The Mirror of War: American Society and the Spanish-American War

TitleThe Mirror of War: American Society and the Spanish-American War
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1974
AuthorsLinderman, Gerald F.
Number of Pages227
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
CityAnn Arbor

This volume, comprised of six interconnected essays, argues that the outbreak of the Cuban crisis made possible the temporary reconstitution of pre-1896 social unity in the United States by reuniting the traditional governing group with “the people” around an unambiguous moral issue and against the alleged materialism and lack of humanity of “big business.” Focusing on the response of President William McKinley, Senator Redfield Proctor, the small town community, the individual soldier, and the “yellow press” to the crisis, the author stresses the importance of character, self-reliance, and a limited view of government as sources of social cohesion in late nineteenth-century America. He concludes that the country’s reaction to the war epitomized the social consensus and momentarily obscured the problems generated by rapid industrialization, but he also points out that the Spanish-American War stimulated the forces that helped to erode the old pattern of American life.

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