December 10th: The Treaty of Paris Between the U.S. and Spain Is Signed; Teddy Roosevelt Wins the Nobel Peace Prize and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events have taken place on December 10th in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1884 – “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain is published
Beloved by several generations of teenagers throughout the world, the book was published on this date 134 years ago. “The Adventures” is commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local regionalisms. The story is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, the narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective) and a friend of Tom Sawyer. It is also a direct sequel to “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”.
The book is loved for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Set in a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about 20 years before the work was published, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is an often scathing satire on entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.
However, some “social justice warriors” still consider it to be racist, since the N-word is used there many times and racial stereotypes appear on its pages. Well, anyway – this is a classic, and one of the true masterpieces of American literature.
1898 - The Treaty of Paris between the U.S. and Spain is signed
The history of humanity knows at least 50 peace talks and agreements that could be referred to as “The Treaty of Paris,” so one has always to specify what particular “Treaty of Paris” one means. In this case we mean The Treaty of Paris signed between the U.S. and Spain to end the war between them that happened the same year.
The treaty involved Spain relinquishing nearly all of its remaining Empire, and especially hurtful for the Spaniards was the loss of Cuba, as well as ceding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. The cession of the Philippines also involved a payment of $20 million from the United States to Spain. The Treaty of Paris came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged.
This treaty de-facto marked the end of the Spanish Empire (apart from some small holdings in Northern Africa as well as several islands and territories around the Gulf of Guinea, also in Africa), as well as the beginning of the age of the United States as a world power.
Many supporters of the war opposed the treaty, and it became one of the major issues in the election of 1900 when it was opposed by Democrat William Jennings Bryan because he opposed imperialism. Yet, Republican President William McKinley was a good populist, so he upheld the treaty and was easily reelected.
1906 – Teddy Roosevelt is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
The 26th President of the U.S., one of the most successful and respected leaders of the American nation, Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize back in 1906 due to his effort to end the Russo-Japanese War that resulted in the Treaty of Portsmouth.
Unfortunately, history also remembers the American effort to support Japan during this war, so the mediation during the peace talks between Russia and Japan wasn’t very fair. However, according to the well-known American historian, George E. Mowry, Roosevelt handled the arbitration well, doing an "excellent job of balancing Russian and Japanese power in the Orient, where the supremacy of either constituted a threat to growing America."
Sure, from this point of view Teddy Roosevelt was absolutely right, as he worked on the best possible “result” in the interests of the U.S. Apart from the mediation in that conflict Roosevelt also played a major role in mediating the First Moroccan Crisis by calling the Algeciras Conference, which averted war between France and Germany, so he probably did deserve this Peace Prize.
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on December 10th, at least in our view.