"A Message to Garcia" is a widely distributed essay written by Elbert Hubbard in 1899, expressing the value of individual initiative and conscientiousness in work. As its primary example, the essay uses a dramatized version of a daring escapade performed by an American soldier, 1st Lt. Andrew S. Rowan, just prior to the Spanish–American War. The essay describes Rowan carrying a message from President William McKinley to "Gen. Calixto García, a leader of the Cuban insurgents somewhere in the mountain fastness of Cuba—no one knew where." The essay contrasts Rowan's self-driven effort against "the imbecility of the average man—the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it." The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, "Where is he at?" By the Eternal! there is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- "Carry a message to Garcia!"
"A Message to Garcia" was originally published as a filler without a title in the March 1899 issue of The Philistine, a periodical which, at that time, was written entirely by Elbert Hubbard.