“The Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War” documentary explain how the U.S got involved in a war that was between Spain and Cuba. Cuba wanted their independences from Spain. They wanted to have power over their own government and not stand under Spain which they have been for many decades. President William McKinley didn’t want the U.S to get between the two because he felt the U.S must avoid the temptation of territorial aggression. No everyone felt the same way as him, assistant secretary of the navy Teddy Roosevelt thought that a war with Spain over Cuba would make U.S a world power.
Differing ideas of national identity shaped views of United States overseas expansion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to a great extent due to the presence of segregation amongst the African American population, acquisition of the Philippines, and encouragement of violence as a result of the Spanish-American War. Imperialism is the policy of taking control over countries around the world for political and economic gain. Since its formation, the United States has imperialized several countries, including the Philippines, Cuba, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Imperialism was incorporated during the Spanish-American War, a four-month battle between the United States and Spain. Then, chaos induced after the explosion of the USS Maine in Cuba.
The Spanish American war was a product of Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier thesis and the urbanization of America. In 1895, a rebellion broke out in Cuba, as Cuban patriots wanted independences from Spain. Through the yellow journalism, reports of Spain’s cruel military tactics lead to a public uproar in the U.S. However, most of these stories were exaggerated as a form to promote war. After an American battleship, the USS Maine, was destroyed, America was “forced” to start war and stop Spanish occupation.
According to history.com “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.” McKinley then set up a naval blockade on Cuba and started requesting American volunteers for their military. This decision caused the Spanish to declare war with America which we now call it the Spanish-American War of 1898. The war started out on May 1, 1898 when Commodore Dewey and his naval squad went into the Philippine Islands at Manila Bay to successfully gain control of the sea when they defeated the Spanish naval force that was trying to defend the Philippine Islands. The victory of the defeat triggered McKinley’s want for acquiring the Philippines land as a trophy for the war, leading to tension between the Americans and Filipinos.
Third, there was the moral issue of Weyler;s treatment of the Cubans, which appealed to American humanitarianism (Schweikart and Zinn 483). In addition, Schweikart and Allen give detailed descriptions of the battles that happened during the Spanish American War, while Zinn simply states that the “Spanish forces were defeated in three months” (Zinn 309). The authors also explain the end result of the battle, reporting that the United States bought Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, but did not annex Cuba.
In the late 1800’s, Cuba was fighting for its independence and striving to break free from Spain’s control. On February 28, 1898, the U.S.S Maine mysteriously exploded, which was stationed on the coast of Cuba. This led to the U.S involvement in the Spanish-American War. There were many economic reasons why the U.S joined this war, however, there was nothing significant that would require their involvement. The U.S was already keeping a close eye on the battle between the other two nations; waiting for a reason to intervene.
In 1890 the U.S. went into war with spain for many reason for example. yellow journalism, imperialism and the sinking of the Maine is what caused the American population to want to go to war with Spain. yellow journalism is what got the rage in the american public. When the U.S.S. Maine was sunk word spread fast and the people were quick to blame the Spanish. Since the U.S had so many investments in Cuba it made one of the causes of the Spanish American War
America’s entrance in the Spanish-American War was primarily due to the random explosion of the USS Maine on February 15, 1898, which killed 267 service men aboard. This attack leads to Congress’s vote to go to war against Spain. The United States’ desire to expand military overseas also played a part in the American entrance to this war. Economically speaking, the U.S. wanted Cuban crops to come to America, and not only Spain. “The war enabled the United States to establish its predominance in the Caribbean region and to pursue its strategic and economic interests in Asia” (“Spanish-American War”).
The imperialistic mentality of the American government after the Civil War, led to some degree to the Spanish-American war that would render a great acquisition of land for the United States. However, imperialism would not be the sole factor that led to the war against Spain, but also the sympathy felt by the American government towards Cuba’s efforts in fighting for their independence; additionally, the United States would seek to protect its commercial interests (sugar) in the island. Therefore, after invoking the Spanish to secede from their brutal practices towards Cuban rebels and attain a peaceful end to the situation, the United States arbitrarily sent a navy ship, “The USS Maine” to monitor the area.
The United States wanted to take advantage of the Caribbean for example Cuba. At the time Cuba wanted its independence from Spain. The United States wanted to keep their sugar and mining companies in Cuba. Now the Cubans used two fellow yellow journalists, known as William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. The two both wrote about how the Spanish atrocities in Cuba, many were fabricated.
This is evident in Editha through the characterization of George and Editha, both representing an opposing view on imperialism. Americans had sympathies for the Cubans, they struggled under Spanish rule. But American sympathy was not the sole reason for America getting involved in the Cuban revolution. American business had about $50 million invested in Cuba and these investments were at risk because of the revolution taking place in Cuba (Kennedy-Cohen 610). The Teller Amendment also proves that America went to war with Spain for the wrong reasons.
A major cause of this was an increasing sense of jingoism in the United States. This was a very strong sense of nationalism in the U.S. that led to an aggressive foreign policy. The U.S. defeated Spain easily and conquered the lands of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. The Spanish people were eager for the U.S. to come and protect them during this war (Document 7). Later in the 1800s, the United States had developed a very powerful and efficient navy.
Colonialism and Imperialism affected our world both positively and negatively. On one hand, Imperialism has often been linked with racial segregation, manipulation, and hardship. On the other, it has been said that many colonial powers contributed much in terms of schools, roads, railways, and much more. Whether this time period was constructive or harmful, it has played a large part in shaping our lives today.