Spanish-American War (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The United States begins a colonial empire and becomes an international power.
Summary of Event
The United States entered the Spanish-American War to liberate its Cuban neighbors from foreign rule. It emerged from the conflict in possession of a distant Philippine empire whose inhabitants rebelled against U.S. dominance. The war with Spain marked a significant turning point in U.S. history. Acquisition of an overseas empire made the United States a major power on the world stage. Within a few years, however, the people of the United States decided that the expansion achieved during 1898-1899 should not be extended. Disillusionment about the results of imperialism characterized historical memories of the conflict with Spain.
Cuba became an issue for the United States after Cuba’s residents staged a revolution against Spain in 1895. The Spanish regarded Cuba as an integral part of their nation. It was “the ever faithful isle,” and no Spanish government could long remain in power if it accepted the loss of Cuba without a military struggle. A bitter war ensued, in which the Spanish controlled major cities such as Havana, while the rebels dominated the countryside. In 1896, the Spanish captain general in Cuba, Valeriano Weyler, announced a tough policy of reconcentration. Cuban civilians in certain parts of the island were to be herded into the Spanish-held towns, where they could no...
(The entire section is 1605 words.)
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Spanish-American War (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Spanish-American War of 1898 lasted only a few months. It resulted in a U.S. victory that not only ended Spain's colonial rule in the Western Hemisphere but also marked the emergence of the United States as a world power, as it acquired Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. THEODORE ROOSEVELT's military exploits in Cuba catapulted him onto the national stage and led to the vice presidency and, ultimately, the presidency.
The conflict had its origins in Spain's determined effort in the 1890s to destroy the Cuban independence movement. As the brutality of the Spanish authorities was graphically reported in U.S. newspapers, especially Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal, the U.S. public began to support an independent Cuba.
In 1897 Spain proposed to resolve the conflict by granting partial autonomy to the Cubans, but the Cuban leaders continued to call for complete independence. In December 1897, the U.S. battleship Maine was sent to Havana to protect U.S. citizens and property. On the evening of February 15, 1898, the ship was sunk by a tremendous explosion, the cause of which was never determined. U.S. outrage at the loss of 266 sailors and the sensationalism of the New York press led to cries of "Remember the Maine" and demands that the United States intervene militarily in Cuba.
(The entire section is 625 words.)