The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 256
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
To arms, to arms, ye freemen
And redress our country's wrongs!
Let no faint heart dissuade you-
Up! Dissever Cuba's thongs!
For three long years her pleading
Has wafted o'er the sea
While her sons lie starving, bleeding
On the shrine of liberty!2
Finally, under growing popular pressure, on April 11 President
William McKinley asked the Congress to allow him to use American mil-
itary force to help Cubans liberate their island from Spanish colonial
rule. Congress responded by demanding that Spain give Cuba its inde-
pendence and immediately evacuate all Spanish military personnel sta-
tioned there. If these events were not forthcoming, the resolution con-
tinued, McKinley was to use American military force to free the island
colony. The president signed the bill on April 20, and ordered the U.S.
Navy to blockade the major Cuban ports. Spanish authorities, quite un-
derstandably, viewed this as an act of war and issued a formal declaration
of war on April 23. Not to be outdone, the American Congress respond-
ed with another resolution stating that war had existed since the 21 st.
Top military planners had calculated that the force necessary to
achieve victory in Cuba could be obtained by increasing the size of the
regular army. If any volunteers were necessary at all, it would be to gar-
rison coastal forts. They had not figured on the powerful National
Guard lobby. Almost every state had at least some form of militia or-
ganization, or national guard, made up of men who, at least theoreti-
cally, had already learned the rudiments of military life and training.
And the members of these organizations wanted a chance to earn mar-
tial glory. Many of these organizations, like the Houston Light Guard,
were made up of socially prominent men with considerable influence.
These men had undoubtedly noticed that those who had fought in the
Civil War often used their veteran status as springboards to political of-
fice, business success, and social acceptance. So if there was going to be
another war, they certainly wanted to take part in it. As a concession to
considerable political pressure, the final plan for mobilization called for
a modest increase in the regular army and the enlistment of 125,000
Secretary of War Russell Alger began telegraphing the country's state
governors on April 23, with requests for troops. He assigned each state a
quota based upon its population, and the quota for the Lone Star State
' Galveston Darly News, Feb. 17, 27, 1898; Leffler, "The Paradox of Patriotism," 24 (quotation).
SO'Toole, The Spanish War, 169-173; Trask, The War With Spazn, 57
'Trask, The War With Spain, 151-152.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/308/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.