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Old August 11th, 2018, 01:56 PM   #1

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Could any U.S. President in the 1890s have realistically annexed Cuba?


Could any U.S. President in the 1890s have realistically annexed Cuba?

While I am aware of the Teller Amendment, could a different U.S. President have prevented it from passing had he acted early enough in regards to Cuba?

For instance, could a different U.S. Administration have tried to create a groundswell of support for annexation by the U.S. in Cuba?

Any thoughts on this?
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Old August 11th, 2018, 02:52 PM   #2

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Given the state of Spain, The U.S. could have come up with some justification to annex Spain. We see in 1898 that Spain was not in position to stop them and I don't know of any other nation with the interest or desire to try so.
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Old August 11th, 2018, 03:08 PM   #3

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Originally Posted by Rodger View Post
Given the state of Spain, The U.S. could have come up with some justification to annex Spain. We see in 1898 that Spain was not in position to stop them and I don't know of any other nation with the interest or desire to try so.
Would there have been enough domestic support within the U.S. for the U.S. to annex Cuba in the 1890s, though?
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Old August 11th, 2018, 03:51 PM   #4
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Obstacles to the US annexing Cuba in the 1890s:
Almost all Cubans are Catholic
A significant portion of the population is black or brown
Most Cubans do not speak English
Cubans in 1898 had no experience with or tradition of democracy
Cuban sugar was a threat to US domestic sugar production

These obstacles did not prevent the US from annexing Puerto Rico or the Phillipines or Hawaii. Hawaii also produces a lot of sugar. But in addition, many Americans sympathized with Cuba in its civil war with Spain and genuinely wished for Cuban independence. If the US had not favored Cuban independence, it's possible there would not have been a Spanish-American War. Americans need a reason to believe they are doing good. Colonies were not in America's traditions and many Americans were uncomfortable with having overseas territories or colonies. Annexing Cuba just like Puerto Rico was not in the cards.
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Old August 11th, 2018, 04:20 PM   #5

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Originally Posted by Chlodio View Post
Obstacles to the US annexing Cuba in the 1890s:
Almost all Cubans are Catholic
A significant portion of the population is black or brown
Most Cubans do not speak English
Cubans in 1898 had no experience with or tradition of democracy
Cuban sugar was a threat to US domestic sugar production

These obstacles did not prevent the US from annexing Puerto Rico or the Phillipines or Hawaii.
Or the Danish West Indies (later renamed the US Virgin Islands), for that matter.

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Hawaii also produces a lot of sugar. But in addition, many Americans sympathized with Cuba in its civil war with Spain and genuinely wished for Cuban independence. If the US had not favored Cuban independence, it's possible there would not have been a Spanish-American War. Americans need a reason to believe they are doing good. Colonies were not in America's traditions and many Americans were uncomfortable with having overseas territories or colonies. Annexing Cuba just like Puerto Rico was not in the cards.
I suspect that you're correct about Americans favoring Cuban independence. However, it's worth noting that the U.S. has a long history of expansionism--with the Louisiana Purchase, Florida acquisition, Texas acquisition, Mexican Cession, Alaska Purchase, et cetera all being cases of the U.S. acquiring additional territory. Thus, the US can simply connect an annexation of Cuba to its past territorial acquisitions; in other words, the US can argue that it is continuing a proud tradition of territorial expansion by annexing Cuba.

That said, though, just how much value did Cuba have for Americans in the 1890s? I mean, sure, Florida is overcrowded right now, but this certainly wasn't the case 120 years ago!
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Old August 11th, 2018, 10:05 PM   #6

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Originally Posted by Chlodio View Post
These obstacles did not prevent the US from annexing Puerto Rico or the Phillipines or Hawaii. Hawaii also produces a lot of sugar.
Hawaii also had a number of American settlers with a lot of influence, enough influence to overthrow the monarchy. So, their presence certainly helped the US to establish control.
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Old August 12th, 2018, 03:35 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chlodio View Post
Obstacles to the US annexing Cuba in the 1890s:
Almost all Cubans are Catholic
A significant portion of the population is black or brown
Most Cubans do not speak English
Cubans in 1898 had no experience with or tradition of democracy
Cuban sugar was a threat to US domestic sugar production

Annexing Cuba just like Puerto Rico was not in the cards.
I don't understand your last comment. The U.S. did annex Puerto Rico. Why would Cuba have been any different?
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