El libro publicado en 1898 titulado “Photographic history of the Spanish-American War: a pictorial and descriptive record of events on land and sea with portraits and biographies of leaders on both sides” contiene varias fotografías de Puerto Rico que reproducimos aquí.
Este libro de 316 páginas está disponible para descargar en formato digital en el portal de la Universidad de Harvard.
La introducción del libro nos muestra la forma de pensar de sus autores sobre la Guerra Hispanoamericana de 1898, “one of the most notable international conflicts the world has ever seen”, y sugiere cual era el pensar de los estadounidenses sobre esta guerra:
THE Spanish-American War of 1898, even though it lasted for less than four months. must still be regarded as one of the most notable international conflicts the world has ever seen.
To begin with, it was a noble and righteous struggle, entered upon mainly through motives of humanity; for, while injury to trade may have afforded sufficient provocation, it must be remembered that it was the startling revelation of Spanish cruelty in Cuba which finally aroused the people, and through them the Congress of the United States, to declare for armed intervention.
There have been wars of conquest, of religion, of emancipation ; wars to establish royal succession and to break down the threatening power of some aggressive nation or alliance of nations: yet. never before, so far as historic records, has mankind been permitted to witness the gratifying spectacle of a great nation, impelled by humanitarian motives alone. expending millions or money, levying armies, augmenting and equipping an already powerful navy, and incurring all the tremendous risks and penalties of modern warfare, in order to discipline another great nation for her uncivilized and inhuman treatment of her own colonial flesh and blood. So much young America did in order to discipline old Spain; and even if the struggle had resulted in the defeat of our arms, every right-minded Christian citizen, of this and every other country, would still have said “Well done!”
Another feature, and one which argues well and strongly for the integrity and steadfastness of the Republic, was the very clear demonstration of the political fact that the plain people, when once they get at the truth of a national situation, go straight to the mark with a disregard of politics and diplomacy which savors of the highest wisdom and shows a courage little short of the sublime. Men past the prime of life, who heard the shot at Sumter and the immortal words of the generous Grant at Appomatox: who saw the South. sullen at first, finally stand forth in splendid regeneration : men who witnessed, during the last quarter of a century. the fierce rivalry of party and who. just prior to the beginning of the struggle with Spain, heard on every side hot recriminations exchanged between the peace party and the war party. were thrilled with patriotic pride to see the nation -the whole nation- North and South, the capitalist and the laborer, rally as one man around the President to hold up his hands and support him by word and deed, even with their very lives, in his righteous position.
War, even when looked upon with a patriotic eye, is deplorable to contemplate: yet, despite the wholly commendable efforts of the nations of Christendom in the direction of universal peace, the universal struggle still goes on. ‘Tis many a day since some part or another of the smiling face of earth has not been darkened by the clouds of battle. Yesterday it was beneath the African equator: last year in the storied passes of Macedon: a little before, in the far Orient. That “war is a necessity” seems to be as much a truism as when Prussian Frederick, through seven memorable years, resisted with unequalled skill and dauntless spirit the combined attacks of continental Europe. But even that brilliant struggle was for self-preservation alone, and not to strike the shackles from another’s wrists in obedience to the all but divine command that “All men should be free.” We fought in Cuba, and in the distant Philippines, to enforce the principles of civilized warfare and lift the galling yoke of despotic Spain from the neck of a suffering people: and if to accomplish this wholly beneficent and humane purpose it had taken one year or five, and had cost fifty or five hundred millions, the war so bravely begun by us in the year of grace, Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-eight, would not have been fought in vain.
The record of a struggle so memorable is well worth preservation. It is but another link, perhaps the brightest, in the chain of glorious wars which have in many respects placed us in the forefront of the nations of the earth, and to patriotic Americans of every age and sex nothing can be more interesting, instructive, and inspiring than the study of these successive steps in our national progress. The means afforded for a survey of the Spanish-American War are, we believe, unequalled. This work presents by word and picture a moving panorama of every important event, and of such minor incidents of military life on land and sea, as will tend to impress the mind with war as it really is. This is alone rendered possible by the unerring record of the camera, which catches and preserves for all time those transitory scenes which “flit ere you can point their place.” How well this work has been accomplished will more clearly appear from an inspection of these pages than from any description which could possibly be written. The labor of securing the views from the four quarters of the earth involved the services of a special corps of trained artists in both hemispheres, and the Government archives at Washington also contributed largely to the result. The literary portions of the work have been carefully verified from official records as to facts and figures. These photographs, with their accompanying descriptions, therefore constitute a moving panorama of the conflict as though, with ear to telephone, one watched the struggle from some distant height: and the record thus preserved of a truly glorious war will prove. to both participants and onlookers and those who come after them. a most fitting, beautiful, and enduring memento for personal possession and study.