The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898

The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898

Evan Thomas

Language: English

Pages: 333

ISBN: 031600412X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

On February 15, 1898, the USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor. The sinking of the Maine was just the provocation Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt was looking for. Along with his friend Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and his rival, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, Roosevelt began stirring the public's desire for war against Spain. Roosevelt was soon charging up San Juan Hill in Cuba with his Rough Riders in a tragi-comic campaign that marked America's emergence as an empire abroad. Through the perspective of five larger-than-life characters—war lovers Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and two prominent doves, House Speaker Thomas Reed and philosopher William James—Evan Thomas portrays a pivotal chapter in American history.

An intriguing examination of the pull that war has on men, THE WAR LOVERS is moving saga of courage, ambition, and broken friendships with a provocative relevance to today.












231. 34. Trask, War with Spain in 1898, 156. 35. Morison, Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, vol. 1, 108; Jones, Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, 8. 36. Roosevelt, Rough Riders, 15; Samuels and Samuels, Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan Hill, 16. 37. Marshall and Outcault, Story of the Rough Riders, 29. 38. Morison, Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, vol. 2, 823. 39. Roosevelt, Rough Riders, 17. 40. Morison, Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, vol. 2, 824. 41. Marshall, Story of the Rough Riders, 33; Roosevelt,

that it made sense to try to win over the business lobby to the Cuban cause. On February 20 Lodge took the floor of the Senate to argue that “Free Cuba would mean a great market for the United States; it would mean an opportunity for American capital invited there by special exemptions; it would mean an opportunity for the development of that splendid island.” Lodge also made his more familiar strategic argument for American global supremacy, noting that Cuba “lies athwart the line which leads

up my throat, giving me pellets to suck all morning.” The Shaw Memorial (Library of Congress) Memorial Day dawned damp and misty, but thousands of flag-waving Bostonians turned out. From a battleship in the harbor a great gun boomed the signal to start the parade of veterans, soldiers and sailors. As he sat, sucking pellets, in a carriage with sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (“a most charming and modest man”) under the “weeping sky,” James thought of Wilkie lying, wounded and wasted, under a

were emboldened, believing that Spain was on the verge of defeat, while the loyalists bitterly opposed the idea of an autonomous colonial government. The war had more or less ground to a halt; both sides were exhausted. There was a coffin shortage. Máximo Gómez, the rebel commander, proclaimed a “dead war” and predicted that the Spanish forces would soon give up. Although some Spanish commanders showed little fight and retreated to the cities, the rebels lacked the men or arms for a last frontal

reporters: “I intend to vote for the Republican presidential ticket. While at Chicago, I told Mr. Lodge that such was my intention…. A man cannot act both without and within the party; he can do either, but he cannot possibly do both.” Democracy had spoken, they argued, and Blaine had won the votes of the delegates. Besides, Lodge wanted to run for Congress, and if he crossed the party regulars, he was finished. Realism had trumped idealism. Lodge would pay a heavy social price for his decision.

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