The Grey Man's Burden
The year of 1898 saw some of the swiftest victories ever won by Confederate arms. The CSN's "Grand Battle Fleet" soundly defeated the Spanish navy twice in the Florida straits and then once more off Hispanola. On land, the "Army of Cuba" under Field Marshal Beauregard and General Joseph Wheeler got aid and inteligence from the Cuban revolutionaries of Jose Marti, leading to the series of decisive battles around Santiago de Cuba. This included the famous battle of San Juan hill in which future president Woodrow Wilson lead the final and victorious charge up to capture the machine gun positions at its summit. The Spaniards in Cuba were whipped and they knew it, but that was not to be all. Puerto Rico fell to the gray-clad men and then came the news of the invasion of the Philippines after Admiral Raphael Semmes had rounded South America and defeated the Spanish fleet guarding Manila Bay. With this news all hope was lost and the Spanish ran to the negociation table. In the Christmas Day Treay of 1898, all the conquered lands, Spain's last jewels of empire, were all given to the Confederacy. There were fireworks in Richmond that cold, December night and the following day was declared a day of thanksgiving by President Fitzhugh Lee.
Admiral Semmes on the deck of his old flagship, CSS Alabama
Wilson - The Confederacy's one time warrior hero and adroit politician
Lee - Hero from the War of Independence, nephew of "the Marshal", and two term President (a rarity in Confederate history) 1897-1901, 1902-died April 28, 1905 in office
Yet, with the end of the war, the "Grey Man's Burden" didn't get any lighter. Soon, Filipinos and Cubans realized they had just substituted one overlord for another. This became all the more clear with the swift occupation of Hawaii in March of 1899, sweeping aside the minimal resistance of the native army and navy (although use of those term exaggerates their real strenght). So the Filipinos and Cubans went to arms again and caused the Lee Administration to have many migrains. This also served as a rallying cry for the growing Socialist party which had been slowly nurtured by L.T. Coldwell since the 1860's. Now he and his associates were touring the nation with the message, "Throw the bums and robbers out of Richmond!" There policy was simple and spoke to the needs of the common man as no party had done before: end needless bloodshed in imperialist war, care for the needy and jobless at home, fund industrial growth again as in the 1870's, 12 or 14 hour work days, etc. The message was even more clear when the Socialist won 1/4 of the seats in the House and even a seat in the Senate.* These were by no means carpetbaggers, but men mostly from the Deep South were these issues struck home the most despite the thriving conditions of the big cities like Atlanta and Birmingham.
Lucius T. Coldwell and his companions barnstormed communities across the South in the summer of 1899, spreading their message to all who could listen.
Soon, the Lee administration, being so hard pressed at home and abroad, declared that they had planned all along to give the Filipinos independence as long as they allowed the CSN permenent use of their ports and as along as the new government followed a similar foriegn policy as Richmond. This was quickly agreed to by the weary Filipine revolutionaries and seen as a victory when January 1, 1900 came with them being the leaders of a "free" nation. President Lee did not see it as a loss but, "throwing over useless cargo so that the ship of state may move freely again." That left the Cuba question still on the table. Despite the chiding of the Socialists, how could the South give up that isle which so many had dreamed of possessing for so long. President Lee agreed and had the War department raise five new division to garrison the unrulely island in add to the five already there from the war. Jose Marti had hope that Cuba would soon get the same deal as the Philippines but instead got crushing of the revolution in short order. The signal was clear, the men in gray were here to stay.
Marti - twice defeated revolutionary who was shot in 1903 by the Confederate organized Cuban police
*It was a man named Robert Albert Gore of Tennesee that won that seat in the Senate.