- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: University Press of Kansas (October 29, 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0700602275
- ISBN-13: 978-0700602278
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,207,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Spanish-American War and President McKinley 0th Edition
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"This is by all odds the best study of the coming of the war, the war itself, and the aftermath of the conflict."—Paul S. Holbo, University of Oregon. "The Spanish-American war has inherent interest for students, and has received much attention in recent years. But the role of President McKinley has usually been misunderstood and misrepresented. Moreover, a good deal of misunderstanding remains as to the causes of American involvement in the war. This book clarifies the situation in a fair, balanced, and convincing way, and constitutes the definitive account. It is graceful and concise—entirely suitable for student use. Teachers will welcome the chance to offer students a book that will engage their interest while showing off the historical art at its best."—Herbert F. Margulies, Professor of History, University of Hawaii at Manoa
From the Back Cover
"The Spanish-American war has inherent interest for students, and has received much attention in recent years. But the role of President McKinley has usually been misunderstood and misrepresented. Moreover, a good deal of misunderstanding remains as to the causes of American involvement in the war. This book clarifies the situation in a fair, balanced, and convincing way, and constitutes the definitive account. It is graceful and concise--entirely suitable for student use. Teachers will welcome the chance to offer students a book that will engage their interest while showing off the historical art at its best."--Herbert F. Margulies, Professor of History, University of Hawaii at Manoa
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In this book, Lewis L. Gould presents a concise 138-page text and argues that President William McKinley was a "forceful and effective war leader." (ix) Gould reexamines McKinley's actions leading up to and during the Spanish-American War in 1889, and concludes that he was a strong-willed, patient commander-in-chief. Past scholars described McKinley as a stepping stone to the more powerful Theodore Roosevelt and failed to recognize his contributions to the presidency. Gould attempts to change McKinley's lackluster legacy with primary and secondary sources that show him as a president with courage, foresight, and a successful record of accomplishments. Gould builds upon these sources and argues that McKinley deserves proper recognition as a president with adept diplomatic skill and strong fortitude, like Abraham Lincoln.
Gould traces McKinley's calm and enduring diplomatic negotiations with Spain for the sole purpose of avoiding war. America wanted the Spanish to recognize Cuba's independence and remove themselves from their most prized western possession. In February 1898, as tensions were growing in America, the U.S.S. Maine, moored in the Havana harbor, exploded and killed two-hundred and sixty-six sailors. The immediate after-action report blamed the explosion on a mine, however most historians agree that it was an internal boiler malfunction which caused the destruction. This event catapulted America into a war with Spain and Gould uses this to demonstrate that McKinley exhausted all diplomatic measure before waging war, giving Spain the opportunity to relinquish control of Cuba. Gould details how McKinley negotiated the war atmosphere in America and attempted to soothe the public and only resorted to war when all other options failed.
After the declaration of war in April 1898, McKinley actively devised military movements that maximized an under-funded and ill-equipped Army. Gould believes that the logistical inequities of the Army along with the inept leadership from the secretary of war, Russell Alger, were enough to hamper most leaders. But McKinley vigorously tackled the issue by supporting the Hull Bill which authorized the Army to recruit and train a quarter of a million more men for military operations. He also initiated an investigation into the poor treatment of American soldiers in the field. McKinley moved the war room to the White House and he kept in constant touch with commanders on the battlefield in almost real-time due to improvements in communications.
This book contains adequate maps and illustrations of both Cuba and the Philippines and while Gould presents his strongest and most interesting defense for his argument in chapter two, the rest of the book contributes a broad yet brief interpretation of pro-McKinley actions. The author provides sufficient support of McKinley as a talented and wise president. Gould states that McKinley's actions reveal "subtlety of action, a fortitude of will, and a simple courage that belie the easy stereotypes of his historical reputation." (52) Gould also argues that McKinley marked a significant step in the evolution of the modern president. This term requires further clarification. Was McKinley a modern president because of his use of remote voice communications during the war or because he developed a more interactive relationship with the press or that he defeated a country not in a position to defend its imperial possession? McKinley did strengthen the president's influence, but readers may not be truly impressed considering the achievements of other presidents, such as James K. Polk.