“Do we need Cuba?”

Editorial, New York Evening Post, March 21, 1889

The Manufacturer of Philadelphia looks upon the scheme [to annex Cuba] as ill considered, dangerous, and inadmissible. Its arguments are much the same as we should have employed… It would be impossible for anyone to state them more strongly. The people of Cuba, it says: are divided into three classes, Spaniards, native Cubans of Spanish descent, and negroes. The men of Spanish birth are probably less fitted than men of any other white race to become American citizens. They have ruled Cuba for centuries. They rule it now upon almost precisely the same methods that they have always employed, methods which combine bigotry with tyranny, and silly pride with fathomless corruption.

The less we have of them the better. The native Cubans are not much more desirable. To the faults of the men of the parent race they add effeminacy and a distaste for exertion which amounts really to disease. They are helpless, idle, of defective morals, and unfitted by nature and experience for discharging the obligations of citizenship in a great and free republic.

Their lack of manly force and of self-respect is demonstrated by the supineness with which they have so long submitted to Spanish oppression, and even if their attempts at rebellion have been so pitifully ineffective that they have risen little above the dignity of farce. To clothe such men with the responsibilities of directing this government, and to give them the same measure of power that is wielded by the freemen of our Northern States would be to summon them to the performance functions for which they have not the smallest capacity.

All of this we emphatically endorse, and it should be added that if we now have a Southern question which disturbs us more or less, we should have it in a more aggravated form if Cuba were added to the Union with near a million blacks, much inferior to our own in point of civilization, who must, of course, be armed with the ballot and put on the same level politically as their former masters.