Platt, Orville Hitchcock

Platt, Orville Hitchcock, 1827–1905, U.S. Senator (1879–1905), b. Washington, Litchfield co., Conn. Platt held many public offices in Connecticut before he served in the U.S. Senate. He helped frame the high protective tariff measures of 1883, 1890, and 1897 and opposed “cheap money” schemes and attempts to regulate big business. Platt was influential in the annexation of Hawaii and the occupation of the Philippines. He also sponsored the Platt Amendment —a rider attached to the Army Appropriations Bill of 1901. It stipulated the conditions for U.S. intervention in Cuban affairs and permitted the United States to lease lands for the establishment of a naval base in Cuba. The amendment, which virtually made Cuba a U.S. protectorate, was forced into the constitution of Cuba and was incorporated in a permanent treaty between the United States and Cuba; it set the terms under which the United States intervened in Cuban affairs in 1906, 1912, 1917, and 1920. Rising Cuban nationalism and widespread criticism led to its abrogation in 1934, although the United States retained its lease on Guantánamo Bay, where a naval base had been established.

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