Foreign Affairs Timeline : American relations with LatinAmerica from 1850 to 1920 1850 May 25 New Mexico, impatient

for statehood, formed own state government. Convention set boundaries of state, banned slavery, applied for statehood. President Zachary Taylor died. Vice-President Millard Fillmore became president on July 10th. Taylor was the 2nd and last of the Whig party to be elected to presidency. Texas and New Mexico act passed. The act established the Texas boundaries, authorized payment of $10 million for relinquishing her claims to territories beyond the new state lines, and established the boundaries of New Mexico territory. Part of Compromise of 1850. Lopez Expedition, a group unauthorized by the federal government formed for the purpose of taking Cuba by force. General Narciso Lopez was a leader of Spanish refugees agitating for the liberation of Cuba. Lopez attracted a group from New Orleans who thought that Cuba could be annexed to the U.S. Gadsden Purchase negotiated for $10 million. Southern Arizona and New Mexico, the territory acquired, was the last addition to the present U.S. boundaries. Congress passed legislation, and on June 30, 1854 the treaty was mutually ratified. Under final terms, the U.S. received the Mesila Valley, about 20 million unfertile acres of land and was able to adjust the disputed U.S. Mexican boundary. The treaty made it unnecessary for the U.S. to protect Mexico from Indian invasions. Mar 4 1854 Oct 18 Franklin Pierce, 14th president inaugurated. He was a Democrat and served one term in office. Drafting of the Ostend Manifesto, declaring that in order to preserve slavery, U.S. should obtain Cuba. William Marcy had ordered the conference to establish policy toward Cuba. William Walker landed a company of men in Nicaragua, overthrew the government, and set himself up as ruler. Walker, a lawyer, doctor, and newspaper editor had seized Lower California in 1853, and made himself by proclamation

July 9

Sept 9

1851 Aug 24



president. Walker was executed in Nicaragua in 1860 by a Honduras court when a new invasion of

Nicaragua failed. 1857 Feb 21 Mar 3 Mar 4 Foreign coins declared no longer legal tender by Act of Congress. Foreign duties lower to level of about 20% by Tariff Act, and free list enlarged. James Buchanan, 15th president, sworn to office. He was a Democrate and served one term in office. Jefferson Davis inaugurated president of the confederacy. Capital first established in Montgomery, Alabama. Later moved to Richmond, Virginia. Abraham Lincoln inaugurated president of what was no longer the United States.

1861 Feb 18

Mar 4

1862 July 22 1st draft of Emancipation Proclamation submitted to cabinet by President Lincoln. 1863 Jan 1 Lincoln issued Emancipation Proclamation. Andrew Johnson, 17th president inaugurated. Survey for canal at Darien, Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans provided for by a resolution adopted by Congress. Ulysses S. Grant inaugurated as 18th president. He was a Republican and served two terms. Carpetbag government ended in South Carolina when Federal troops evacuated Columbia. Rutherford B. Hayes inaugurated, 19th president, served one term as Republican. Commercial Treaty with Samoa signed. Pago Pago harbor reserved for a coaling station for U.S. Naval vessels.

1865 Apr 15 1867 Feb 25

1869 1877 1877

Mar 4 Jan 2 Mar 4

1878 Jan 17


James A. Garfield, 20th president, inaugurated. He was a Republican and died 6 months., 15 days in office. Vice-president Chester A. Arthur succeeded him. On July 2nd, Garfield was shot. He died September 19th, 1881. Sept 20 Chester A. Arthur inaugurated as 21st president, Republican, he served 3 years, 5 months in office.

Nov 22 1885 1889 1890 Feb 4 Mar 4 Mar 4

Pan-American movement launched. Grover Cleveland, 22nd president inaugurated. He was a Democrat. Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president inaugurated. He was a Republican and served one term. High protective tariffs issued by President McKinley in order to cut down on imports. Senate ratified the Samoan treaty with Germany and Great Britain. This treaty placed Samoan Islands under the joint control of the three powers, and provided the U.S. with a fueling station for it's Pacific fleet. Resolution of Pan-American Conference held in Washington between Oct. 2nd, 1889, and April 21st, 1890, established the Pan-American Union. Boll Weevil, of Mexican or Central American origin, first seen in Texas; pest spread widely and has caused as much as $200,000,000 damage a year to U.S. cotton crops.

Apr 14



Mar 4

Grover Cleveland, 24th president, inaugurated for second time. He was a Democrate and served one term. Revolt against Spanish rule broke out in Cuba. On June 12 President Cleveland called on the U.S. citizens to avoid giving aid to insurgents. Part of the cause of the rebellion was the panic of 1893 which caused severe economic depression in the Cuban sugar industry.

1895 Feb 24

Repressive measures taken by the Spanish aroused American sympathy, which was inflamed to a war pitch by the "yellow journalism" of William Randolph Hearst's New Your Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. Dec 21 1897 Mar 4 Congress authorized President Cleveland to appoint Venezuelan Boundary Commission. William McKinley, 25th president inaugurated. He was a Republican and died by assassination after serving 6 months of his 2nd term. Congress voted $50,000 for relief of Americans in Cuba. Time of Cuban rebellion. U.S. battleship Maine arrived at Havana on friendly visit. The real purpose of the Maine

May 24 1898 Jan 25

was to protect American life and property. Feb 15 American battleship Maine blown up in Havana harbor; 260 seamen lost. U.S. sympathies were already strong for Cuba in the revolt against Spanish tyranny; the Maine disaster made U.S. intervention inevitable, though the cause of the sinking was never established. President McKinley recalled U.S. consuls in Cuba. Congress adopted resolutions declaring Cuba independent and directing the president to use forces to put an end to Spanish authority in Cuba. U.S. instituted a blockade of all Cuban ports. 1st prize of the Spanish-American War taken by gunboat Nashville, which captured the Spanish ship, Buena Ventura. Apr 24 Spain recognized state of war. U.S. declared that state of war existed since April 21st when Spain broke diplomatic relations with U.S. About 600 marines landed at Guantanamo, Cuba,

Apr 5 Apr 19

Apr 22

June 11

and made contact with the enemy the next day. June 12 (thru 14th) 17,000 Americans embarked under General Shafter at Key West, Florida to attempt an invasion of Santiago. Battle at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where the U.S. marines repulsed a Spanish force. Pacific island of Guam was taken over. No ammunition was on the island, and they had not yet received word of war. June 22 General Shafer's invasion forces landed at Daiquiri, 15 miles from Santiago. American casualties were 1 killed, 4 wounded. (thru begining of August) Many battles occured leaving many cities and towns surrendering to U.S. troops. Included in these: Ponce, Puerto Rico; Guanica, Puerto Rico; Cuban harbor of Nipe, and Coamo, Puerto Rico Spanish government formally accepted peace terms.

June 15

July 1

Aug 9

Dec 10

Treaty ending Spanish-American War signed in Paris. U.S. acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, and Spain relinquished claim to Cuba. Treaty was ratified by congress Jan. 9, 1899. U.S. paid Spain $20 million for the Philippines. Platt Amendment adopted by Congress. Amendment established a quasi-protectorate over Cuba. It was abrogated May 29, 1934. Rebellion in the Philippines ended by proclamation. President McKinley shot during public reception at Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, N.Y. He died on September 14th, and Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as 26th president serving McKinleys remaining term of 3 years, 5 months and was elected another term in 1904.


Mar 2

Apr 19 Sept 6

1902 May 20

U.S. flag lowered from government buildings in Cuba and replaced with flag of new Cuban government. Cuban independence achived 4 years after end of Spanish-American war. Isthmian Canal Act passed by Congress. It authorized the financing and building of the canal across the Isthmian of Panama. Negotiated with Columbia to authorize canal through Nicargua. Philippine Government Act passed by Congress. It declared the Philippine Islands an unorganized territory. Hay-Herran Treaty (Panama Canal) signed with Columbia. The U.S. Senate ratified it on March 17th, but on August 12th, the Columbian state rejected it. President Roosevelt ordered warships to Panama to maintain "free and uninterrupted transit " across isthmus. This insured success of revolution, which was engineered in part by officers of the Panama Company and in part by native groups, all with tacit approval of Roosevelt's administration. Separatist movement in Panama was directed against Colombia. Quickest recognition ever offered a foreign county by U.S. came when Republic of Panama was recognized 3 days after it was proclaimed. Roosevelt's opponents openly hinted that he was involved in the Panamanian revolution in order

June 28

July 1

1903 Jan 22

Nov 2

Nov 3

to speed negotiations for the Panama Canal. Nov 18 Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty negotiated. It gave U.S. complete control over a 10-mile strip of land in Panama in return for $10 million in gold plus yearly payments of $250,000 Citizens of Puerto Rico are not aliens, ruled the U.S. Supreme Court. Although they are not classified as citizens of the U.S., they can not be denied or refused admission to the continental limits of the U.S.


Jan 4

Feb 29

Panama Canal Commission appointed by President Roosevelt. The 7-man board was in charge of the construction of the waterway. Protocol signed with Santo Domingo which gave the U.S. complete charge of customs finances with the purpose of satifying European creditors of Santo Domingo. This was an example of Roosevelt's corollary to Monroe Doctrine in action. Tomas Estrada Palma, 1st president of Cuba, requested U.S intervention to quell a revolt arising from election disputes. Order was finaly restored after troops took over Cuban government for 13 days in October. Platt Amendment applied in Cuba when the U.S. assumed military control. 1st time a U.S. president left the country while in office occurred when President Roosevelt sailed on battleship Louisiana to visit Isthmus of Panama and inspect the Canal. He returned on Nov. 26, 1906. Treaty with Santo Domingo signed. U.S. Marines landed in Honduras to protect life and property from revolutionary hazards. William H. Taft, 27th president inaugurated. was a Republican and served one term. U.S. Warships and troops ordered to Nicaragua after it was reported that 500 revolutionists, with 2 Americans among them, were executed by dictator Zelaya. 20,000 U.S. troops were ordered to the Mexican boarder. Conditions in Mexico were still He

1905 Jan 21

1906 Aug 23

Sept 29 Nov 9


Feb 8 Mar 21


Mar 4 Nov 18


Mar 7

Apr 14

chaotic; fighting sometimes occured so close to the border that crowds of U.S. citizens gathered to watch. Troops recalled June 24th. President Taft sent a message to the Mexican

Government demanding that fighting cease along the American border. June 5 1912 Oct 14 U.S. Marines landed in Cuba to protect American intrests. President Roosevelt shot from a distance of 6 ft while in New York making a speech. He insisted on delivering his speech before being taken to the hospital. Woodrow Wilson, 28th president inaugurated. was a Democrat and served 2 terms. President Wilson announced his policy on "watchful waiting" in respect to Mexico. Permanent Civil government established in the Panama Canal Zone by an executive order. Small party of U.S. Marines, landing at Tampico, Mexico, to obtain supplies were arrested and detained for one and a half hours by the Mexican authorities. A breach of diplomatic relations with Mexico occured because of an apology without a special salute to the American flag. President Wilson ordered American fleet to Tampico Bay, Mexico, as result of incident involving arrest of U.S. troops. U.S. fleet seized the custom house at Vera Cruz, Mexico, and Marines occupied the city. U.S. losses: 4 dead; 20 wounded. Mexico severed diplomatic relations with U.S. So-called "ABC" countries - Argentina, Brazil, and Chile - offered to arbitrate U.S.-Mexico dispute. President Wilson quickly accepted. General Huerta was forced to resign presidency of Mexico on July 15th. Panama Canal opened to barge service. (thru August 6th) Outbreak of World War I in Europe occured. He


Mar 4 Aug 27

1914 Jan 27 Apr 9

Apr 11

Apr 14

Apr 21

Apr 22 Apr 25

May 18 July 28

Aug 15 Nov 23 1915 May 24 Aug 5

Panama Canal formally opened. U.S. forces left Vera Cruz. Pan-American Finacial Conference opened at Washing D.C. Latin-American Conference to debate means of ending unrest in Mexico opened at Washington D.C.; attended by Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Guatemala, Uruguay, and U.S. Haiti becomes U.S. protectorate under terms of treaty signed with that country. U.S. senate approved February 28, 1916. U.S. government recognized General Venustiano Carranza as President of Mexico. U.S. Marines landed in Santo Domingo to settle internal violence. Occupation continued untill 1924. President Wilson ordered militia of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to be mobilized for duty on the Mexican border. 4500 regular army troops were also sent to supplement the militia. War department issued an order for the demobilization of U.S troops stationed along the Mexican boarder.

Sept 16

Oct 19 1916 May 1

May 9

1917 Feb 19

Bibliography: American Foreign Policy - edited by Robert A. Divine THE WORLD PUBLISHING COMPANY, N.Y. (c)1960 A History of American Foreign Policy - Alexander Deconde CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS, N.Y. (c)1963 An Interpretive History of American Foreign Relations - Cole THE DORSEY PRESS, Homewood, Ill. (c)1968 The Latin American Policy of the United States: An Historical Interpretation - Samual Flagg Bemis HARCOURT, BRACE & Co., N.Y. (c)1943 History of A Free People - Bragdon, McCutchen, Cole MACMILLAN PUBLISHING Co., Inc., N.Y. (c)1973 Class notes were also used as a resource.