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Spanish American War Essay, Research Paper

A number of factors contributed to the U.S. decision to go to war against Spain.

Since the early years of the 19th century, many Americans had watched with sympathy the series of revolutions that ended Spanish authority throughout South America, Central America, and Mexico. Many people in the United States were irritated that the Spanish flag continued to fly in Cuba and Puerto Rico. The brutality with which Spain put down Cuban demands for a degree of local autonomy and personal liberty aroused both sympathy and anger. Support for the cause of Cuban independence had deep historical roots in the United States, and this cause became the stated objective of the war. However, I believe that the U.S. reason for going to war was primarily due to their the growing imperialism and Cuba s independence was just a good excuse for them to try to extend American influence overseas knowing that they would be able to defeat Spain.

The United States was booming industrially and without a foreign market, the country would have been fully saturated and very little consuming could be done. Therefore, fighting Spain for a noble cause would make them look good as well as be able to force Spain to give up much of their territories for the US to make use of. This is exactly what happened after the US won the Spanish-American War. The Spanish withdrew from Cuba, leaving the island under temporary U.S. occupation. Cuba was given it s independence as promised, making the US look like heroes, while Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines were ceded by Spain to the United States. Then on December 1898, the United States announced the establishment of U.S. military rule in the Philippines.

The US tried to justify taking over the Philippines. They argued that the United States could not honorably hand the islands back to Spain because Filipinos were “unprepared for self-government” and the islands would simply fall prey to Germany or another power if U.S. forces left the region. I feel that this was all talk because the United States knew that the Philippines would make a good military base and because it has been under Spanish rule they rationalized that it was their duty to civilize the so-called backward races. However, it seems obvious that this statement was made only because they knew of the economic opportunities that existed in Asia and the U.S. Navy’s desire for a base in the Philippines.

If the United States was truly concerned with the well being of the citizens in the Philippians, then I don t think they would have gone into such a brutal war with them. The US knew that the Philippines didn t truly stand a chance in war, but they fought them regardless because the primary interest in the Philippines was the Americans objective. To me it seemed more like the US would do anything, even kill thousand of Philippine citizens fighting for their independence just to establish a base in that country and control parts of the Asian market. The people who the US were claiming that they were looking out for ended up losing the most and being the biggest losers in the war.

All in all, the Spanish-American war could have been considered a noble cause only if after granting Cuba its independence, the US also gave the Philippines their independence when the citizens made it their major goal. The US could have taken another approach in preparing the country for self-government rather than just taking it over and establishing military bases. It was certainly not necessary to go to war with a country who is clearly no match and end up killing so many people just to end up granting them what they wanted from the very beginning. I feel that the Spanish-American war is one of the greatest examples in history of the United States using moral issues as a way of getting the things that they want even if their means of getting them were heinous. It looked like everything is ok and whatever they did didn t really matter as long as it s all for a good cause.

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