United States history in early 1900's



The population of the United States, as shown by the official returns of the census of 1900, was 76,295,220. In 1890 it was 63,039,756, thus showing an increase of nearly twenty-one per cent. in ten years. A total Indian population of 134,158 is included in the above total for 1900. The cost of the census up to October 30, including enumeration and supervision, was $6,361,961, of which sum over $4,000,000 was expended in enumeration.

One of the most terrible calamities that had befallen any American city in that time was that of the great hurricane of September 8 and 9, which literally wrecked the city of Galveston, Texas. The loss of life and property and the scenes of horror were appalling. It was estimated that about 7,000 were killed. Many other towns lying in the path of the cyclone were also wrecked; but Galveston, both on account of its size and its situation on a low, exposed island, was the chief sufferer. More than half of the city was wrecked by the wind and the big waves which swept over it from the Gulf. The catastrophe was overwhelming; but by the prompt aid of the Government, and generous contributions of money, food and clothing from all parts of the United States, everything possible was done for the relief of the survivors.

The United States made the largest display at the Paris Exposition of 1900 of any foreign nation, exhibiting in 101 out of 121 classes; and the exhibits were awarded: Grand prizes, 240; gold medals, 597; silver medals, 776; bronze medals, 541, and honorable mentions, 322,-2,476 in all, being the greatest total number given to the display of any exhibiting nation, as well as the largest number in each grade.

"This significant recognition of merit," said President McKinley in his message, "in competition with the chosen exhibits of all other nations, and at the hands of juries almost wholly made up of representatives of France and other competing countries, is not only most gratifying, but is especially valuable, since it sets us to the front in international questions of supply and demand, while the large proportion of awards in the classes of art and artistic manufacture afforded unexpected proof of the stimulation of national culture by the prosperity that flows from natural productiveness joined to industrial excellence."

Despite occasional differences over fisheries, canals, and in national points of view, there has been a marked disposition on the part of the United States and Great Britain to establish a fraternal understanding, for mutual good. It is worth remarking, as a sign of the times. The feeling was strengthened on this side by the friendly attitude of England at the time of our war with Spain.

"The Spanish diplomats were busy misrepresenting our intentions and plans respecting Cuba, and stirring up the holders of Spanish bonds, especially in France and Germany, as well as other interests and influences friendly to Spain, and notably the Pope of Rome and the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, in the attempt to get sympathy and support. This produced a division between the great powers, which became sharper as the prospect increased that the future disposition of the Philippines would be determined by the impending war. Europe became very distinctly divided into two hostile camps; and, by the time the war became imminent, Great Britain was the only great power which sympathized with the United States, even Russia and France, our traditional friends, siding more or less openly with Spain, together with Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, each from mixed and different motives. But Great Britain's friendship, even though it may have been largely due to enlightened self-interest, and although it undoubtedly hurt our cause in Russia, France, and Germany, was invaluable to us in many ways; and the good understanding brought about between the two governments by Secretary Day and Ambassador Hay was a most important achievement. There was no suggestion of a formal alliance with or without a treaty, for that was at once unnecessary and undesirable under the circumstances, and the benevolent neutrality of Great Britain was much more useful. But the informal and unwritten understanding between the two governments, based on a temporary coincidence of interests and backed by popular good-will, was recognized by the other great powers as of the first importance, and at once prevented them from combining to support Spain, secured their co-operation in trying to make Spain yield, and compelled them to maintain neutrality in more or less good faith. No formal attempt was ever made to combine Europe in alliance against the United States, for the simple reason that it was well known that Great Britain would not join in such a movement, but, on the contrary, would take her stand beside the United States against any European combination."

The obvious grounds for sympathy with England are familiar,- community of language, kinship in race, similarity of institutions, fellowship in religion. Then there is the commercial argument, scarcely less familiar. She is by far our best customer.

The number of English and American families who are united by personal ties is far greater than is the case with any other two nations. We may jest about the marriages of American girls to the scions of prominent English houses; but the fact remains that these alliances, and many others that are not chronicled, have their effect. How deep may be the sentiments so earnestly uttered on both sides of the Atlantic of recent years, it is not important to inquire. The remarkable manifestations of regard that went out from every large American city on the death of Queen Victoria testified to a sincere appreciation of the blameless career of a good woman and sovereign, and the effect on the English people was profound. The aspirations of both nations are towards a union of sympathies and aims in the interests of the Anglo-Saxon race. Their lines lie in different directions, their national interests are not common, nor are they likely to be, so that any suggestion of a formal pact would be a mistake and possibly worse. Still, no well-wisher of his country, whichever it be, can contemplate the possibility of a closer friendship between these two great powers without wishing it godspeed.





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