Spanish-American War

“And shall our country let it pass, this deed of foul intent? And shall our country dare believe it was an accident?… Come arm, we all, and let us teach a lesson to bold Spain. We will avenge, by more than speech the destruction of the Maine! ” These words were spoken by H. W. Petrie (1898) (p. 592). These words were spoken about the Spanish-American War. Mr. Petrie spoke these words after the destruction of the Maine, which is thought to be a key affect of the Spanish-American War. The war was based on the U. S. oing to war with Spain to help Cuba fight for their independence from Spain. This war only lasted a few months, and there were not many deaths caused by battle.

This war helped Cuba to win independence, and changed our role in foreign policy, made the “U. S. the dominant power in the Western Hemisphere” (Jack Beaudoin) (1999) (p. 26), and created the U. S. a “new stature in world affairs. ” (Prentice Hall United States History) (2012) (p. 598) The Spanish-American War was not a random act of violence. There were many aspects that helped to lead to the beginning of the war.

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In 1868, Cuba and Spain had a war, Ten Years’ War, fighting for Cuba’s independence. The war did not end with Cuba gaining their independence, but the Cubans were not going to stop trying. In 1895, Jose Marti landed in Cuba to begin a war. However, a few weeks later, Marti was killed by Spaniards. The cry “Cuba Libre”, meaning, free Cuba, is associated with Marti and his attempt to gain independence; after this mishap with Marti, Spain sent 200,000 soldiers to try to stop Cubans from creating a rebellion. The yellow press is thought to be a cause of the war.

Yellow press is based upon the enhancement of facts to try to make the newspaper more exciting and more entertaining. Sometimes the yellow press would stretch the truth and distort it so it would sway the readers’ thoughts and ideas on the discussed situation. It is not proven, but it is somewhat suggested that the yellow press pushed the U. S. into war. Hearst and Pulitzer were publishers of newspapers that may or may not have lead to the beginning of the war.

“There came a dull sullen roar… Then came a perfect rain of missiles of all descriptions, from huge pieces of cement to blocks of wood, steel railings, ragments of gratings, and all the debris that would be detachable in an explosion. ” Passenger aboard the Maine (1898) (p. 27). February 15, 1898, The Maine blew up killing 266 sailors. Americans were furious of what happened and cried “Remember the Maine! ” and even “To hell with Spain! ” Writers of the yellow press printed papers fueled readers and stimulated the U. S. government to take action. President McKinley tried to talk things out and negotiate things with Spain and Cuba; he even offered to mediate conversations between them. Spain didn’t want this to happen.

Just two short months after the destruction of the Maine, April 24, 1898, Spain declared war on the United States. This battle took place in Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico and Cuba. There were many small battles between Americans and the Spaniards before the main war began. There was a battle between Commodore George Dewey, which Dewey came out victorious. There was also the battle at San Juan Hill. Theodore Roosevelt gathered a group of cowboys and college students and called them Rough Riders. Not many Americans were killed during this battle, but they took the hill from the Spanish.

On July 17, 1898, General Calixto Garcia led Cubans into Cuba to help the Americans capture Santiago de Cuba, which ended with a victory. General Garcia was angry that the Americans didn’t include them in the celebration. They thought that the United States “stole their victory. ” (Elizabeth Cazden) (1899) (p. 5) Spain surrendered on August 12, 1898. To verify the war had ended, and confirm that Cuba was now independent from Spain, Spain signed the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. The U. S. was given the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

In 1902, Cuba finally became independent. The death total during The Spanish-American war was only about 385 deaths; however, there were approximately 2,061 deaths from sickness and disease. (Historical Statistics of the United States) (2012) (p. 597) The Spanish-American War was a victory for Cuba and the United States; however, the Philippines thought that they should be granted independence also. They were now owned by the United States. A war rose up for their independence and lasted about 3 years. Nearly 5,000 Americans were killed in the war and 200,000 Filipinos.

General Emilio Aguinaldo, a leader of Filipino forces, was captured. He took an oath of allegiance (saying he would be loyal) to the U. S. The war with the Philippines ended in 1901. In 1916, the U. S. said they would give the Philippines their independence. Finally, on July 4, 1946, they became independent. I think that the U. S. was right for becoming involved in the Spanish-American War because not only did it win their independence, it also gained the U. S. Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines; even though the U. S. eventually gave the Philippines their independence. The war was a success.

Works Cited:

1- Cazden, Elizabeth. (May 1999). Cuba Libre? Cobblestone, 20 (5), 5.

2- Beaudoin, Jack. (1999, November 1). The Mystery of the Maine. The New York Times Upfront, 26-28.

3- Anderson, Carol. (May 1999). Did the Newspaper Start the War? Cobblestone, 20 (5), 21.

4- Peuser, Richard W. (March 1898). Spanish American War 1898. Monkeyshines on American, 9.

5- Lapsansky-Werner, E.J. , Levy, P.B. , Roberts, R. , and Taylor, A. (2012). United States History. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

6- Barron, Marietta. (June 2000). The Letters of a U.S. Soldier Reflect the Savagery of the Philippine Insurrection. Military History, 17 (2).

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