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International Law and ReligionHistorical and Contemporary Perspectives$
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Martti Koskenniemi, Mónica García-Salmones Rovira, and Paolo Amorosa

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805878.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 January 2021

Messianic Visions of the United States

Messianic Visions of the United States

International Law, Religion, and the Cuban Intervention, 1898–1917

(p.433) 18 Messianic Visions of the United States
International Law and Religion

Paolo Amorosa

Oxford University Press

After winning with unexpected ease the Spanish–American War of 1898, justified at home as a case of humanitarian intervention, the United States started understanding itself as a world power. This led to a renewed attention to international law, in order to reconcile the new leading role of the country with its democratic tradition. Even the formal colonialism in the Philippines and the tutelage of the newly independent Cuba were recast by the founders of the American Society of International Law as an expression of egalitarian values, American and universal at the same time. This ambiguous nationalist/cosmopolitan identity was based on a narrative of progress: the peak of civilization reached by the United States would expand world-wide through example and benevolent assimilation. This chapter argues that it was a narrative of primarily religious origin that justified the war in the eyes of the American people and underpinned future foreign policy.

Keywords:   Cuba, Spanish-American War, messianism, providentialism, James Brown Scott, imperialism, equality, intervention, Platt Amendment, humanitarianism

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