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Education and Imperialism at the Turn of the Century

Puerto Rico and Cuba, 1898–1930
  • Victoria-María MacDonald

Abstract

American victory in the Spanish-American War of 1898 launched the United States into the role of imperial power. American support for Cuban independence from Spain initially brought the U.S. military to the Caribbean in 1898. When the U.S. Maine battleship blew up in the Havana harbor, killing over two hundred U.S. servicemen, Congress authorized war against Spain. The intervention to free Cuba from the “tyranny” of Spanish colonialism expanded to include Spain’s Pacific colonies. The Treaty of Paris in December 1899 concluded the brief war and established the United States as an imperial world power.2 According to the terms of the Treaty of Paris, the United States acquired the Philippine Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Cuba itself was protected from outright acquisition in the 1898 Teller Amendment, which authorized the president to intervene in Cuba but did not grant him the power to establish rule over the island.3 In return, Spain received 20 million dollars. The treaty also guaranteed religious freedom in the new territories, but the U.S. Congress held the power to determine the “legal, civil and political status” of the newly acquired peoples.4 The former Spanish subjects of Puerto Rico and Cuba thus found themselves transferred from one imperial power to another.

Keywords

English Language Instruction PUERTO RICO Imperial Power Regular Teacher Woman Teacher 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Quoted in Louis A. Pérez, The War of 1898: The U.S. and Cuba in History and Historiography (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), p. 112.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Frederick Merk, Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History: A Reinterpretation (New York: Vintage Books, 1966).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Thomas G. Paterson and Stephen G. Rabe, eds., Imperial Surge: The United States Abroad, The 1890s-Early 1900s (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1992), p. 156.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Juan Gonzalez, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America (New York: Viking Press, 2000), p. 63.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    José Trías Monge, Puerto Rico: The Trials of the Oldest Colony in the World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), p. 43.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Quoted in Louis A. Pérez, Jr., “The Imperial Design: Politics and Pedagogy in Occupied Cuba, 1899–1902,” Cuban Studies/Estudios Cubanos 12 (summer 1982): 8.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    For further discussion of the Harvard program see Edwards D. Fitchen, “The United States Military Government, Alexis E. Frye and Cuban Education, 1898–1902,” Revista/Review Interamericana 2 (summer 1972): 123–159 and Fitchen, “The Cuban Teachers and Harvard, 1900: An Early Experiment in Inter-American Cultural Exchange,” Horizontes: Revista de la Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico 26 (1973).Google Scholar
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    Aida Negron de Montilla, Americanization in Puerto Rico and the Public School System, 1900–1930 (Rio de Piedras, P.R.: Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1975), pp. 9–10.Google Scholar
  9. 20.
    President McKinley’s special commissioner Henry K. Carroll is identified as one such advisor. See Arturo Morales Carrión, Puerto Rico: A Political and Cultural History (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1983), pp. 147–157.Google Scholar
  10. 25.
    Donal F. Lindsey, Indians at Hampton Institute, 1877–1923 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  11. 26.
    Samuel McCune Lindsay, “Inauguration of the American School System in Porto Rico,” chapter 15 of Report of the Commissioner of Education for the year ending June 30, 1905. Vol. 1 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1907), p. 332.Google Scholar
  12. 27.
    Carlos Fraticelli-Rodríguez, Education and Imperialism: The Puerto Rican Experience in Higher Education, 1898–1986. Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños Working Paper Series. Higher Education Task Force (New York: Hunter College, 1986).Google Scholar
  13. 30.
    Juan José Osuna, A History of Education in Puerto Rico (Rio Piedras, P.R.: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1949), p. 282.Google Scholar
  14. 34.
    Both reports, A Survey of the Public Educational System of Puerto Rico, Teachers College, Columbia University (1926) and Victor S. Clark, Porto Rico and Its Problems (1928), Brookings Institute, Washington, D.C. are quoted from extensively in Osuna, A History of Education in Puerto Rico, pp. 341–364.Google Scholar

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© Victoria-María MacDonald 2004

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  • Victoria-María MacDonald

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