1898 : War Fever Grips Detroit

March 20, 2018 all-day

At a March 20, 1898, rally in Detroit, the speaker’s platform was covered in a tent and canopy made from a giant American flag with American and Cuba Libre (Free Cuba) flags lining the sides of the auditorium. Rousing marches from local brass bands and thunderous applause encouraged fiery speeches from clergy, business leaders and politicians.

Michigan Gov. Hazen Pingree proposed the U.S. buy Cuba from the Spanish. (He suggested $500 million.) Detroit Mayor William C. Maybury took the podium to what was described by the Detroit Free Press as deafening cheers.

“My friends … this war in Cuba is war for those who dare not fight the fathers, husbands and brothers but rather burn the homes of defenseless women and children, poison the wells from which they draw water, and burn the fields that give them their nourishment. We should be the first of this country to say that kind of war has gone far enough and must end! (Prolonged cheers.) When we look at [Spanish] orders for starvation and annihilation, I say it should be stopped now and forever.”

“Those on the platform arose and in an instant every man, woman, and child was on his or her feet waving tiny banners or hats and canes in the air. The enthusiasm reached fever heat as the band ran from ‘Yankee Doodle’ to ‘Dixie’ the crowd went wild.”

Source : Bill Loomis, “‘Remember the Maine!’ Michigan men fight in the Spanish-American War”, Detroit News, January 5, 2014.

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