Spanish American War Essay

“The Spanish American War was a conflict between the United States and Spain that ended Spanish Colonial rule in the Americas.”( 1) The Spanish American War was very important to the United States. At first, the United States was not going to join. Then, they did, to get those places their freedom from spain. The United States was a very important part to the Spanish American War.  The United States had gained many places from the war. I am going to be talking about the causes, what happened, and the aftermath of war.
The main reason the Spanish American started was because Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico wanted independence from Spain. Then something happened to make the United States to decide to help the places get freedom. The United States joined because of the sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbor. Then president McKinley got a letter calling him weak. Then war got declared by Spain on the United States on April 24th, 1898. “ The United States declaration of war was on April 25th which was made retroactive to April 21st.” ( 1)
When the war was declared, the first part of fighting started in the Philippines. George Dewey was a naval commander in the United States. He sailed from Hong Kong with Emilio Aguinaldo on board to the Philippine islands to start fighting. He had sailed into the Manila Bay. Dewey destroyed the Spanish Pacific fleet there. “ His forces sank and took 10 Spanish ships. The war in the Philippines was a quick victory for the United States.” (Harcourt, 698)

Then, war went into Cuba. Unlike the war in the Philippines, the US Army was not prepared like the US Navy was. “The Army only had 28,000 people in the Army.” (Harcourt, 5) At least that didn\’t last for long and more people joined. They then had 280,000 people but, during war, they lived in harsh conditions in Cuba. “They had to eat canned meat most likely from the Civil War and they were stricken with yellow fever and other deadly diseases.”(Harcourt,699) During war in Cuba, the Rough Riders came to help win the war. The Rough Riders were led by Teddy Roosevelt. “The Rough Riders happened to be the most colorful soldiers out there.
During war, the U.S. force then attacked and captured San Juan Hill and then turned into its own war. Still in the Cuban war, on July 3 the commander fleet of the Spanish fleet decided to try to break through the US blockade.” (Harcourt 698) The American forces only suffered two casualties and destroyed every Spanish war ship. “ Two weeks later Santiago surrendered. Then President Mckinley started peace negotiating with Spain, which was an assured defeat. A few days after U.S. troops came into Spanish-held Puerto Rico, which surrendered with little resistance. “Spain then signed a cease-fire agreement on August 12, 1898.” (Harcourt, 699)
After all of the war, there was a peace treaty that place Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines under the United States control. So, now the United States had to make some “rules” for each of these territories. In Cuba, the United States had made the teller amendment. “The teller amendment states that the United States would not annex Cuba, but then President McKinley wanted to created stability and increase U.S. economic activity there, so he set up a military government.” (Harcourt, 699)
Since the United States wanted to start taking more control over Cuba, they made the Platt amendment and completely looked over the Cuban constitution. “The Platt Amendment was something that limited Cuba’s right to make treaties and allowed the United States to intervene in Cuban affairs.” (Harcourt, 701) The Cubans reluctantly accepted the amendment. The Platt Amendment was in effect until 1934.
What the United States did to Puerto Rico was, even though Puerto Rico wanted independence, the United States made it a territory. “On April 12, 1990, the Foraker Act was established civil government in Puerto Rico”(Harcourt, 701). Soon, there was a debate over the new territory. To resolve the debate they made the Jones Act which gave Puerto Rico U.S. citizenship.
At this time, Spain had not yet surrendered the Philippines. Spain had only surrendered it for 20 million dollars from the United States. Americans then had agreed that the United States would benefit the islands.
From this war, the United States had gained a lot of new territories from this war. The pish american war was also a very important turning point. “ It turned the nation\’s attention away from colonial adventures and inward on domestic needs.”(
The Spanish American War was very important to the United States. It is a good thing that they had joined the war. They had gained Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam, and the Philippines. They had indeed gained a lot of territories, at the time. Even though the United States had gone through some tough conditions in war, they had succeeded and freed those places from spain.

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