Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Roosevelt's Rough Riders: Fearless Cavalry of the Spanish-American War

Roosevelt's Rough Riders: Fearless Cavalry of the Spanish-American War
You can count this topic among things I did not know much about prior to reading this book.  Both the Spanish-American War and the Rough Riders.  I had heard of both and I'm sure read of both in a Social Studies textbook once upon a time but those details had not made permanent residence in my brain.  Given hindsight on many wars in our country's history, the following should come as little surprise.  America got involved to protect its interests, namely sugar.  Congress, that is the US Congress had enacted a tariff (tax) that would apply to products imported into the United States.  Since Cuba was part of the Spanish empire, that tax (that we enacted) applied to sugar imported from Cuba.  Cuba wanted its freedom from Spain.  We wanted free sugar.  We helped Cuba with the end game plan of buying Cuba so we wouldn't have to pay tax on sugar.  Much like our entry into WWII following the attack at Pearl Harbor, it still was not until an explosion on a US Navy Ship protecting American "interests" in the Havana Harbor that the American people were interested in getting involved in the war.  In 1976, it was determined that the explosion was probably really a result of a kitchen fire on board and not the underwater mine planted by the Spanish that it was overtly blamed on at the time in 1898.  That's all on the first three pages.  

And then enters Theodore Roosevelt.  Roosevelt's resume was quite diverse.  He grew up in NY, went to Harvard, ranched in the Dakota Badlands, worked as a frontier sherriff, served as the US Civil Service Commissioner, NYC Police Commissioner, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy before becoming a volunteer soldier at the age of 40.

From there, the actual battles of the Spanish-American War involving the Rough Riders and Buffalo Soldiers play out across the pages.  A point of note that stuck out to me was of the Spanish troops' use of smokeless gunpowder to be able to disguise their position when attacking.

Likewise, the recovery period to quarantine soldiers to screen out illness like Yellow Fever and Malaria at Camp Wikoff on Long Island seemed smart.  Though Roosevelt had neither, he stayed with his regiment.  The success of the Spanish-American War won Cuba its independence, and as part of the treaty, the United States also acquired Guam and Puerto Rico along with the option to purchase the Phillipines.  Bring on the sugar!

Capstone Kids
Fact Hound Sites
Theodore Roosevelt: Life Before the Presidency
The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War
The Maine Explodes

Roosevelt's Rough Riders: Fearless Cavalry of the Spanish-American War
Author: Brynn Baker
ISBN: 978-1-4914-4840-3
Published: 2016 by Capstone Press

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