Platt Amendment

Platt Amendment
   Passed by the U.S. Congress without serious opposition, the Platt Amendment defined the postoccupation political relationship between the United States and the new Cuban Republic. The legislation placed limitations on Cuban sovereignty by barring the new Cuban government from entering into any agreement with a foreign power that infringed on the independence of Cuba or granted the right to colonies or military bases in Cuba. It also prohibited the government from accumulating a debt larger than the ordinary revenues of the island could pay. Article Three, the clause most objectionable to the Cubans, granted the United States the right to “intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty, and for discharging the obligations . . . imposed by the Treaty of Paris on the United States. . . .” The Platt Amendment obligated the Cuban Republic to ratify the actions of the U.S. military government, to continue the sanitation measures introduced during the occupation, and to sell or lease to the United States land for coaling or naval stations.
   The United States called for the Cubans to embody the same terms in a formal treaty with the United States and to incorporate them into the Cuban Constitution. Initially the Cuban Constitutional Convention and the Cuban populace rejected and denounced the Platt Amendment. Yet pressure from the United States and the recognition that the occupation would not end without acceptance of the Platt Amendment eventually forced the Cubans to accept the measure. Despite assurances to the contrary, the Platt Amendment became a pretext for American meddling in internal Cuban affairs. It laid the foundation for future American Caribbean policy and the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. The United States abrogated the Platt Amendment in 1934 as part of the good neighbor policy.
   See also <>; <>.
    Healy, David. The United States in Cuba, 1898–1902: Generals, Politicians, and the Search for Policy . Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1963;
    Marks, Frederick W. Velvet on Iron: The Diplomacy of Theodore Roosevelt . Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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