De Lôme Letter (1898)

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Citation: Page from New York Journal containing the "Facsimile of Letter Written by the Spanish Minister," February 9, 1898; Notes from the Spanish Legation in the U. S to the Department of State, 1790-1906; Record Group 59; National Archives.
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This letter, written by the Spanish Ambassador to the United States, Enrique Dupuy de Lôme, criticized American President William McKinley by calling him weak and concerned only with gaining the favor of the crowd. Publication of the letter helped generate public support for a war with Spain over the issue of independence for the Spanish colony of Cuba.

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The de Lôme letter, a note written by Señor Don Enrigue Dupuy de Lôme, the Spanish Ambassador to the United States, to Don José Canelejas, the Foreign Minister of Spain, reveals de Lôme’s opinion about the Spanish involvement in Cuba and President McKinley’s diplomacy. Cuban revolutionaries intercepted the letter from the mail and released it to the Hearst press, which published it on February 9, 1898, in the New York Journal. De Lôme’s unflattering remarks about McKinley helped fuel this country’s aggressive, warlike foreign policy. Two months later, on April 11, 1898, McKinley delivered a war message to Congress asking for “forcible intervention” by the United States to establish peace in Cuba.

(Information excerpted from The Progressive Years: 1898-1917, Teachers Guide [Washington, DC: The National Archives and Records Administration and ABC-CLIO, 2001] pp. 14-15.)

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