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#10: A Three-Month War Gets Five Years...

In Dover, New Hampshire, and across the United States, stand more than 50 statues of "The Hiker." He represents the Spanish-American War much as "the doughboy" represents World War I. Almost every monument also includes this Maltese Cross in a circle, the symbol of the war. But why do these monuments say "Spanish-American War Veterans, 1898-1902," when the Spanish-American War lasted only about three months? The answer is, because these monuments are not really about the Spanish-American War, at least not primarily. They commemorate our war against the Philippines, which began in 1899, when we attacked our ally the Filipinos in the suburbs of Manila. Teddy Roosevelt declared that war over on July 4, 1902, although army historians note that guerilla warfare dragged on for several more years. The Dover hiker even claims we fought "to succor the weak and oppressed against foreign tyranny and to give Cuba and the Philippines a place among the free peoples of the earth." Actually, the Spanish-American War did begin with some anti-imperialist sentiment, but in the Philippine-American War we were the "foreign tyranny." That's why our monuments to it bear the name of a much nicer war.

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