From the Vaults: Grover Cleveland Addresses the Holland Society

Grover Cleveland

Theodore Roosevelt was not the only President of the United States to address the Holland Society at an Annual Meeting. In 1901, Grover Cleveland spoke to the Holland Society about the campaign in the Philippines and the Boer War, denouncing both. According to The New York Times, who reproduced his speech, President Cleveland’s speech was not met with “unmixed approval” from Society Members. The sixteenth Annual Dinner, held at the Waldorf-Astoria, was the largest Annual Dinner to date, with five hundred people gathered to hear President Cleveland speak. His speech was the first time he publicly addressed his feelings on the Philippines campaign and he remarked, “We can conquer the Philippines, and after conquering them can probably govern them . . . it is in the strain upon our institutions, the demoralization of our people, the evasion of our Constitutional limitations, and the perversion of our National mission that our danger lies. Our country will never be the same again. For weal or woe, we have already passed beyond the old lines.” In his denunciation, he also remarked that both the Philippines campaign and the Boer War were not fought for peace and arbitration, but fought to possess lands. The above quotes are from The New York Times article “Grover Cleveland Talks on Philippines; Deplores the Campaign as Pregnant with Dire Consequences. Also Denounces Boer War, His Remarks Not Received With Unmixed Approval at Holland Society Dinner — Wedding Congratulations Sent to Queen Wilhelmina.” The full article, complete with President Cleveland’s remarks, can be found on our website on the Historical Mentions in the Press page.

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