Spanish American War Justified Essay Examples

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the spanish american war

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     The Spanish-American war was the first and biggest step that the United States of America took toward imperialism. It was the war that secured the US as the most powerful country in the world. This war was a benefit to the USA because we gained land, gained respect, and taught a lesson to one of our enemies. In addition to this, the losses that we suffered were almost nothing compared to other conflicts or wars. The Spanish-American war was by no means for the sole purpose of gaining land and respect, the United States freed an oppressed country and took pieces of land that were better off under US control.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Imperialism was a popular trend among the large, powerful countries. Imperialism is defined as “The policy of extending a nation's authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations” Imperialism cannot be said as either good or bad, but as a general rule; If you live in an annexed country, imperialism is not good, if your country annexes smaller ones to gain profit, land, and respect, then imperialism is good. The United States was not much of an imperialistic country until we won the Spanish-American war. As a result of this war, we annexed Guam, The Philippines, and Puerto Rico. This is the point at which the US becomes and imperialistic nation, and though it was a hard struggle to keep these annexed countries under control and eventually gave them all back to their rightful owners. The importance of taking these countries is that we then could have coal stations around the world to fuel our navy, and we got respect from other countries around the war. This respect and intimidation helped the allied powers defeat the central powers during World War II. Ever since the US became the most powerful nation after the Spanish-American war, we have retained the title.
One reason why the Spanish-American war was good for the US is the relatively small losses we had. 332 Americans were killed and 1642 were injured, and 2957 died from disease. These numbers amount to a total of 3289 soldiers killed because of the Spanish-American war (McSherry). This seems like many casualties, but if one compares it to any other war, it is almost nothing, considering there were 15 million battlefield deaths in the Second World War (Ash 71).

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Another factor to consider is that the United States spent 5 billion dollars (year 2000 currency) on the Spanish-American war. This also seems like nothing, compared to the 2,300 dollars we spent on World War II (McSherry).
The US had a right to declare war on Spain on April 25th in the year 1898. During this time, Cuba was under intense oppression from Spain. The Cuban people were in a state of uprising against Spain, which prompted Spain to group the Cubans into small villages where they were forced to live. Since the US once was in a situation like this, we felt for the Cubans and argued with Spain on their behalf. This raised much tension between Spain and the US. To make matters worse, the “yellow journalists” made up stories about severe brutality taking place in Cuba, the American people were strongly against Spain at this point. The next bad event to take place was the “Delome letter”, a letter sent from the Spanish diplomat Enrique Dupuy De Lome. This letter criticized the American president William Mckinley, calling him “weak” and “a low politician”. Americans were outraged at this; some because they felt Spain was hostile toward us, and some because they just would not stand for the making fun of our president. Finally, to top it all off, The US battleship Maine was destroyed in harbor in Havana. The cause of the explosion is unknown, but it was and still is widely believed that an enemy mine detonated on the ships hull, and ignited the weapons and ammunition stored in the bottom of the ship, causing the whole ship to explode and kills 266 crewmen.
As the general rule of democracy, the country does what the people want. If the people want to go to war, it doesn’t matter if their anger is fueled by yellow journalists, who greatly blow out the facts to make the opposing country look bad. One must accept that propaganda is a major part of war and it cannot be blamed for the start of one.



The Spanish-American War (1898) was a conflict between the United States and Spain that ended Spanish colonial rule in the Americas and resulted in U.S. acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin America.

The war originated in the Cuban struggle for independence from Spain, which began in February 1895. Spain’s brutally repressive measures to halt the rebellion were graphically portrayed for the U.S. public by several sensational newspapers, and American sympathy for the rebels rose. The growing popular demand for U.S. intervention became an insistent chorus after the unexplained sinking in Havana harbour of the battleship USS Maine (Feb. 15, 1898; see Maine, destruction of the), which had been sent to protect U.S. citizens and property after anti-Spanish rioting in Havana. Spain announced an armistice on April 9 and speeded up its new program to grant Cuba limited powers of self-government, but the U.S. Congress soon afterward issued resolutions that declared Cuba’s right to independence, demanded the withdrawal of Spain’s armed forces from the island, and authorized the President’s use of force to secure that withdrawal while renouncing any U.S. design for annexing Cuba.

Spain declared war on the United States on April 24, followed by a U.S. declaration of war on the 25th, which was made retroactive to April 21. The ensuing war was pathetically one-sided, since Spain had readied neither its army nor its navy for a distant war with the formidable power of the United States. Commo. George Dewey led a U.S. naval squadron into Manila Bay in the Philippines on May 1, 1898, and destroyed the anchored Spanish fleet in a leisurely morning engagement that cost only seven American seamen wounded. Manila itself was occupied by U.S. troops by August.

The elusive Spanish Caribbean fleet under Adm. Pascual Cervera was located in Santiago harbour in Cuba by U.S. reconnaissance. An army of regular troops and volunteers under Gen. William Shafter (and including Theodore Roosevelt and his 1st Volunteer Cavalry, the “Rough Riders”) landed on the coast east of Santiago and slowly advanced on the city in an effort to force Cervera’s fleet out of the harbour. Cervera led his squadron out of Santiago on July 3 and tried to escape westward along the coast. In the ensuing battle all of his ships came under heavy fire from U.S. guns and were beached in a burning or sinking condition. Santiago surrendered to Shafter on July 17, thus effectively ending the war.

By the Treaty of Paris (signed Dec. 10, 1898), Spain renounced all claim to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States, and transferred sovereignty over the Philippines to the United States for $20,000,000. The Spanish-American War was an important turning point in the history of both antagonists. Spain’s defeat decisively turned the nation’s attention away from its overseas colonial adventures and inward upon its domestic needs, a process that led to both a cultural and a literary renaissance and two decades of much-needed economic development in Spain. The victorious United States, on the other hand, emerged from the war a world power with far-flung overseas possessions and a new stake in international politics that would soon lead it to play a determining role in the affairs of Europe.

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