The Spanish-American War

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What were the consequences of the U.S. victory in the Spanish American War?

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The victory by the United States in the Spanish-American War had several consequences. One consequence is that the United States became a colonial power. Many Americans wanted the United States to expand beyond its borders. These people wanted to spread American influence and American ways of living around the world. The United States rallied around how poorly the Spanish were treating the people of Cuba. Ultimately, the United States went to war again Spain. When the United States won the Spanish-American War, the country got some of Spain’s colonial possessions. The United States gained control over Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

Victory in the Spanish-American War was the beginning of the spread of American influence around the world. The Open Door Policy protected American trading interests in China and also helped keep China independent. The United States eventually helped Panama become independent, which led to the building of the Panama Canal. The United States also began to increase its control over the rest of the Americas. The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine told Europe that the United States would resolve any issues that Europe had with any countries in the Americas. The United States also sent its new powerful navy around the world to show off the power and the influence of the country. The victory in the Spanish-American War helped make the United States a world power with influence that spread around the globe.

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American victory in the Spanish-American War launched the United States as a global imperial power. The war was short and decisive, with the United States Navy destroying the Spanish fleet in the Philippines and American ground forces winning in similarly short order in that country and in Cuba. What was significant about the war was the peace settlement with Spain that followed. As part of the agreement, known as the Treaty of Paris, the United States received the Philippines as well as the islands or Puerto Rico (in the Caribbean) and Guam (in the Pacific.) Cuba, whose struggle for independence from Spain was ostensibly one of the major causes of the war, gained its independence, although American diplomats inserted a provision in its constitution that permitted American intervention in Cuban affairs to protect its interests. Cuba thus became a protectorate. In the Philippines, annexation was followed by a bloody struggle for independence by Filipino rebels who objected to American rule as much as that of Spain. The United States military, at great cost, put down this rebellion and ruled the Philippines as a territory until after World War II. As for Puerto Rico, it became a US territory, and remains one today. Guam is also an American territory. Overall, the result of the war expanded American influence in Latin America, where US troops intervened in support of American interests literally dozens of times, and in the Pacific. The war, in short, made the United States a global empire. 

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There were two main consequences (for the US) of the US victory in the Spanish-American War.  One consequence had to do with territory and the other had to do with the status of the United States in the world.

In terms of territory, the US victory in this war led to America taking control over a variety of places.  The US took outright control of Puerto Rico.  It allowed Cuba to be independent, but used the Platt Amendment to keep effective control over the country.  The US also gained possession of Guam and the Philippines. 

Perhaps more important than the actual territory was the impact on the standing of the US among the countries of the world.  By taking all of this territory, the US became, for the first time, an imperial power.  Up to this point, the US had taken control of a great deal of territory on the North American continent, but it had not really ventured overseas much.  Therefore, it was not really seen as a major power.  By taking an empire, the US took its place among the major powers of the world.

Thus, the US victory in this war gained the US both territory and a more exalted place on the international scene.

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