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INVESTIGATE:

Why did the United States invade Cuba? (Read each source below, then answer the questions in the notebook. Ask your teacher for an inquiry organizer worksheet to help you think about the ways that the sources support and contradict each other.)

SOURCES:

READ: Reconcentration Camps

Head Note: By the late 1800ís, the Spanish were losing control of their colony, Cuba. Concerned about guerilla warfare in the countryside, they moved rural Cubans to "reconcentration" camps where the Spanish claimed they would be better able to protect them. However, people around the world saw newspaper reports that described horrible conditions in the camps for the Cuban people, who were called "reconcentrados." This account was forwarded to Washington D.C. by Fitzhugh Lee, who said its author was "a man of integrity and character."

SIR:

[W]e will relate to you what we saw with our own eyes:

Four hundred and sixty women and children thrown on the ground, heaped pell-mell as animals, some in a dying condition, others sick and others dead, without the slightest cleanliness, nor the least help....

Among the many deaths we witnessed there was one scene impossible to forget. There is still alive the only living witness, a young girl of 18 years, whom we found seemingly lifeless on the ground; on her right-hand side was the body of a young mother, cold and rigid, but with her young child still alive clinging to her dead breast; on her left-hand side was also the corpse of a dead woman holding her son in a dead embrace....

The circumstances are the following: complete accumulation of bodies dead and alive, so that it was impossible to take one step without walking over them; the greatest want of cleanliness, want of light, air, and water; the food lacking in quality and quantity what was necessary to sustain life....

From all this we deduct that the number of deaths among the reconcentrados has amounted to 77 per cent.

Source: Excerpt from an unsigned enclosure included with a telegram sent by Fitzhugh Lee, U.S. Consul-General in Cuba, November 27, 1897. Havana, Cuba.

USE THE NOTEBOOK (instructions):

To answer these questions, log in below

Sourcing: Consider a document's attribution (both its author and how the document came into being).

Why might Lee have chosen to send this description to Washington? Check his job responsibilities before writing your answer.

Close Reading: Read carefully to consider what a source says and the language used to say it.

Notice the graphic descriptions. How do these details about the living conditions affect you as you read? Why might these descriptions be so detailed?

Contextualizing: Situate the document and events it reports in place and time.

If they could have seen this letter, how do you think people in the U.S. in 1897 might have reacted to this description of the reconcentration camps?

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