Classic History Books


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

The attitude of Germany in particular was conspicuous. The Kaiser sent his brother, Prince Henry, to
visit the United States. He presented the nation with a statue of Frederick the Great and Harvard with a

Germanic museum; he ordered a Herreshoff yacht, and asked the President's daughter, Alice Roosevelt,

to christen it; he established exchange professorships in the universities; and he began a campaign aimed

apparently at securing for Germany the support of the entire American people, or, failing that, at

organizing for German purposes the German-born element within the United States. France sought to

revive the memory of her friendship for the United States during the Revolution by presenting the nation

with a statue of Rochambeau, and she also established exchange professorships. In England, Cecil

Rhodes, with his great dream of drawing together all portions of the British race, devoted his fortune to

making Oxford the mold where all its leaders of thought and action should be shaped; and Joseph

Chamberlain and other English leaders talked freely and enthusiastically of an alliance between Great

Britain and the United States as the surest foundation for world peace.

It need not be supposed, however, that these international amenities meant that the United States was to
be allowed to have its own way in the world. The friendliness of Great Britain was indeed sincere.

Engaged between 1899 and 1901 in the Boer War, she appreciated ever more strongly the need for the

friendship of the United States, and she looked with cordial approbation upon the development of

Secretary Hay's policy in China. The British, however, like the Americans, are legalistically inclined, and

disputes between the two nations are likely to be maintained to the limit of the law. The advantage of this

legal mindedness is that there has always been a disposition in both peoples to submit to judicial award

when ordinary negotiations have reached a deadlock. But the real affection for each other which underlay

the eternal bickerings of the two nations had as yet not revealed itself to the American consciousness. As

most of the disputes of the United States had been with Great Britain, Americans were always on the

alert to maintain all their claims and were suspicious of "British gold."

It was, therefore, in an atmosphere by no means conducive to yielding on the part of the United States,
though it was one not antagonistic to good feeling, that the representatives of the two countries met. John

Hay and Sir Julian Pauncefote, whose long quiet service in this country had made him the first popular

British ambassador, now set about clearing up the problems confronting the two peoples. The first

question which pressed for settlement was one of boundary. It had already taken ninety years to draw the

line from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and now the purchase of Alaska by the United States had added new

uncertainties to the international boundary. The claims of both nations were based on a treaty of 1825

between Great Britain and Russia. Like most attempts to define boundaries running through unexplored

territories, the treaty terms admitted of two interpretations. The boundary line from Portland Channel to

Mount St. Elias was stipulated to run everywhere a distance of ten marine leagues from the coast and to

follow its sinuosities. This particular coast, however, is bitten into by long fiords stretching far into the

country. Great Britain held that these were not part of the sea in the sense of the treaty and that the line

should cut across them ten marine leagues from the outer coast line. On the other hand, the United States

held that the line should be drawn ten marine leagues from the heads of these inlets.

The discovery of gold on the Yukon in 1897 made this boundary question of practical moment. Action
now became an immediate necessity. In 1899 the two countries agreed upon a modus Vivendi and in

1903 arranged an arbitration. The arbitrating board consisted of three members from each of the two

nations. The United States appointed Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, ex-Senator George Turner, and Elihu

Root, then Secretary of War. Great Britain appointed two Canadians, Louis A. Jette and A. B.

Aylesworth, and Lord Alverstone, Chief Justice of England. Their decision was in accordance with the

 

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