After the War of 1898 was over, Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge said: "The War of the United States with Spain was very brief. Its results were many, startling and of worldwide meaning."
Those results were considered, 100 years later, during two events at the Library that offered up a number of new perspectives on both imperialism and the Spanish-American War.
"Challenges to Peace in the Americas, 1898-1998: Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future" was arranged by the Hispanic Division and several area colleges and universities in observance of Hispanic Heritage Month. It was held Oct. 2.
On Nov. 13, a panel discussion in the Pickford Theater, "From Gun Boats to Fun Boats: A Century of Imperialism," was moderated by Barbara Tenenbaum of the Library's Hispanic Division. It featured Marisabel Bras of the Department of Defense, who discussed the Philippines; José M. Hernández, a professor emeritus at Georgetown University, who discussed the lack of fervor in Fidel Castro's revolution; former Ambassador of Spain to the United States Jaime Ojeda, who spoke about English and Spanish colonization of America; and David Trask, author of The War of 1898, who spoke on imperialism.
An Oct. 2 conference traced the impact of the political and cultural relations between the United States and Latin America since the Spanish-American War. Speakers debated the impact of the War of 1898 in several panels. The morning sessions, held in the Pickford Theater, focused on history. The afternoon panels, held in the Mumford Room, focused on economics and international relations.
The audience of about 75 graduate students, diplomats, economists, researchers, educators and interested congressional and library staffers was welcomed by Georgette Dorn, chief of the Library's Hispanic Division.
"The Library of Congress is certainly a fitting place to hold discussions about the world of 1898. The Library's collections about the War of 1898 consist of more than 2,000 books, many of these diaries and firsthand accounts by North Americans, Spaniards, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Filipinos. We also have a vast collection of newspapers, not only from the United States, but from the other countries that were touched by the war. In addition, there are extensive collections of books and periodicals about the events leading up to and the aftermath of 1898."
Ms. Dorn thanked Saúl Sosnowski and Virginia Bouvier of the University of Maryland at College Park for organizing the symposium and for assembling the cooperation of area universities and the Embassy of Spain. Arrangements for the Library were made by Ms. Tenenbaum.
The first panel, "Historical Underpinnings of U.S. Intervention," was moderated by Ambassador Antonio Oyarzábal of the Embassy of Spain, who said his countrymen still think that the Feb. 15, 1898, sinking of the USS Maine was due to an accidental explosion that the press then turned into an incendiary act of war. "For us it ended 400 years of Spanish discovery in America. Spain was no longer an American power; it was not even a world power. We went through the bitter process of looking for new roots and a new identity," he said.
Participants and their papers were: Lester Langley of the University of Athens in Georgia, "The Two Americas"; Sylvia Hilton of the Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain, "The American Janus: Spanish Views on the Monroe Doctrine and U.S. Intervention in the Colonial Crisis of 1895-1898"; and Julio Ramos of the University of California at Berkeley, "Hemispheric Domains: 1898 and the Origins of Latin-Americanism."
The second panel, "Legacies of Intervention," was moderated by Ms. Tenenbaum. Participants were: Lars Schoultz of the University of Carolina, Chapel Hill, "Interventions in the 20th Century;" Francisco Scarano of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, "The Impact of U.S. Intervention in Puerto Rico"; and Louis Pérez Jr. of the University of North Carolina, "Legacies of Intervention: The Case of Cuba."
The third panel, "Intervention and Conflict Resolution in an Age of Globalization," was moderated by Nina Serafino of the Congressional Research Service. Participants were: Margaret E. Crahan of Hunter College, "The Evolution of International Human Rights Standards and Organizations: Their Impact on Conflict Resolution"; Michael Shifter of Inter-American Dialogue, "Successes and Limitations in 50 Years of the Organization of American States"; and Douglas Farah of The Washington Post, "Competing Visions: U.S. Military Engagement in Latin America."
The final panel, "Beyond the U.S.- Latin American Paradigm," was moderated by Mr. Sosnowski. Participants were: Edward Dosman of the Center for International and Security Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada, "Canada and Hemispheric Governance: Security Challenges in the 21st Century"; and John Cavanagh of the Institute for Policy Studies, "Latin America and the Global Economic Crisis."
Following the panels, a roundtable, "Challenges to Long-Term Peace in the Americas: Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future" was moderated by Ms. Bouvier.
In February 1998 the Library inaugurated a related Web site, "The World of 1898," which offers detailed chronologies of "en torno a 1898" for Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and the United States. It also features illustrations and photographs of the major figures of the era. Emphasis was placed on the "literary response to the Spanish American War" by featuring photographs of figures such as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and others. The site includes images of maps, ships and landscapes of the period. There are also links to other sites of Library's Web site, such as the 150 filmstrips of the war itself, and to relevant manuscript collections, such as the papers of Gen. Leonard Wood, Clara Barton and others.