United States and American History: 1899

About the history of the United States in 1899, results of the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico's stake in it, Miner's revolt.


-To the people of Puerto Rico, the results of the Spanish-American War seemed to be a bad joke. For the 1st time in 400 years, the people of the island were free of Spanish rule. For 7 months they enjoyed the fruits of their revolution-self-government. Then suddenly, without any discussions with the Puerto Ricans, the U.S. Military moved in, occupied the island, and established U.S. rule, which persists to this day.

Jan. 15 The San Francisco Examiner published a protest poem, "The Man with the Hoe," which caused a sensation. Written by Edwin Markham, a schoolteacher, the poem protested the exploitation of labor and had been inspired by a Millet painting of a workworn French peasant.

Feb. 4 A Filipino people's revolt, headed by General Emilio Aguinaldo, ignited against the 70,000 U.S. occupation forces. Since the U.S. would not give the Philippines independence, the guerrillas fought for 3 years, costing "the U.S. more men and money than did the Spanish-American War itself." Aguinaldo was captured, the main Filipino insurrection put down. For almost a half century, the U.S. controlled the Philippines, treating the natives as nationals and not as citizens of the U.S., not allowing them citizenship unless they served in the U.S. Army. Finally, on July 4, 1946, the Philippines won its independence from the U.S. Government, if not from U.S. economic control.

Spring The $250,000 mill of the Bunker Hill Co. was destroyed by miners using dynamite. The Populist governor of Idaho, Frank Steunenberg, asked President McKinley for troops and declared Shoshone County in a state of "insurrection and rebellion." In an attempt to divert the anger of the miners, McKinley sent Negro soldiers from Brownsville, Tex., who, under orders from white officers, rounded up the miners and put them in bullpens. But the miners continued to feel betrayed by Steunenberg, who left office in a far more prosperous condition than he had entered it, and became a sheep-rancher and businessman. On December 3, 1905, he opened the gate of his home in Caldwell, Ida., and was blown to pieces by a bomb attached to the gate.

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