From the Ashes, 1872-1900
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives
DOCUMENT 46RESOLUTION TO RECOGNIZE THE CUBAN PATRIOTS AS BELLIGERENTS
February 22, 1896
Cuban insurrectos revolted against Spanish rule in early 1895. In this they were financed largely by American sugar planters on the island who desired a more hospitable government. Valeriano Weyler, a Spanish soldier of Prussian descent, was sent in 1896 to crush the uprising. This he proceeded to do by rounding up the population in reconcentrado camps. Conditions in these camps were poor and many died. In America public sympathy for the revolutionaries was aroused by the sensational "yellow" press. Newspapers owned by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst in particular screamed out against the atrocities inflicted by "Butcher" Weyler. Congress voted on April 6 to offer the Cuban insurgents belligerent status. It also offered the United States' services as an arbitrator of the conflict. Spain did not accept. Its liberal government did recall Weyler however. February 15, 1898 the USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor. Two hundred and sixty crew members were killed. This event was to propel America into war with Spain.
Points to Consider
Who was General Weyler and what was his strategy in Cuba in 1896?
What interest did the United States have in the Cuban insurrection?
How was Alderman O'Connor's resolution Anglophobic in tone?
Were the Cubans justified in their revolt against Spain?