Grant and Foreign Affairs
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Despite the cronyism and corruption of the Grant administrations, a generally admirable record was established in dealings with foreign powers. This success was due largely to the efforts and sound judgment of Secretary of State Hamilton Fish.
Major foreign issues included:
Grant was angered by this defeat, which was a major widening in the developing rift between the president and the emerging Liberal Republicans. Hamilton Fish played a minor role in this event, providing reluctant support in order to get the presidentís support on other issues.
In the postwar years the United States government had pressed unsuccessfully for settlement of claims for these losses.
Hamilton Fish successfully negotiated the Treaty of Washington (1871), in which the two parties agreed to submit the matter to an impartial board in Switzerland. Fish deftly handled the prickly Charles Sumner, an outspoken foe of Great Britain, and gained ratification of the treaty in the Senate.
In the following year, the United States was paid $15.5 million by the British to compensate for its earlier losses, a resounding success for the modern eraís first use of arbitration.
A protracted Cuban revolt against the Spanish, the so-called Ten Yearsí War (1868-1878), was at mid-course. A Cuban support group in New York had dispatched a gun-running ship, the Virginius, which flew the American flag illegally. The ship was stopped by the Spanish on the high seas, boarded, and 53 crew members (including some Americans) were executed as pirates. Reports of this event inflamed interventionist sentiments in the United States.
Secretary Fish managed to calm American passions and to persuade the Spanish to return the Virginius and pay an indemnity of $80,000 to the families of the crewmen who had lost their lives.
Foreign Affairs - What If the British Vote No? - Charles Grant
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Globalization: Challenge and Opportunity (Foreign Affairs Books) - Council on Foreign Relations
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Foreign Affairs - Promoting Democracy and Fighting Terror - Thomas Carothers
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