116 years ago, July 1, Teddy Roosevelt “rode” into history

July 2, 2014

American Experience makes a Facebook presence.  On July 1, they posted one of my favorite photos of Teddy Roosevelt (and one of the more famous):

On July 1, 1898 Theodore Roosevelt and his volunteer cavalry, the Rough Riders, stormed Kettle Hill and helped capture San Juan Hill. Learn more about Roosevelt and the Rough Riders: http://to.pbs.org/1x730Kv

Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, atop San Juan Hill in Cuba, ostensibly; circa July 1, 1898.

American Experience

On July 1, 1898 Theodore Roosevelt and his volunteer cavalry, the Rough Riders, stormed Kettle Hill and helped capture San Juan Hill.

Learn more about Roosevelt and the Rough Riders: http://to.pbs.org/1x730Kv

But, it’s Teddy Roosevelt!  There is always so much more!

On my Facebook timeline I answered:

And started the ball rolling that would make Teddy Roosevelt the only person ever to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace, and the Medal of Honor for war.

What an interesting character.

P.S. — TR resigned his job as Asst. Secretary of the Navy to enlist; told that there was no group for him to lead, he proceeded to recruit fellow Harvard Law classmates, and fellow South Dakota cowboys, to form the roughriders. Wouldn’t you love to have sat around a campfire with THAT group?

The horses of the Rough Riders were stuck on a ship in the harbor when they made this assault. Famous for riding horses, their reputation was earned on foot, with their horses on a boat.

You couldn’t make that stuff up for a fictional account.

It was a short war; by the end of the year TR was back in New York, wangling to get elected governor, which he did.  His do-good, reformer ways rubbed the corrupt GOP machine the wrong way, however, and when William McKinley’s Vice President Garret A. Hobart died, they seized the opportunity to bury Roosevelt forever; they got him nominated vice president for McKinley’s second term.  They probably remembered, and thought always true, that old Mark Twain story, about the poor widow who had two sons:  One went off to sea, and the other was elected vice president, and neither was ever heard from again.

Assassination struck for the third time in our presidential history.  By the end of 1901, Teddy Roosevelt was President of the United States.

Just like Teddy to ride into history, too impatient to wait for a horse to ride on.


The Presidential Library that isn’t a Presidential Library

March 9, 2013

Campaign poster showing William McKinley holdi...

Campaign poster showing William McKinley holding U.S. flag and standing on gold coin “sound money”, held up by group of men, in front of ships “commerce” and factories “civilization”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Things you learn looking for documents:  The U.S. National Archives now manages the presidential libraries and museums — except for one:  The William McKinley Memorial Library and Museum.

President William McKinley Memorial Library and Museum, in Niles, Ohio.

President William McKinley Memorial Library and Museum, in Niles, Ohio. McKinley was born in Niles. Photo from the LIbrary’s website.

To be more accurate and fair, National Archives manages the documents for the presidential libraries starting with Herbert Hoover, though there are usually special arrangements with each of the libraries.

Separately, the Ladies of Mount Vernon Association manages the research facilities at Mount Vernon, Virginia,  (and the rest of the grounds) associated with George Washington, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, is operated by a separate foundation, too.  The Teddy Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University in North Dakota stands apart from the National Archives system, too (much TR material can be found at Harvard, too).

The idea of a specific library to hold papers from a president’s term is a mid-20th century idea.  Franklin Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover were the first, with the idea coming about the same time.  Private foundations built and operated them until after the Nixon library, and since then Congress authorized the National Archives to get into the act and coordinate the work, and then made the links official, for libraries from here on out.

For presidents prior to Hoover, papers generally became the property of the outgoing president.  Collection was spotty.  The idea of library dedicated to one president is such a good one, though, that private groups have gone back to set them up for Washington and Lincoln.

And McKinley.

Modern texts don’t show well the high regard McKinley had from Americans before he was assassinated.  Within a few years after his death, the people of Ohio and his birthplace, in Niles, got Congress to approve a memorial.  Eventually the local library moved into the memorial building.

The National McKinley Birthplace Memorial Association was incorporated by a special Act of Congress on March 4, 1911.  The purpose of the Association was to erect a suitable structure marking the birthplace of President William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States. The result was the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial.

McKinley was born in the city of Niles, Ohio on January 29, 1843. The city donated the site for the Memorial which consisted of an entire city square. The architects were McKim, Mead & White of New York and the erection of the Memorial was done by John H. Parker Company, also of New York. Groundbreaking began in 1915 with the corner stone being laid on November 20, 1915.

The building was dedicated on October 5, 1917.

The cost was more than half a million dollars, all of which was donated by the American public.

The 232 foot by 136 foot by 38 foot monument is constructed of Georgian marble with two lateral wings–
one wing houses the public library called the McKinley Memorial Library, and the other wing houses the
McKinley Museum and an auditorium. The Museum contains artifacts of the life and presidency of McKinley.

In the center of the Memorial is a Court of   Honor supported by 28 imposing columns. It features a heroic statue of McKinley sculptured by John Massey-Rhind. Surrounding the statue are busts and tablets dedicated to the members of    McKinley’s cabinet and other prominent men who were closely associated with him.  These bronze busts, mounted on marble pedestals, weigh between 800 and 1100 pounds each.

As a presidential library, the McKinley Memorial Library in Niles is unique.  While it does not offer the vast research resources of the National Archives, it does offer a memorial from the people of Ohio and the U.S., a more down-home look at  reverence for presidents and the keeping of the history of our heroes.

Memorial to President William McKinley in Niles, Ohio

The memorial to President McKinley in Niles. Photo from the McKinley Memorial Library and Museum.

The “official” list of other presidential libraries and museums in the National Archives’ network, listed at the American Presidency Project at the University of California – Santa Barbara:

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Digital Archives
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
Richard Nixon Library and Museum
Richard Nixon Library Foundation
Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum
Jimmy Carter Library
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
Clinton Presidential Center
George W. Bush Presidential Library
George W. Bush Presidential Center

More:


“The War Prayer” of Mark Twain (encore post)

September 21, 2012

(Updating dead links, especially from the late and lamented (here at least) VodPod, I found myself back in 2008, with this post on Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer.”  Fortunately, I found the film migrated to YouTube, though split in two parts.  Some information that should have caught our attention in 2008 deserves noting now, and we can update and add new links.)

It’s largely forgotten now, especially in history texts in high schools.  After the Spanish-American War, when the U.S. wrested several territories from Spain, including Guam, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, the U.S. quickly got mired in one of the original guerrilla wars in the Philippines.  It took 15 years, but the U.S. finally put down the rebellion — 15 brutal, bloody years.  The conduct of that war shocked many people, including Mark Twain.

This piece was written partly in response to that war.

Many Americans, like Twain, who questioned the war, in turn had their patriotism questioned.  Why wouldn’t they get on board with the war, and kill off those Filipino rebels? the critics asked.

Here’s a film in two parts, a stunning production, produced and directed by Markos Kounalakis (who uploaded the thing); go to the film’s website for a copy of the text.

Part I:

Part II:

Why didn’t I notice this in 2008?  The film is narrated by Peter Coyote.  Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti plays the minister.  Erik Bauersfeld plays the Stranger.

Another short film of The War Prayer came out in 2007, from Lyceum Productions.  Neither version appears to be available on DVD or Blu-Ray.  Too bad.


Utah Light Artillery in the Philippines, Spanish-American War

August 13, 2009

The Utah Light Artillery, painting by Keith Rocco -- August 13, 1898, Manila, Philippine Islands August 13, 1898, Manila, Philippine Islands  On April 6, 1898, Congress declared war on Spain and President William McKinley organized United States forces for the Splendid Little War. Of the tens of thousands of regular, volunteer and National Guard (Militia) troops who served, 343 Utah Guardsmen saw service in the Philippine Islands. On May 1st, after the Navys stunning victory at Manila Bay, McKinley authorized an invasion force to capture the Philippine archipelago from Spain. Organized into two batteries, the Utah Light Artillery mustered into federal service on May 9, 1898 at Fort Douglas, Utah. Shortly thereafter, at Camp Merritt near San Francisco, the Utah Artillery became part of Brig. Gen. Francis V. Greenes brigade of the U.S. VIII Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt.  Leaving San Francisco, Greenes brigade first raised the U.S. flag in Guam and then arrived on the island of Luzon on July 17, 1898. In the Philippines, 15,000 Americans not only faced 13,000 Spanish soldiers but a second army of some 12,000 Philippine rebels under Emilo Aguinaldo. The rebels had been fighting for national independence from Spain and hoping for American assistance. When Merritt ordered to keep the rebels out of the fight against Spain, the rebels became a second possible enemy.  On August 13th, the Utah Artillery supported Greenes brigade as it attacked towards the old city of Manila. The battle was predetermined to be a limited one in order to preserve Spanish honor and minimize casualties. The rebels, however, made this impossible. As American forces moved quickly against the Spanish defenses, a race to the old city center developed between the Americans and Aguinaldos rebels. The Utah batteries fired and re-deployed several times providing close and accurate support for the infantry attacks.  The Utah Light Artillery continued in federal service for another year and fought in the Philippine Insurrection until returning to Utah in August 1899. Todays 145th Field Artillery, Utah Army National Guard, carries on the history and traditions of the Utah Light Artillery.

Utah Light Artillery in the Spanish-American War – National Guard Heritage Gallery

On April 6, 1898, Congress declared war on Spain and President William McKinley organized United States forces for the “Splendid Little War.” Of the tens of thousands of regular, volunteer and National Guard (Militia) troops who served, 343 Utah Guardsmen saw service in the Philippine Islands. On May 1st, after the Navy’s stunning victory at Manila Bay, McKinley authorized an invasion force to capture the Philippine archipelago from Spain. Organized into two batteries, the Utah “Light” Artillery mustered into federal service on May 9, 1898 at Fort Douglas, Utah. Shortly thereafter, at Camp Merritt near San Francisco, the Utah Artillery became part of Brig. Gen. Francis V. Greene’s brigade of the U.S. VIII Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt.

Leaving San Francisco, Greene’s brigade first raised the U.S. flag in Guam and then arrived on the island of Luzon on July 17, 1898. In the Philippines, 15,000 Americans not only faced 13,000 Spanish soldiers but a second army of some 12,000 Philippine rebels under Emilo Aguinaldo. The rebels had been fighting for national independence from Spain and hoping for American assistance. When Merritt ordered to keep the rebels out of the fight against Spain, the rebels became a second possible enemy.

On August 13th, the Utah Artillery supported Greene’s brigade as it attacked towards the “old” city of Manila. The battle was predetermined to be a “limited” one in order to preserve Spanish honor and minimize casualties. The rebels, however, made this impossible. As American forces moved quickly against the Spanish defenses, a race to the old city center developed between the Americans and Aguinaldo’s rebels. The Utah batteries fired and re-deployed several times providing close and accurate support for the infantry attacks.

The Utah Light Artillery continued in federal service for another year and fought in the Philippine Insurrection until returning to Utah in August 1899. Today’s 145th Field Artillery, Utah Army National Guard, carries on the history and traditions of the Utah Light Artillery.

All text from the National Guard Heritage Gallery.


June 12, 1898 – U.S. flag rises over Guantanamo Bay

June 12, 2009

Hoisting the flag at Guantanamo, Cuba, June 12, 1898.  Image from the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress

Hoisting the flag at Guantanamo, Cuba, June 12, 1898. Edward H. Hart, photographer. Image from the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress

Oh, it’s important in retrospect, no?

On June 10, 1898, U.S. Marines landed at Guantánamo Bay. For the next month, American troops fought a land war in Cuba that resulted in the end of Spanish colonial rule in the Western Hemisphere. Cuban rebels had gained the sympathy of the American public while the explosion and sinking of the U.S.S. Maine, widely blamed on the Spanish despite the absence of conclusive evidence, further boosted American nationalistic fervor.

On June 12, the area was secured and the flag posted.

Read a lot more about this event, and get resources on the Spanish-American War, at the Library of Congress.


“The War Prayer” of Mark Twain

September 3, 2008

 

Here’s Twain’s stuff.

It’s largely forgotten now, especially in history texts in high schools.  After the Spanish-American War, when the U.S. wrested several territories from Spain, including Guam, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, the U.S. quickly got mired in one of the original guerrilla wars in the Philippines.  It took 15 years, but the U.S. finally put down the rebellion — 15 brutal, bloody years.  The conduct of that war shocked many people, including Mark Twain.

This piece was written partly in response to that war.

Many Americans, like Twain, who questioned the war, in turn had their patriotism questioned.  Why wouldn’t they get on board with the war, and kill off those Filipino rebels? the critics asked.

Here’s a film in two parts, a stunning production, perhaps by Markos Kounalakis (who uploaded the thing); go to the film’s website for a copy of the text.

Part I:

Part II:

 

 

 


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