Courtesy Reuters

The Platt Amendment

THE desire of the Cubans to become a free people among the American nations which had broken away from European rule provoked a series of bloody revolutions in the course of the nineteenth century. The last of these, captained by our three great generals, Maximo Gomez, Antonio Maceo and Calixto Garcia, broke out with the cry of "Independence or Death," and caused a cruel war in which the Cuban population was decimated and Cuban territories were devastated. Save for the individual efforts of a few heroic volunteers, the Cubans received no help from other countries, down to the day when the Congress of the United States voted its famous Joint Resolution of April 18, 1898, to which the President affixed his signature on April 20. The text of this document was as follows:

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled:

First. That the people of the Island of Cuba are, and of right ought to be, free and independent.

Second. That it is the duty of the United States to demand, and the Government of the United States does hereby demand, that the Government of Spain at once relinquish its authority and government in the Island of Cuba, and withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters.

Third. That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, directed and empowered to use the entire land and naval forces of the United States, and to call into the actual service of the United States the militia of the several States, to such extent as may be necessary to carry these resolutions into effect.

Fourth. That the United States hereby disclaims any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said island, except for the pacification thereof, and asserts its determination, when that is accomplished, to leave the government and control of the island to its people.

The Spanish Government straightway broke off relations with Washington; whereupon, on

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