Historical Determinants of the Spanish American War

Historical Determinants of the Spanish American War -...

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Historical Determinants of the Spanish-American War HIS 3920: Military History of the United States
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The history of the United States is sprinkled with revolutionary people, politics, and ideas. When studying American history, one learns of the great wars that have shaped and molded the great country we know today. However, perhaps one of the most influential and important wars in the Nation’s history is commonly overlooked as irrelevant to the problems the United States faces today. On August, 25 th 1898, U.S President William McKinley, under public and political pressure, addressed Congress requesting the United States declare war against Spain, Congress obliged. There were many different factors that lead the United States to this point, identifying political and technological determining factors is key to understanding exactly why this war changed the image of the United States on the world stage forever. Previous to 1898, the United States was a rapidly developing country on a world scale, and the dominant power in the western hemisphere. This was made possible by both political and technological advances in the U.S including the growing sense of nationalism and the desire of the American people to secure the United States as a supreme world power. Known as International Darwinism, the concept of survival of the fittest took on a new meaning to the American people. If the United States wanted to be taken seriously on an international level, she would have to show her political and military strength by joining European powers in acquiring territories overseas. The theory of imperialism was not new by any means, the United States itself was started as a colony of Great Britain, and now the United States was ready to join her former ruler as an imperialistic world leader. Simultaneously, political unrest and revolt was plaguing the largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba. In 1895 Cuba was still a colony of Spain, revolutionists, or Cuban nationalists, had been fighting for almost ten years to overthrow Spanish colonial rule. They began to destroy colonial plantations and terrorize the Spanish natives living in Cuba. Their hope was to either force Spain’s withdrawal, or court United States involvement. With the deployment of over 100,000 Spanish troops to the island, the latter of options proved to be the revolutionaries only hope.
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Politically, the United States was ready for the commitment of taking on an old world power, the republican President McKinley was a strong believer in the United States right to become an imperialistic power, with sights set on the Caribbean first. The only justification the United States needed was that of the Monroe Doctrine, passed on December 2 nd 1823, the Monroe Doctrine asserted that, “as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future
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This note was uploaded on 12/09/2008 for the course HIS 3920 taught by Professor Titus during the Spring '08 term at E. Illinois.

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Historical Determinants of the Spanish American War -...

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