The United States wanted to become a world power around 1900. Part of being a world power is having colonies. The problem for the United States was there weren’t many lands available to colonize by 1900. Thus, we would need to go to war with a colonial power to get these colonies that would help us establish an empire.
The United States was having issues with Spain. Americans believed the Spanish were mistreating the Cuban people. This was mainly due to the exaggerated news stories appearing in newspapers. When a United States warship exploded in Havana Harbor, we declared war on Spain. As a result of this war, we defeated Spain and got some of their possessions in the Pacific and the Caribbean. We got the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The United States now had an empire beyond its borders.