The Spanish- American War and U.S. Foreign Policy
The United States became a world power after their victory over the Spanish in the Spanish- American War of 1898. Before the war, the U.S. was too busy worrying about the problems facing them on their own territory such as reconstruction and industrialization to even think about expansionism or imperialism. Although America was primarily a reserved country after the Civil War, their foreign policy became more ambitious and imperialistic thanks to the end of isolationism and the strong presidency of Teddy Roosevelt.
Following the Civil War and the reconstruction of the Union, Manifest Destiny (the belief that Americans had the God- given right to take over the continent) was on the mind of many Americans because we could finally expand into the west thanks to the Mexican Cession lands that we acquired after the Mexican- American War. In the late nineteenth century though, America reached the physical limits of its border and was done expanding. The frontier was pronounced closed and since the United States had reached a point of being stable, they could now look at lands outside their borders.
First, America looked towards Cuba and Latin America because at the time Cuba was starting to rebel against Spain, its mother country. The United Sates loved the idea of being free and having an independent government and so decided to help the Cubans and their struggle, as it resembled the revolutionary war America had gone through with Britain. On February 15, 1898, the American ship U.S.S. Maine was docked at the Cuban harbor of Havana when two explosions suddenly tore the ship to pieces and killed around 250 people. The tragedy immediately was blamed on Spain mainly because of newspaper propaganda by Pulitzer and after the angry outcry of American citizens was heard, President McKinley finally declared war against Spain. The United States won and now controlled the Philippines and...