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Themes in U.S. History
In 1906, San Francisco's school board segregated the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean students to make room for white students. The Japanese saw this action as an insult and threatened with war.
When the Japanese government lifted its ban on its citizens emigrating in 1884, thousands of Japanese were recruited to work in California. Japanese immigrants were confronted with racist hostility by whites.
In order for ships to cross quickly from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, a canal had to be built across the Central American isthmus. There were initial legal issues blocking the construction of this canal. By the terms of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, made with Britain in 1850, the U.S. could not gain exclusive control over a route for the canal. But because of friendly relations with Britain, Britain signed the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty in 1901, which gave the U.S. a helping hand to build the canal and rights to fortify it.
Colombia stood in the way of the construction of the canal. After a treaty to buy land for the canal had been rejected by the Colombian senate, President Roosevelt, who was eager to win the upcoming election, demanded that the canal be built without Colombia's consent.
The so-called rape of Panama marked a downward lurch in U.S relations with Latin America.
President Roosevelt defended himself against all charges of doing anything wrong. He claimed that Colombia had wronged the United States by not permitting itself to be benefited by the construction of the canal.
In 1904 the construction of the Panama Canal began, and in 1914 it was completed at a cost of $400 million.
Politics and Citizenship
Following China's defeat by Japan in 1894-1895, Russia and Germany moved into China. The American public, fearing that Chinese markets would be monopolized by Europeans, demanded that the U.S. Government do something. Secretary of State John Hay dispatched to all the great powers a communication known as the Open Door note. He urged the powers to announce that in their leaseholds or spheres of influence they would respect certain Chinese rights and the ideal of fair competition. The note asked all those who did not have thieving designs to stand up and be counted. Italy was the only major power to accept the Open Door unconditionally and Russia was the only major power not to accept it.
President McKinley was the Republican presidential nominee for the election of 1900 because he had led the country through a war, acquired rich real estate, established the gold standard, and brought prosperity to the nation. McKinley and the Republican Party supported the gold standard and imperialism. They proclaimed that "Bryanism" was the paramount election issue. This meant that Bryan would destroy the nation's prosperity once he took office with his free-silver policy and other "dangerous" ideas.
Theodore Roosevelt was nominated as the vice president after the political bosses of New York (where Roosevelt was governor) found it hard to continue their "businesses" with the headstrong governor. They wanted Roosevelt elected as vice president so that Roosevelt would no longer pose an authority problem to the political bosses.
William Jennings Bryan was the Democratic presidential candidate for the election. Bryan and the Democratic Party supported the silver standard and anti-imperialism. They proclaimed that the paramount election issue was Republican overseas imperialism.
McKinley and the Republican Party won the election of 1900.
In September 1901, a deranged anarchist murdered President McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt took over the presidency.
Roosevelt was a direct actionist in that he believed that the president should lead and keep things moving forward. He had no real respect for the checks and balances system among the 3 branches of government. He felt that he may take any action in the general interest that is not specifically forbidden by the laws of the Constitution.
Many Americans favored the Nicaraguan route for the canal, but Congress decided on the Panama route for the canal in June 1902 after the New Panama Canal Company dropped the price of its holdings significantly.
Several nations of Latin America were in debt to European countries. President Roosevelt feared that if the European nations (mainly the Germany and Britain) got their feet in the door of Latin America, then they might remain there, in violation of the Monroe Doctrine. Roosevelt therefore created a policy known as "preventive intervention." The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declared that in the event of future monetary problems of Latin American countries with European countries, the U.S. could pay off the Latin American counties' debts to keep European nations out of Latin America.
President Roosevelt invited the entire San Francisco Board of Education to the White House to settle the dispute. TR broke the deadlock and the Californians were persuaded to repeal the segregation and to accept what came to be known as the "Gentlemen's Agreement." The Japanese agreed to stop the flow of immigrants to the United States.
In 1908, the Root-Takahira agreement was reached with Japan. The U.S. and Japan pledged themselves to respect each other's territorial possessions.
Latin American countries began to hate the Monroe Doctrine for it had become the excuse for numerous U.S. interventions in Latin America. In actuality, President Roosevelt was the one to be blamed for the interventions.
Slavery and Its Legacies in North America
War and Diplomacy
On February 4, 1899, the Filipinos erupted in rebellion against the occupying United States forces after the Senate refused to pass a bill giving the Filipinos their independence. The insurrection was led by Emilio Aguinaldo.
American soldiers as well as Filipino guerillas resorted to brutal fighting tactics.
The backbone of the Filipino rebellion was broken in 1901 when American soldiers captured Emilio Aguinaldo.
President McKinley appointed the Philippine Commission in 1899 to set up a Filipino government. William H. Taft, who referred to the Filipinos to "little brown brothers," led the body in 1900. He genuinely liked the Filipinos while the American soldiers did not.
President McKinley's plan of "benevolent assimilation" of the Filipinos was very slow and involved improving roads, sanitation, and public health. The plan developed economic ties and set a school system with English as the 2nd language. It was ill received by the Filipinos who preferred liberty over assimilation.
In 1900, a super-patriotic group in China known as the "Boxers" killed hundreds of foreigners. A multinational rescue force came in and stopped the rebellion.
After the failed rebellion, Secretary Hay declared in 1900 that the Open Door would embrace the territorial integrity of China as well as its commercial integrity.
On November 3, 1903, Panamanians, who feared the United States would choose the Nicaraguan route for the canal, made a successful revolution led by Bunau-Varilla. Bunau-Varilla became the Panamanian minister to the United States and signed the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty in Washington. The treaty gave the U.S. control of a 10-mile zone around the proposed Panama Canal.
Japan began war with Russia in 1904 after Russia failed to withdraw troops from Manchuria and Korea. Japan was defeating Russia in the war when Japan's supply of troops began to run low. Japan therefore asked President Roosevelt to step in and sponsor peace negotiations. Roosevelt agreed and in 1905 forced through an agreement in which the Japanese received no compensation for the losses and only the southern half of Sakhalin.
Because of the treaty, friendship with Russia faded away and Japan became a rival with America in Asia.