Tomás Estrada Palma was an important Cuban general in the 10 Years' War. He became Cuba's first elected president, but later resigned.
Estrada Palma was captured by Spanish troops and sent into exile. While in exile, he traveled to New York where he worked with José Martí.
After Martí's death, Estrada Palma became the new leader of the Cuban Revolutionary Party.
When the revolutionaries established a Government in arms, Estrada Palma was sent to Washington as its diplomat. With the help of an American banker, he tried offering Spain $150 million to give up the island, a plan that failed.
He was, however, successful in getting the US Congress to pass the Joint Resolution. This bill led the United States to declare war on Spain, demanding that Cuba be freed from Spanish colonial rule.
After a few years of General Leonard Wood's rule in Cuba, elections were to be held. The Republican Liberals, headed by José Miguel Gomez, and the National Liberals, headed by Alfredo Zayas, both supported Estrada Palma. He did not campaign though, staying the full time in the US, where he was a citizen.
On December 31, 1901, Estrada Palma was elected President. His politics were similar to those of US President Theodore Roosevelt.
American troops left after the Cuban government signed a bill lowering tariffs on American products and incorporated the Platt Amendment into their constitution. Many American companies came to do business in Cuba.
Estrada Palma was reelected in 1906, but this time against violent opposition by the Liberals. US troops put down the Liberal revolt. Soon Estrada Palma resigned, against the wishes of Roosevelt, and another American government was established in Cuba under Taft.