolution; if order was to be restored, there must be a return to the former autocratic principle of government, to the doctrine of "Divine Right"; it was for kings and emperors to command; it was the duty of subjects to obey. These principles had not, it was true, preserved peace in the past, but Metternich now proposed that, in the future, sovereigns or their representatives should meet "at fixed periods" to adjust their own differences and to assist one another in enforcing the obedience of subjects everywhere. The rulers were reasonably well satisfied with the world as it was arranged by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and determined to set their faces against any change in the relations of governments to one another or to their subjects. They regretted, indeed, that the Government of the United States was built upon the sands of a popular vote, but they recognized that it was apparently well established and decently respectable, and therefore worthy of recognition by the mutual protection society of the Holy Alliance.

The subjects of these sovereigns, however, did not all share the satisfaction of their masters, and some of them soon showed that much as they desired peace they desired other things even more. The inhabitants of Spanish America, while their imperial mother was in the chaos of Napoleon's wars, had nibbled at the forbidden fruit of freedom. They particularly desired freedom to buy the products of British factories, which cost less and satisfied better than those previously furnished by the Spanish merchants, secure in their absolute monopoly. With peace came renewed monopoly, haughty officials, and oppressive laws dictated by that most stupid of the restored sovereigns, Ferdinand VII of Spain. Buenos Aires, however, never recognized his rule, and her general, the knightly San Martin, in one of the most remarkable campaigns of history, scaled the Andes and carried the flag of revolution into Chili and Peru. Venezuela, that hive of revolution, sent forth Bolivar to found the new republics of Colombia and Bolivia. Mexico freed herself, and Brazil separated herself from Portugal. By 1822 European rule had been practically swept off the American mainland, from Cape Horn to the borders of Canada, and, except for the empire of Dom Pedro in Brazil, the newly born nations had adopted the republican form of government which the European monarchs despised. The spirit of unrest leaped eastward across the Atlantic. Revolutions in Spain, Portugal, and Naples sought impiously and with constitutions to bind the hands of their kings. Even the distant Greeks and Serbians sought their independence from the Turk.

Divine Right, just rescued from the French Revolution, was tottering and had yet to test the strength of its new props, the "Holy" and the "Quadruple" alliances, and the policy of intervention to maintain the status quo. Congresses at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, at Troppau in 1820, and at Laibach in 1821, decided to refuse recognition to governments resting on such revolutions, to offer mediation to restore the old order, and, if this were refused, to intervene by force. In the United States, on the other hand, founded on the right of revolution and dedicated to government by the people, these popular movements were greeted with enthusiasm. The fiery Clay, speaker and leader of the House of Representatives, made himself champion of the cause of the Spanish Americans; Daniel Webster thundered forth the sympathy of all lovers of antiquity for the Greeks; and Samuel Gridley Howe, an impetuous young American doctor, crossed the seas, carrying to the Greeks his services and the gifts of Boston friends of liberty. A new conflict seemed to be shaping itself--a struggle of absolutism against democracy, of America against Europe.

Between the two camps, both in her ideas and in her geographical situation, stood England. Devoted as she was to law and order, bulwark against the excesses of the French Terror and the world dominion that Napoleon sought, she was nevertheless equally strong in her opposition to Divine Right. Her people and her government alike were troubled at the repressive measured by which the Allies put down the Revolution of Naples in 1821 and that of Spain in 1823. Still more were they disturbed at the hint given at the Congress of Verona in 1822 that, when Europe was once quieted, America would engage the attention of Europe's arbiters. George Canning, the English foreign minister, soon discovered that this hint foreshadowed a new congress to be devoted especially to the American problem. Spain was to be restored to her sovereignty, but was to pay in liberal grants of American territory to whatever powers helped her. Canning is regarded as the ablest English foreign minister of the nineteenth century; at least no one better embodied the fundamental aspirations of the English people. He realized that liberal England would be perpetually a minority in a united Europe, as Europe was then organized. He believed that the best security for peace was not a union but a balance of powers. He opposed intervention in the internal affairs of nations and stood for the right of each to choose its own form of government. Particularly he fixed his eyes on America, where he hoped to find weight to help him balance the autocrats of the Old World. He wished to see the new American republics free, and he believed that in freedom of trade England would obtain from them all that she needed. Alarmed at the impending European intervention to restore the rule of Spain or of her monarchical assignees in America, he sought an understanding with the United States. He proposed to Richard Rush, the United States minister in London, that the two countries declare concurrently that the independence of Spanish America, was a fact, that the recognition of the new governments was a matter of time and circumstance, that neither country desired any portion of Spain's former dominions, but that neither would look with indifference upon the transfer of any portion of them to another power.

On October 9, 1823, this proposal reached Washington. The answer would be framed by able and most experienced statesmen. The President, James Monroe, had been almost continuously in public service since 1782. He had been minister to France, Spain, and England, and had been Secretary of State. In his earlier missions he had often shown an unwise impetuosity and an independent judgment which was not always well balanced. He had, however, grown in wisdom. He inspired respect by his sterling qualities of character, and he was an admirable presiding officer. William H. Crawford, his Secretary of the Treasury, John C. Calhoun, his Secretary of War, William Wirt, his Attorney-General, and even John McLean, his Postmaster-General, not then a member of the Cabinet, were all men who were considered as of presidential caliber.

Foremost in ability and influence, however, was John Quincy Adams, the Secretary of State. Brought up from early boyhood in the atmosphere of diplomacy, familiar with nearly every country of Europe, he had nevertheless none of those arts of suavity which are popularly associated with the diplomat. Short, baldheaded, with watery eyes, he on the one hand repelled familiarity, and on the other hand shocked some sensibilities, as for example when he appeared in midsummer Washington without a neckcloth. His early morning swim in the Potomac and his translations of Horace did not conquer a temper which embittered many who had business with him, while the nightly records which he made of his interviews show that he was generally suspicious of his visitors. Yet no American can show so long a roll of diplomatic successes. Preeminently he knew his business. His intense devotion and his native talent had made him a master of the theory and practice of international law and of statecraft. Always he was obviously honest, and his word was relied on. Fundamentally he was kind, and his work was permeated by a generous enthusiasm. Probably no man in America, had so intense a conviction not only of the correctness of American principles and the promise of American greatness but of the immediate strength and greatness of the United States as it stood in 1823.

Fully aware as Adams was of the danger that threatened both America and liberty, he was not in favor of accepting Canning's proposal for the cooperation of England and the United States. He


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