Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American War was not started by one thing in particular. It was because of a large amount of reasons that built up until it erupted in war. It started with the explosion of the USS Maine. When Spain sent in General “Butcher” Weyler to stabilize the situation in Cuba, he put the majority of the population into concentration camps. The US sent the Maine to protect its investments there. The USS Maine was on a “friendly” mission to wait and rescue any US citizens that may be hurt in the conflict. At 4:40 pm on February 15, 1898, the Maine exploded and sank in Havana Harbor. The source of the explosion was not known. Some thought that it may have been from a Spanish mine. Others thought there may have been a spy on board the ship sent to destroy it.

Even though the United States said it might have been an accident on board, the US citizens were sent into a frenzy by “yellow journalism” that was published by men like Pulitzer and Hearst. The information posted by these yellow journalist increased the anti-Spanish feelings and made more and more people favor war. Also, when Congress passed the Fifty Million Dollar bill, which gave the president 50 million dollars to prepare for a war before it is declared, it made people more and more ready for a war and it also made them support it.

Many countries in Europe tried to intervene in the situation without actually getting involved into the conflict. Most of Europe expressed sympathy for Spain and tried to talk to the US, but they would not support Spain in the conflict or in the event of a war. Also, Great Britain supported the United States all through the war and gave them advice. The two countries became uneasy as they both began to prepare their army and navy for a war in the sea and on land. Soon after the United States demanded Cuba’s independence, Spain declared war on the US.

In many wars, there are promises made to other countries for their help in the war. These promises are not always kept. The United States made many promises prior to the Spanish-American War. The United States promised to liberate Cuba after the Spanish had lost control of it. The United States also promised the Filipino rebels that they would liberate the Philippines if they helped attack the Spanish army that was there.

One major battle of the Spanish-American War was the battle of Manila Bay. The battle of Manila Bay occurred on May 1, 1898. Prior to the war, President McKinley told Admiral George Dewey that in the event of a war to not let the Spanish leave the Asiatic Coast and to attack the Philippines where the Spanish are hiding. George Dewey left Hong Kong with his fleet of six and traveled to the Philippines. Dewey and his small fleet defeated seven Spanish ships, killed almost four hundred, and took 250 prisoners without a single casualty. Another battle took place in Santiago Bay on July 3, 1898. On this date, Cervera and his fleet tried to escape, and the US crushed the entire fleet.

There usually many agreement at the end of wars that ensure that the fighting is over. Spain and the United States had an “End of War” Agreement on August 12, 1898 in Madrid where they agreed to stop all hostilities in Spanish colonies and in the sea. News of this agreement had not reached all battlefronts and on August 15, 1898 in Manila the US attacked the Spanish fortress in the Philippines. The US and Spain both signed the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898, and it marked an end to the once great Spanish Empire.

The Spanish-American War had many outcomes. Most of which were in favor of the United States. During the entire war, the United States had been successful on all battlefronts. The US now had control over the once Spanish Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. The United States kept its promise and liberated Cuba. The US planned to build the Panama Canal because of the time that it took to move ships all the way around the tip of South America. The US also realized that they needed to improve its military a lot.

The Spanish-American War also made and strengthened relations between different countries and groups of people. The war had strengthened the relationships between blacks and whites. Also, after the recent control of the US by Great Britain, there was much hate for the British by the Americans. Their support for the United States during the Spanish American War had eliminated most anti-British feeling. It also began a friendship between the two nations that has lasted over a century.

After the Spanish-American war, the United States took control of several Spanish colonies. They took control over Guam, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. When the war was starting the American government promised to free Cuba and to free the Philippines in return for the rebels help against the Spanish. The US, as promised, liberated Cuba, but not before adding the Platt Amendment into their constitution, which gave the US a military base on the island. After freeing Cuba, the United States broke its promise and ruled the Philippines as a colony along with Guam and Puerto Rico.

Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines all became American protectorates whose people did not have full rights as American citizens. In January 1899, the Filipinos declared themselves an independent nation, beginning a guerrilla war against the United States. This guerrilla war was led by a young Filipino rebel by the name of Emilio Aguinaldo. The rebellion lasted a long time totaling to almost two whole years. The rebellion finally ended in March of 1901. The rebellion was struck down when the United States captured their leader, Emilio Aguinaldo. General Aguinaldo was captured in his secret headquarters at Palanan in northern Luzon on March 23, 1901. Aguinaldo took an oath of allegiance to the United States, was granted a pension from the U.S. government, and retired to private life.

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