Queen Liliuokalani (1838-1917) WHO S/HE WAS: Queen Liliuokalani was the last monarch and only queen regnant of the Kingdom of Hawaii. She assumed the monarchy after the death of her brother, King David Kalakaua, in 1891. WHAT S/HE SAID: Hawaii for Hawaiians WHY S/HE MATTERED: Queen Lilíuokalani was the sitting monarch at the time of a coup which, ultimately, resulted in a new government. The administration of Grover Cleveland commissioned the Blount Report, and based on its findings, concluded that the queen’s overthrow was illegal, and that U.S. Minister Stevens and American military troops had acted inappropriately in support of those who carried out the overthrow. Nonetheless, Lilíuokalani was imprisoned in 1895 and ultimately abdicated her throne in return for the release of her jailed supporters.
Francisco Madero (1873-1913) WHO S/HE WAS: Mexican revolutionary and president of Mexico (1911–13), who successfully ousted the dictator Porfirio Díaz by temporarily unifying various democratic and anti-Díaz forces. He proved incapable of controlling the reactions from both conservative and revolutionaries that his moderate reforms provoked, however. WHY S/HE MATTERED: In death Madero’s name became a symbol of revolutionary unity in the continuing struggle against military despotism—now embodied in the Huerta regime. His martyrdom, if not his career, made him an inspiration to the democratic forces of the Mexican Revolution.
Alfred T. Mahan (1840-1914) WHO S/HE WAS: Alfred T. Mahan was a U.S. Navy admiral, historian, and military advisor to President McKinley. Mahon has been called “the most important American strategist of the nineteenth century. WHAT S/HE SAID: Organized force alone enables the quiet and the weak to go about their business and to sleep securely in their beds, safe from the violent without or within. WHY S/HE MATTERED: Mahan’s ideas on the importance of sea power influenced navies around the world, and helped prompt naval buildups before World War I. His concept of “sea power” was based on the idea that countries with greater naval power would have greater worldwide impact. This was most famously presented in his book, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660–1783, published in 1890.
José Martí (1853-1895) WHO S/HE WAS: José Martí was a Cuban poet, essayist and journalist who became a symbol for Cuba’s bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century. Born in Havana to Spanish parents, his short life was dedicated to the promotion of liberty, political independence for Cuba and an intellectual independence for all Spanish Americans. Putting his ideology into practice, he died in action in February 1895, during the invasion of Cuba. WHAT S/HE SAID: It is my duty to prevent, through the independence of Cuba, the U.S.A. from spreading over the West Indies and falling with added weight upon other lands of Our America. All I have done up to now and shall do hereafter is to that end…. I know the Monster, because I have lived in its lair—and my weapon is only the slingshot of David. WHY S/HE MATTERED: Through his writings and political
William McKinley (1843-1901) WHO S/HE WAS: William McKinley was the twenty-fifth President of the United States, and the last veteran of the American Civil War to be elected. By the 1880s, McKinley was a nationally known Republican leader; his signature issue was high tariffs on imports as a formula for prosperity, as typified by his McKinley Tariff of 1890. As the Republican candidate in the 1896 presidential election, he upheld the gold standard, and promoted pluralism among ethnic groups. His campaign introduced new advertising-style campaign techniques that revolutionized campaign practices and beat back the crusading of his arch-rival, William Jennings Bryan. The 1896 election is often considered a realigning election that marked the beginning of the Progressive Era. WHAT S/HE SAID: We need Hawaii just as much and a good deal more than we did California. It is Manifest Destiny. WHY S/HE MATTERED: McKinley was an ardent expansionist. Under his
Matthew Calbraith Perry (1794-1858) WHO S/HE WAS: Matthew Calbraith Perry was Commodore of the United States Navy who served in several wars, most notably the Mexican-American War and the War of 1812. WHAT S/HE SAID: Many of the large ships-of-war destined to visit Japan have not yet arrived in these seas, though they are hourly expected. WHY S/HE MATTERED: Perry played a leading role in opening Japan to the West through so-called gunboat diplomacy. He led an expedition there in 1853 and returned in 1854 with ten ships and some 1600 men to conclude the agreement.
John J. Pershing (1860-1948) WHO S/HE WAS: American military successes in World War I were largely credited to Pershing, and he became the most celebrated American leader of the war. Pershing was regarded as a mentor of American generals who led the United States Army in Europe during World War II, including George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar N. Bradley, and George S. Patton. WHAT S/HE SAID: The [African American] 92nd Division stands second to none in the record you have made since your arrival in France. . . I commend the 92nd Division for its achievements not only in the field, but on the record its men have made in their individual conduct. The American public has every reason to be proud . . . WHY S/HE MATTERED: Though Pershing’s military career was long and distinguished, it is his leadership of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I
Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) WHO S/HE WAS: Joseph Pulitzer was a wealthy newspaper publisher known for sensationalist journalism. In 1895, his publication, the _New York World_ introduced the immensely popular comic strip, “Hogan’s Alley” which featured a yellow-dressed character named the “Yellow Kid.” He created the Pulitzer Prize which is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper journalism, literature and musical composition. WHAT S/HE SAID: The power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations. WHY S/HE MATTERED: During the 1890s, the rivalry between newspaper owners Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst created a “media war” that helped propel the United States into war with Spain. Their journalism was sensationalized, and sometimes even manufactured, drawing on melodrama, romance, and hyperbole to sell millions of newspapers. This style became known as yellow journalism.
Frederick Remington (1861-1909) WHO S/HE WAS: Frederic Remington was an American painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer who specialized in depictions of the Old American West, specifically concentrating on the last quarter of the 19th century American West and images of cowboys, American Indians, and the U.S. Cavalry. WHAT S/HE SAID: Everything is quiet. There is no trouble. There will be no war. I wish to return. WHY S/HE MATTERED: In the days before widespread photography, newspaper and magazine publishers commissioned artists to help illustrate news stories. Remington was among the most notable, plying his trade for publications such as Harper’s Weekly and William Randolph Hearst’s “New York Journal.” Remington was among the many reporters sent to cover the Spanish-American war. In 1897, he arrived in Havana to find there were no battles, no cavalry charges, and no artillery barrages. With no story to cover, he wired Hearst with the message
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) Theodore D. Roosevelt was the twenty-sixth President of the United States, a Republican and at 42 years old, the youngest person ever to be President. He was a Progressive reformer who sought to move the dominant Republican Party into the Progressive camp. He distrusted wealthy businessmen and dissolved monopolistic corporations as a “trust buster”. His “Square Deal” promised a fair shake for both the average citizen and the businessman. He was the first U.S. president to call for universal health care and national health insurance. He is most famous for his personality, his energy, and his “cowboy” image and that “Teddy” bears are named after him. Theodore Roosevelt believed America should be more active in world politics and is famous for the expression: WHAT S/HE SAID: Speak softly and carry a big stick. WHY S/HE MATTERED: Before becoming President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt was the
William H. Seward (1801-1872) WHO S/HE WAS: William H. Seward was Governor of New York, United States Senator and the United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. On the night of Lincoln’s assassination, he survived an attempt on his life in the conspirators’ effort to decapitate the Union government. His contemporary Carl Schurz described Seward as “one of those spirits who sometimes will go ahead of public opinion instead of tamely following its footprints.” WHAT S/HE SAID: The circumstances of the world are so variable that an irrevocable purpose or opinion is almost synonymous with a foolish one. WHY S/HE MATTERED: As Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of State, he engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia in an act that was ridiculed at the time as “Seward’s Folly.”
Dwight Sigsbee (1845-1923) WHO S/HE WAS: Captain Charles Sigsbee was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy and served in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. He was also a pioneering oceanographer and hydrographer. Between 1875 and 1925, his innovation, the Sigsbee sounding machine, was a standard item of deep-water oceanographc equipment. WHAT S/HE SAID: An officer in an emergency should pour ice water over his personal feelings, in order to defer his nervous prostration to a proper moment. WHY S/HE MATTERED: Sigsbee was the ill-fated naval commander of the USS Maine, which exploded in Havana harbor on January 25, 1898. The explosion set off the events that led up to the start of the Spanish–American War.