President William McKinley Ends the Spanish American War Hostilities

He orders “the cessation of hostilities between the United States and Spain”

  • Currency:
  • USD
  • GBP
  • JPY
  • EUR
  • CNY
  • Info IconThis currency selector is for viewing only.
    The Raab Collection only accepts USD payments at checkout.
    Exchange rates are updated hourly. Rates may be inaccurate.
Purchase $90,000

The only document signed by a president ordering the end of hostilities in a war waged by the United States that we have ever seen on the market


It is extremely rare that one comes across an original document signed by a president ordering the end of hostilities in a war...

Read More

President William McKinley Ends the Spanish American War Hostilities

He orders “the cessation of hostilities between the United States and Spain”

The only document signed by a president ordering the end of hostilities in a war waged by the United States that we have ever seen on the market


It is extremely rare that one comes across an original document signed by a president ordering the end of hostilities in a war waged by the United States subject to a declaration of war by Congress. We have, in our 35 years, seen just one, and it is this document.

The United States had a long-term negative view of Spain and wanted it out of the Western Hemisphere. This was in part because of anti-Spanish feeling in the U.S. going back to colonial days. Then, in the War of 1812, the Spanish were allies of Britain, angering many Americans. Moreover, the Spanish policy of supplying Creek Indians with arms and ammunition through their territories in Florida further strained relations with the Americans on the frontier, and made Spain a threat to American expansion. The prospect of taking or acquiring East and West Florida from Spain became for many Americans a priority. The U.S. obtained West Florida in 1819, and purchased East Florida from Spain in 1821. In the years before the Civil War, anti-Spanish feelings remained, and Americans in the South wanted to obtain Cuba as the chief goal in a plan to make the Caribbean part of a slavery empire. That filed, and the Spanish colonies, such as Cuba and Puerto Rico, remained in Spain’s grasp. This seemed to many Americans a violation of the Monroe Doctrine.

From 1895–1898, a violent conflict in Cuba developed and captured the attention of Americans because of the economic and political instability that it produced. The long-held U.S. interest in ridding the Western Hemisphere of European colonial powers and American public outrage over brutal Spanish tactics created much sympathy for the Cuban revolutionaries in the 1890s. By early 1898, tensions between the United States and Spain had been mounting for months. After the U.S. battleship Maine exploded and sank in Havana harbor under mysterious circumstances on February 15, 1898, U.S. military intervention in Cuba became likely.

On April 11, 1898, President William McKinley acted, and asked Congress for authorization to end the fighting in Cuba between the rebels and Spanish forces, when clearly meant American intervention, and to establish a “stable government” that would “maintain order” and ensure the “peace and tranquility and the security” of Cuban and U.S. citizens on the island. On April 20, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution that acknowledged Cuban independence, demanded that the Spanish government give up control of the island, foreswore any intention on the part of the United States to annex Cuba, and authorized McKinley to use whatever military measures he deemed necessary to guarantee Cuba’s independence.

The Spanish government rejected a U.S. ultimatum and immediately severed diplomatic relations with the United States. McKinley responded by implementing a naval blockade of Cuba on April 22 and issued a call for 125,000 military volunteers the following day. That same day, Spain declared war on the United States, and the U.S. Congress voted to go to war against Spain on April 25.

The future Secretary of State John Hay described the ensuing conflict as a “splendid little war.” The first battle was fought on May 1, in Manila Bay, where Commodore George Dewey’s Asiatic Squadron defeated the Spanish naval force defending the Philippines. The Spanish Caribbean fleet under Adm. Pascual Cervera was located in Santiago harbor in Cuba by U.S. reconnaissance. An army of regular troops and volunteers under Gen. William Shafter (including future president Theodore Roosevelt and his 1st Volunteer Cavalry, the “Rough Riders”) landed on the coast east of Santiago and slowly advanced on the city in an effort to force Cervera’s fleet out of the harbor. On June 10, U.S. troops landed at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and additional forces landed near the harbor city of Santiago on June 22 and 24. On July 1 took place the Battle of San Juan Hill, victory in which boosted the Rough Riders and their leader Roosevelt into instant fame. On the naval front, after isolating and defeating the Spanish Army garrisons in Cuba, the U.S. Navy eyed the Spanish Caribbean squadron on July 3 as it attempted to escape the U.S. naval blockade of Santiago. In the ensuing battle all of his ships came under heavy fire from U.S. guns and were beached in a burning or sinking condition. Santiago surrendered to Shafter on July 17, thus effectively ending the brief but momentous war.

On July 26, at the behest of the Spanish government, the French ambassador in Washington, Jules Cambon, approached the McKinley Administration to discuss peace terms, and a protocol – to end hostilities – was signed on August 12. President McKinley then issued Proclamation 422—Suspension of Hostilities with Spain, which stated “The United States and Spain have formally agreed upon the terms on which negotiations for the establishment of peace between the two countries shall be undertaken; and Whereas it is in said protocol agreed that upon its conclusion and signature hostilities between the two countries shall be suspended and that notice to that effect shall be given as soon as possible by each Government to the commanders of its military and naval forces: Now, therefore, I, William McKinley, President of the United States, do, in accordance with the stipulations of the protocol, declare and proclaim on the part of the United States a suspension of hostilities and do hereby command that orders be immediately given through the proper channels to the commanders of the military and naval forces of the United States to abstain from all acts inconsistent with this proclamation.”

In those days for a proclamation to take effect the president had to sign an order that the Great Seal of the United States be affixed to the proclamation. Only then could it become law. McKinley’s proclamation ending hostilities was no exception. The same day as the proclamation was signed, McKinley ordered the end of hostilities by having the Great Seal of the United States affixed to the proclamation. And this is the very document with which he did so.

Document signed as president, Executive Mansion letterhead, August 12, 1898. “I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of State to cause the Seal of the United States to be affixed to my Proclamation in regard to the cessation of hostilities between the United States and Spain.” It is signed boldly at the conclusion by William McKinley. Accompanied by a copy of McKinley’s proclamation.

The war officially ended by treaty four months later, when after negotiations the U.S. and Spanish governments signed the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. The Treaty guaranteed the independence of Cuba, and also forced Spain to cede Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States. Spain also agreed to sell the Philippines to the United States for the sum of $20 million. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty on February 6, 1899.

This is a piece of American history that can’t be matched in terms of rarity, nor bested in terms of importance.

Purchase $90,000

Frame, Display, Preserve

Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.

Learn more about our Framing Services