The Spanish-American War Website
Senator John Hays said that the Spanish-American War was "a splendid little war". Read my report to see why. Check out the photo gallery of the Spanish-American War. Be sure to visit my links page for links to sites about the Spanish-American War.
The Spanish-American War
By Charlie Ginsburg
The Spanish-American War lasted between April and August of 1898. Senator John Hays called it "A Splendid Little War". That was because the 4-month war had significant effects on the United States such as foreign policy and its role in world affairs.
The Spanish-American war originally started because the Cubans wanted to be independent from Spain. This rebellion started in February of 1895. The demand for United States intervention became continuous after the sinking of the battleship Maine (which resulted in the loss of American lives) in Havana harbor. Today it is believed that the Maine blew up from an internal explosion. Back at that time, the Spanish saw it as an internal explosion, but the Americans saw it as an external explosion, as approximately 120 Americans were killed in the explosion and the loss of American lives is considered a threat to the national security of America. The external explosion was seen as a hostile act. The Cubans and the Spanish believed that the United States sending the Maine was an act of provoking the enemy.
Spain announced a peace agreement on April 9. After that it speeded up its new program to grant Cuba limited powers of self-government. But the United States Congress interfered in a few ways: issuing resolutions that declared Cubas right to independence, demanding that Spain remove its army from Cuba; and authorizing the Presidents use of force to secure that withdrawal while renouncing any United States design for annexing Cuba.
Spain declared war on the United States on April 24, which was followed by an American declaration of war on April 25th. America often declares war on another country in the month of April; this was one of those instances. The ensuing war was one-sided, since Spain had not mobilized (prepared) for war against the United Sates. Commodore George Dewey led an American naval squadron into Manila Bay (which is in the Philippines, a Spanish colony) on May 1, 1898, and destroyed the anchored Spanish fleet in a leisurely morning engagement that left only seven American seamen wounded. Manila itself was occupied by U.S. troops by August of 1898.
American investigation determined that he Spanish Caribbean fleet under Admiral Pascual Cervera was located in Santiago harbor in Cuba. An army of regular troops and volunteers under General William Shafter 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. These troops included the Rough Riders who were led by future United States President Theodore Roosevelt. Cervera led his squadron out of Santiago on July 3 and tried to escape westward along the coast. In the battle, all of Cerveras ships came under heavy fire from American guns and were beached, burned or sunk. Santiago surrendered to Shafter on July 17, this ended the war. The Spanish-American War was officially ended by the Treaty of Paris on August 13,1898.
The United States public wanted to go war with Spain. This came from yellow journalism. Yellow journalism is the process of writers making stories exciting. Reporters went down to Cuba to make up stories and draw pictures of Cubans who were in concentration camps and being treated unfairly by the Spanish. This was an act of the media making the enemy seem as inhuman as possible. While things were not really as bad in Cuba as portrayed by these journalists, Americans read the stories, saw the pictures and believed them. Because they believed them, Americans had negative views of the Spanish, who they believed were being harsh on the Cubans. This made the Americans want to go to war with Spain. This is why the public wanted to go war with Spain.
The publics negative views of the Spanish encouraged President William McKinley to go war. It had been 35 years since the last war in American history (the Civil War). The yellow journalism was an effective tactic to encourage the war. The United States economy would be harmed if America did not declare war on Spain. There was a lot of money invested in Cuba such as farms. This encouraged William McKinley to declare war on Spain.
The Spanish-American War can be considered an American imperialist adventure. Imperialism is the policy of controlling other areas for social, political, economic, and political reasons. We decided to get involved for those reasons. This was during the imperialistic age of America. America had conquered so many other lands that they wanted to expand. America got more land. From the Spanish-American War the US got more land; a naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (that still is in use today), a naval base in Manila, Philippines, and Puerto Rico became a US territory. Because America acquired the land in this war, the Spanish-American War can be considered an imperialist adventure.
The Spanish-American War had many effects on the US after it ended. One of the effects is that the US became more involved in world affairs. It resulted in the US building the Panama Canal, which meant dealing with foreign countries. It was caused by yellow journalism.
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