U.S. Rise to World Power

USS Maine Destroyed

February 15, 1898 -  The Battleship USS Maine is destroyed in Havana harbor, killing 260 of its crew.

Manila Bay

May 1, 1898 -  Admiral Dewey attacks Spanish holdings in the Philippines by engaging the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. The battle lasts seven hours. Spanish losses are 381 sailors and all its ships; there is no damage to U.S. vessels, and only eight men are wounded.

Invasion of Cuba

June 10, 1898 - 647 American Marines land at Guantanamo Bay, beginning the invasion of Cuba. 17,000 American troops, including Theodore Roosevelt's "Rough Riders," invade Santiago on June 20.

Hawaii Annexation

July 7, 1898 -  The Hawaiian Annexation treaty is signed by McKinley.

Treaty of Paris

July 26, 1898 - Three months after it began, the Spanish and American war ends. The Treaty of Paris, ratified in December, declares that Spain cede the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico to the U.S.

"Open door" policy

September 6, 1899 -  John Hay asks China for an "open door" policy by which all nations receive equal treatment from China.

President McKinley's Assassination

September 6, 1901 -  President McKinley is shot by Anarchist Leon Czolgosz.  Forty-two-year-old Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office.

The platt Amendment

On march 2, 1901 -  The Platt Amendment is issued by Congress, which states that American troops will not withdraw from Cuba until the following conditions are included in their constitution: only the United States will be allowed to intervene to preserve Cuban independence ; the Cubans agree to lease or sell naval stations to the United States.

Hay-Bureau-Varilla Treaty

In November, 1903 - The United States and Panama sign the Hay-Bureau-Varilla treaty giving the United States permanent rights to a 10-mile wide strip of land in return for $10,000,000 and an annual charge of $250,000 after nine years.

Wilson President

On June 2, 1912 - Woodrow Wilson is elected President. He is the first Democratic President since Grover Cleveland. Wilson is a progressive reformer, with a solid Democratic House, about to set his reforms.

The U.S. Declares Neutrality

August 19, 1914 - The United States issues a formal statement that it will remain neutral in the European wars.

Lusitania sinking

In may 7, 1915 -  The great ocean-going British passenger ship Lusitania is sunk without warning, losing 1198 of its 1924 passengers. There are 114 Americans aboard, and the tragedy strikes home.

Loan to British and France

In 1915 - The  United States arranged a much needed $500,000,000 loan to the British and French.

Largest military budget... so far

In December, Wilson asked for a standing army of 142,000 and a reserve of 400,000.

By March of  1916, the Senate had resolved to bring the army to full strength. By the end of June, the House passed a $182,000,000 army appropriations , the largest military budget so far.

Wilson's second term

On June 3, 1916 -  Wilson wins a second term, having campaigned on the slogan, "He kept us out of war."

German resumes unrestricted submarine warfare

February 1, 1917 -  Germany declares that it will resume unrestricted submarine warfare. Neutral ships, armed or unarmed, sailing into a German war zone, will be attacked without warning. In response, Wilson breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany. The same day, the American steamship Housatonic is sunk without warning.

The Zimmerman Telegram

  January 19, 1917 - British secret service agents intercept a telegram for the German foreign minister Zimmerman to the German ambassador to Mexico. this pushes Wilson to the brink of war with Germany. The telegram is released to the public with responds with predictable anger.

The Jones Act

March 2, 1917 - The Jones Act makes Puerto Rico part of United States territory, making its inhabitants U.S. citizens.

Wilson declares war on Germany

In April 4, 1917 - Wilson asks Congress to declare war on Germany. "The world," he says in a famous phrase, "must be made safe for democracy." The vote in Congress is overwhelmingly in favor of war.

Espionage Act

June 15, 1917 - The Espionage Act is passed by Congress, which imposes sentences of up to twenty years in prison for anyone found guilty of aiding the enemy, obstructing the recruitment of soldiers, or encouraging disloyalty

Wilson's fourteen points

In January 8, 1918 - Wilson sets forth his famous "Fourteen Points" for peace in the world. It asks for a "general association of nations" (The league of nations).


In October , 1918 - Germany forms a parliamentary government, and with the collapse at the front, mutiny in the navy and revolution in Munich.

In November 11, 1918 - An armistice is signed.

Treaty of Versailles

In June 28, 1919 - The peace conference ends with the signing of the Versailles Treaty. Germany is asked to admit guilt and pay around $30 billion u.s dollars.  The final treaty does not follow closely Wilson's Fourteen Points. Ultimately, the issue dearest to Wilson's heart, the League of nations, is accepted by all signatories. However, because of the League issue, the Senate will never ratify the treaty.

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