The Cause And Effect Of The Spanish American War

The Cause And Effect Of The Spanish American War
?American imperialism in 1898 was not a sudden abandonment of anti-colonial tradition but was a logical extension of commercial expansion, something the US had been doing throughout its history? (SparkNotes: The Spanish American War, 1898-1901,: Effects of the Treaty). President McKinley was not interested in wars of conquest or of territorial aggression. His interest in expansion was ?to make the United States first in international commerce and as a means to implement its humanitarian and democratic goals? (Faragher, J., Buhle, M. J., & Armitage, S. H. ,2008, Out of Many, A History of the American People, 6th ed., Vol. 2, p. 561). McKinley would eventually be forced to act in a humanitarian effort for the people of Cuba and to protect America?s interest against Spain?s domination of Cuba.
?The immediate origins of the 1898 Spanish-American War began with the Wilson-Gorman Tariff of 1894. The American tariff?put restrictions on sugar imports to the United States; severely hurt the economy of Cuba, which was based on producing and selling sugar? (SparkNotes: The Spanish American War, 1898-1901,: Summery). Spain began imposing unreasonable high taxes on Cuba. Spanish troops ambushed and killed Cuba?s leader, José Martí and appointed General Valeriano Weyler as governor with orders to crush the Cuban rebellion. Weyler instituted concentration camps and forced the Cuban citizens into them so they could not aid the fight for freedom. These innocents starved and died from disease in the unlivable conditions of these camps.
Spanish atrocities against Cuban rebels were widely reported to Americans in newspaper publications. Publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst used ?yellow journalism? to boost publications sales and to stir up sympathy for Cuba and patriotism of Americans. They ran sensational and false stories of mass executions and starving children (Faragher, J., 2008, Out of Many). ?Hearst?s New York Journal published a leaked letter in which the chief Spanish diplomat in Washington? described President McKinley as ?weak? and a ?petty politician.? Hearst publicized the?letter under the screaming headline: ?worst insult TO the united states IN its history?? (HIS104 U.S. History Since 1877 30-Jun-2008, OL20).
The battleship, uss Marine was stationed in Havana?s harbor to protect American interest in Cuba. An explosion destroyed the vessel on February 15, 1898. ?A naval court of inquiry blamed the explosion on a mine, further inflaming public sentiment against Spain? (HIS104 U.S. History Since 1877 30-Jun-2008, OL20). Again, the press stirred up the public with stories and headlines of a Spanish conspiracy. American now demanded revenge for the deaths of 266 sailors (Faragher, J., 2008, Out of Many). President McKinley demanded that Spanish government end brutality of the Cuban people, engage in armistice, and promise the eventual independence of Cuba. Upon Spain?s refusal, McKinley asked for a declaration of war. (HIS104 U.S. History, Lecture, 30-Jun-2008, OL20). ?In order to assure the world that it was fighting only for the good of Cuba and not for colonial gain, the US passed the Teller Amendment, which promised to make Cuba independent after the war was over? (SparkNotes: The Spanish American War, 1898-1901: Summary).
The ?Splendid Little War? lasted but 12 weeks at the cost of some 500 Americans lives in the war with countless others dying of disease. Although Cuba gained its independence from Spain, it was now obligated to uphold The Platt Amendment, giving the United States the territory of Guantanamo Bay to build a naval base, the right to limit Cuba?s public debt, and the right of intervention to protect American interest. The terms of the Platt Amendment would eventually be incorporated into the Cuban-American treaty of 1903. The US also gained the Islands of the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. (Faragher, J., 2008, Out of Many, ch. 20)
Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders gained fame for their victory in the Battle of San Juan Hill. This recognition sent him on his way to governor of New York and then on to the Presidency (HIS104 U.S. History, Lecture, 30-Jun-2008, OL20).
Under McKinley and Roosevelt, America went on to ?intervene in the Caribbean and Central America some 20 times over the next quarter century? Each intervention followed a common pattern? U.S. forces became embroiled in the countries? internal political disputes,? the United States would train and fund a police force and military to maintain order and would sponsor an election intended to put into power a strong leader supportive of American interests. Unfortunately, the men who took power in many of these countries?established despotic rule?(HIS104 U.S. History, Lecture, Policing the Caribbean and Central America, 30-Jun-2008, OL20).
?The Spanish American War was a turning point in the history of the United States, signaling the country?s emergence as a world power. It reshaped the US foreign policy as a result of restructuring the nations? interests in as much as illustrating humanity and morality as their norms? (Olley, J. ,01-Dec-2006,. A Historical Analysis of the Spanish American War; 1898 ? Associated Content).

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