9 American History
February 9th, 2018
Effects of the Spanish-American War
There were many causes and effects of the Spanish-American War. During the 1880’s, Manifest Destiny was achieved by the United States of America when they finally filled their borders from the East to West coast with civilization. Manifest Destiny is the belief that it is the right of a nation to expand to the edges of its territory, regardless of who needs to be pushed out of the way to make room. Once this had been achieved by the United States, America began to look for other ways to expand itself. One of these methods of expansion was imperialism, a policy of expanding a country via economic or military force. This would be done by America in Hawaii, Samoa, and many more small territories before the single most impactful war in recent American history began. The Spanish-American War was one over territory and imperialism fought by- you guessed it- Spain and America. This began with the Cuban Uprising when Cuban refugees begged America to interfere with Spain’s poor treatment of their people. Yellow journalism, inspired by the quills of men like William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, influenced America to take action and aid Cuba in its attempt to be rid of Spanish control. Lastly, America’s involvement in the Philippines and Puerto Rico led to the end of the Spanish-American War and Spain’s defeat. The Cuban Rebellion, yellow journalism, and America’s involvement in the Philippines and Puerto Rico shaped the modern world by shifting power from Spain to the U.S. in one of the most critical wars in recent American history.
The Cuban Rebellion was the first spark of a flame that threatened to engulf the two most eminent nations in recent history. That flame was the Spanish-American War. Control in Cuba began in 1492, when a man by the name of Christopher Columbus became the first European to set foot on American soil. A whole 376 years later the Cuban Uprising began and Spain was challenged for the control of Cuba. Despite their efforts to defeat Spain, the inhabitants of Cuba ultimately failed to gain independence. Seventeen years after the uprising ended, Spain lost their trust in Cuba. They began concentrating Cubans into military camps and suppressing them. The survivors of these military camps arrived at American shores, begging the American government to help them. Unfortunately for Cuba, President Grover Cleveland declined their request for assistance. However; their cries for help would not go unanswered for much longer. Less than a year later, Cleveland was beaten by President William Mckinley during the election of 1896. Cuban affairs piqued the interest of Mckinley, leading him to send a singular battleship, the Maine, to Cuban waters to protect American lives. To the shock of the American people, the U.S. Maine was destroyed by a missile on February 15th, 2 years after Mckinley’s election.
As the nation recovered from this shocking blow to their morale, the pens of two famous exaggerators were set in motion. Yellow Journalists like Pulitzer and Hearst caused the Spanish-American War by encouraging America to take action following the destruction of the Maine. This crisis occurred off the coast of Cuba when a U.S. battleship was blown apart by an unprecedented missile. News propaganda blamed its destruction on the Spanish. This enraged the American people who now demanded revenge on the Maine’s murderer. In response to this outrage, President McKinley sent battleships to Havana to protect the American people and defend Cuba from spain. In the meantime, Yellow Journalists continued writing sensory, exaggerated, and even fabricated stories to sell their newspapers. As a result of Yellow Journalism, the American people became so outraged they demanded a war. Though war seemed inevitable, there were certainly risks to consider when planning an attack on another nation. On one hand the war could bring new land and cheaper prices to America, as the Caribbean was famous for growing sugar and other popular foods. On the other hand, should they fail to defeat Spain, America could lose land, eminence and popularity as a world power, or even their individuality as a nation if Spain were to take the war to the mainland.
After Yellow Journalists inspired anger into the hearts of thousands, America was ready to go to war with Spain. In 1998, Congress declared war on Spain and began Cuban imperialization. In order to cripple the Spanish before they could fight back, American warships were sent to the Philippines to destroy the Spanish fleet that was stationed there. They succeeded, leaving Spain with no ships and no way to effectively dispel their attacks. Later that year, Theodore Roosevelt and his men led an attack on San Juan Hill. The battle resulted in an American victory and the first loss for Spain. Following this battle, the Cubans wanted independence and decided to help America fight against the Spanish. American soldiers had finally defeated the Spanish, but how would they make sure the war was over? The Spanish-American Armistice ends the Spanish-American war. The United States of America receives Puerto Rico, Guam, Wake islands, Cuba and the Philippines in exchange for twenty million dollars. The Platt Amendment set up tight U.S. control in Cuba. This control was necessary because Americans didn’t trust Cuba after they revolted against the Spanish. The Foraker Act set up a more lenient rule in Puerto Rico. They had not proven themselves a troublesome people. The Spanish-American War had ended, and America benefited greatly from it.
America’s involvement in the Spanish-American war created the world we live in today. The Cuban Rebellion began what would become the Spanish-American war by encouraging American involvement. Yellow journalism and the pens of Pulitzer and Hearst encouraged America to go to war with Spain and help Cuba in their time of need. America’s involvement in the Philippines and Puerto Rico led to the outcome of the war, resulting in an American victory. Had the Spanish-American war never occurred, Cuba, the Philippines, Guam and Wake would still be owned by Spain, Puerto Rico would never have become a protectorate of the United States of America, and America could never be the industrial nation that it is today.