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Spain are closed to her products except upon terms to which the commerce of all nations is subjected. The Island of Cuba, which used to buy her cattle and tobacco without customs duties, now imposes the same duties upon these products as from any other country entering her ports. She has, therefore, lost her free intercourse with Spain and Cuba, without any compensating benefits in this market. Her coffee was little known and not in use by our people, and therefore there was no demand here for this, one of her chief products. The markets of the United States should be opened up to her products. Our plain duty is to abolish all customs tariffs between the United States and Porto Rico and give her products free access to our markets."
The people of the United States generally acquiesced in the judgment of the Administration. Congress, however, had different ideas, a majority of the President's party insisting upon the imposition of duties. For a time there was great excitement, and one distinguished Republican Senator exclaimed, in an agony of spirit, “a few weeks ago we were united and invincible; now we are divided and in danger of defeat!” The cry was raised that the duties were to be levied in the interests of the trusts. President McKinley could have secured immediate free trade with Porto Rico by pushing the measure
through Congress with the aid of Democratic votes. But he decided, instead, to change his policy. To an intimate friend, he explained: “We need party harmony on the greater and more important question of the Philippines. I know I shall be charged with weakness, but I prefer to endure any such charges rather than face the future with a disunited party.” In his quiet way the President sent for Mr. Dingley and other members of the House Ways and Means Committee, and privately handed them the draft of a compromise. The bill, based
suggestion, in its final form provided a temporary duty of fifteen per cent of the Dingley rates, all revenues to be used exclusively for the benefit of Porto Rico, and to cease as soon as the new local government to be established by the operation of the act should provide and put into operation a system of local taxation to meet the necessities of the Government of Porto Rico. In any event the tariff was to cease on the ist of March, 1902. The bill, which became known as the “Foraker Act," was duly passed, and was approved by the President on April 12, 1900. Civil government was established on May 1, with Charles H. Allen, of Massachusetts, as governor. The new legislative assembly was elected in November and convened on December 3. Free-trade with the United States was proclaimed on the 25th of July, 1901, and again the President's will triumphed, with only a brief delay, while the solidarity of the party was maintained.
Much was said, about this time, on the question, “Does the Constitution follow the flag?" It was claimed that free trade between the States would be automatically extended to annexed territory by the operation of the Constitution. Many lawsuits of importance hinged upon this question, and were taken to the Supreme Court of the United States for decision. That tribunal, on May 27, 1901, sustained the position of the Administration and of Congress as to the Constitutionality of the so-called “Foraker Act” of April 12. The opinion of the majority of the court made the important distinction, that “Porto Rico is a territory appurtenant and belonging to the United States, but not a part of the United States within the revenue clause of the Constitution.".
HE summer of 1900 brought a new train of
anxieties to the Administration, the burden of which fell with unusual heaviness upon the shoulders of the President because of the serious illness, during the period of greatest strain, of the efficient Secretary of State, John Hay. Disturbances arose in China which required, first, swift action to protect the lives and property of foreign residents and, later, skillful diplomacy to preserve the integrity of China herself. It afforded a new opportunity to show to the world a “magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence."1 McKinley pursued a policy marked by moderation and self-restraint in sharp contrast to the rapacity exhibited by some of the European nations. The close of the Spanish War found the United States stronger in the family of nations than ever before. The former coolness of Great Britain had been changed to a warm friendship. The Treaty of Paris had been signed with the tacit agreement of all Europe to let the United States and Spain settle
1 See ante, p. 192.
their own quarrel. The firmness of President McKinley in insisting upon control of the Philippines and Cuba, pending permanent settlement of their ultimate destiny, had won for him the respect of all the nations. The growing importance of the Far-Western States, the recently discovered riches of Alaska, the prospective opening of a waterway through the Isthmus of Panama, the acquisition of Hawaii and the Philippines, and the opportunity for enormous extensions of commercial enterprise in the Pacific, had brought the United States nearer to the coasts of Asia than the original colonies were to the mother country. As with the Philippines, a problem not of our seeking was thrust upon us. Whether we liked it or not, the country had outgrown the “period of exclusiveness," and although the injunction of Washington, to avoid entangling alliances or interferences in the political affairs of foreign states, was still scrupulously observed, a certain responsibility to stand shoulder to shoulder with the more enlightened nations for the development of the world had been assumed and could no more be avoided than a boy of twenty-one can escape the responsibility of manhood.
Following the close of the war between China and Japan in 1894-95, the nations of Europe suddenly developed an appetite for some of the choice morsels