Henry Moore Teller
Henry Moore Teller, born in 1830, served as a Senator for Colorado six times, from 1876 to 1881, and again from 1885 to 1909. Teller is remembered for sponsoring the Teller Amendment to the Declaration of War with Spain in 1898, which prohibited the United States from annexing Cuba at the end of the confrontation. This amendment is a contradiction in the otherwise fairly consistent attempts by American politicians and officials to exercise control over the island, and limit the scope of Cuba’s independence. It has been suggested that Teller was specifically concerned with what the annexation of Cuba (and all its sugarcane plantations) would mean relative to Colorado’s investment in sugar beet production. Another explanation for the addition of the Teller Amendment is the widespread support that “Cuba Libre” enjoyed among the American population.

However, as soon as Spain was defeated, it became apparent that the United States government was never inclined to actually follow the Teller Amendment. By reinterpreting the word “pacification,” which the Teller Amendment stated as the primary goal of American involvement in Cuba, the New York Tribune, for example, was able to claim that the United States did not actually “recognize the independence or sovereignty of the so-called Cuban Republic,” nor did it “promise to establish that republic, or to put the insurgents in control of the island.” Rather, imperialists claimed that the United States had an obligation to keep order and retain the right to “pacify” the new national government if it pursued policies against American interests.

- Rutgers University