From 1867 to 1870 the island of Santo Domingo became the focus of attention in the United States. The North American country was considering annexing the Dominican Republic, a country that offered itself in an attempt at self-preservation of the Dominican population. Eventually, the Senate and Congress of the United States debated the possibility and voted on the matter. The Dominican Republic was not annexed to the United States due to one extra vote in the Senate, effectively putting an end to this issue.
Before the government of the United States voted whether to annexed the Dominican Republic, the possibility was debated in the American media. It also had famous people that supported the annexation, such as the celebrated Frederick Douglass, who also form part of a delegation sent to the Dominican Republic by the US government. The delegation not only got the opinion of the leading business and political men of the Dominican Republic, but also the opinion of the people and an extensive in person study of all aspects of the country. The findings were collected in a report titled Dominican Republic, 1871: Report of the Commission of Inquiry to Santo Domingo. This report included a speech given by the then president of the United States, Mr Ulysses S Grant.
- Ulysses S Grant was very much in favor of annexing the Dominican Republic to the United States.
- It was believed that various European powers would greatly benefit at the expense of the United States if the Dominican Republic wasn’t annexed to the United States.
- The balance of payments was very important to the government of the United States, and Santo Domingo was seen as a great help in this regard.
- The island was seen as potentially a great supplier of goods that was vastly consumed by Americans but the US didn’t produced due to unfavorable climate conditions at that time.
- With time Santo Domingo was to become a major consumer of products made in the continental United States.
- A great migration from neighboring islands, particularly Puerto Rico and Cuba, was projected if Santo Domingo was annexed to the United States. It must be remembered that the Dominican Republic at that time had a population that didn’t surpassed 120,000; in effect, humans were absent from most of the territory, which was in its virgin natural state as Christopher Columbus found it in 1492.
- The annexation would maintain Santo Domingo as a slavery free society, affecting neighboring Puerto Rico and Cuba where slavery was still legal, in effect making slavery prohibited in those two places by influence from Santo Domingo.
Ulysses S Grant Speech on Santo Domingo
The following are images of the speech given by US president Ulysses S Grant in favor of the annexation of the Dominican Republic to the United States.