Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain. America’s 1898 Adventure in Imperialism

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This book describes and eva1uates the turn-of-the-century foray by the U.S. into imperialism. It describes our conflict with Spain. over the sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Cuba followed by our invasion of the island and its seizure. It also describes our seizure of Puerto Rico from Spain. That island today stands as the oldest colony in the world and the author proposes that it is a place with no independence or political rights. The annexation of Hawaii that took place at the same time is also examined as is the seizure of Guam and the invasion and eventual conquest of the Philippines after many years of bloody combat. Finally the book assesses the impact of these imperialistic adventures on US politics at that time and over the years since.


“Anthropology has relatively few practitioners who have investigated the conduct of colonial warfare by Western nations, leaving such studies to historians and political scientists for the most part. Robert Edgerton is notable exception. He has looked into military action such as Custer’s campaign in the West, the Zulu Wars, and the Crimean War. He here extends the interests he has previously demonstrated by not only examining the conduct of American military action in the Caribbean and the Pacific, but also by considering American colonial policy as it emerged following the annexations in those areas. In reading these pages, one is truck by the relationship between the hubris that found expression in America’s westward expansion and the drive for empire that emerged in the late nineteenth century.” (from the Preface) Edgar V. Winans.

“Robert Edgerton, a widely experienced cultural anthropologist, expertly interweaves the human costs, values, and political motives behind the concepts of empire and "manifest destiny" as enacted in the United States from the time of George Washington to the early years of WWII in the Pacific A direct inference, at least to this reader, is that this heritage is with us now, in Iraq From a variety of historical sources the author illustrates the frightful costs to indigenous peoples in terms of lives lost and despair over demolishment of their cultures The effects of these expansionist policies of the United States were, and still are, keenly felt by native peoples of North America, on Pacific islands, the Philippines, as well as in Cuba and Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean Basin Edgerton lets historical accounts for these areas speak for themselves Hundreds of sources are used to identify the values, religious, economic and political ends of United States leaders determined to fulfill a "manifest destiny" (God-given, of course) This book opens one's eyes to the reality of history and its intimate connection with the present.” – Francis P. Conant, Professor Emeritus, Hunter College, CUNY.

Table of Contents

1. Manifest Destiny: U.S. Imperialism.
2. Hawaii: Paradise Lost? Samoa: Paradise Gained
3. Cuba: Preparing for War.
4. War in Cuba and Puerto Rico.
5. “Goo-Goo Land”—The Philippine War.
6. The United States and Guam.
7. Puerto Rico—The World’s Oldest Colony.
8. United States Rule Over the Philippines—1898-1947.
9. Cuba: A Precious Jewel Gone Astray.
Epilogue The Destiny of Manifest Destiny.

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