Classic History Books


The Path of Empire. A Chronicle of the United States as a World Power
by Carl Russell Fish

restoration of the old constitution which established an absolutism modified by native home rule. At two
o'clock on the afternoon of the 16th of January, the resident Americans organized a committee of safety;

at half-past four United States marines landed at the call of Stevens. The Queen was thereupon deposed,

a provisional government was organized, and at its request Stevens assumed for the United States the

"protection" of the islands. Without delay, John W. Foster, who had just succeeded Blaine as Secretary of

State, drew up a treaty of annexation, which he immediately submitted to the Senate.

On March 4, 1893, Cleveland became President for the second time. He at once withdrew the treaty and
appointed James H. Blount special commissioner to investigate the facts of the revolt. While the report of

Commissioner Blount did not, indeed, convict Stevens of conspiring to bring about the uprising, it left

the impression that the revolt would not have taken place and certainly could not have succeeded except

for the presence of the United States marines and the support of the United States Minister. Cleveland

recalled Stevens and the marines, and requested the provisional government to restore the Queen. This

Sanford Ballard Dole, the President of the new republic, refused to do, on the contention that President

Cleveland had no right to interfere in the domestic affairs of Hawaii. On the legality or propriety of

Stevens's conduct, opinion in Congress was divided; but with regard to Dole's contention, both the Senate

and the House were agreed that the islands should maintain their own domestic government without

interference from the United States. Thus left to themselves, the Americans in Hawaii bided their time

until public opinion in the United States should prove more favorable to annexation.

 

CHAPTER VI. Venezuela

 

Probably no President ever received so much personal abuse in his own day as did Grover Cleveland. In
time, however, his sterling integrity and fundamental courage, his firm grasp of the higher administrative

duties of his office, won the approval of his countrymen, and a repentant public sentiment has possibly

gone too far in the other direction of acclaiming his statesmanship. Unlike Blaine, Cleveland thought

soundly and consistently; but he was more obstinate, his vision was often narrower, and he was notably

lacking both in constructive power and in tact, particularly in foreign relations. In his first

Administration, through his Secretary of State, Thomas F. Bayard, Cleveland had negotiated fairly

amicably with Great Britain, and when he failed to secure the Senate's assent to a treaty on the irritating

question of the northeastern fisheries, he arranged a modus vivendi which served for many years. In

American affairs he opposed not only the annexation of Hawaii but also the development of the spirit of

Pan-Americanism. He was, however, no more disposed than was Blaine to permit infractions of that

negative side of the Monroe Doctrine which forbade European interference in America. His second

Administration brought to the forefront of world diplomacy an issue involving this traditional principle.

The only European possession in South America at this time was Guiana, fronting on the Atlantic north
of Brazil and divided among France, Holland, and Great Britain. Beyond British Guiana, the

westernmost division, lay Venezuela. Between the two stretched a vast tract of unoccupied tropical

jungle. Somewhere there must have been a boundary, but where, no man could tell. The extreme claim of

Great Britain would have given her command of the mouth of the Orinoco, while that of Venezuela

would practically have eliminated British Guiana. Efforts to settle this long-standing dispute were

unavailing. Venezuela had from time to time suggested arbitration but wished to throw the whole area

into court. Great Britain insisted upon reserving a minimum territory and would submit to judicial

decision only the land west of what was known as the Schomburgk line of 1840. As early as 1876

 

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