Motives of the Spanish American War

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The Spanish American War started in 1898 and lasted about four months. Although the war might have seemed focused on freeing Cuba from Spain and gaining independence for Cuba and the Philippines, it was actually stimulated by nationalism and commercialism. Commercialism was a major factor when declaring war because the United States depended on Cuba and the Philippines for trade and business with other countries, especially in Asia and Latin America. Another major factor for the war was that the United States wanted to spread its Anglo-Saxon culture around the world and emerge as a world-wide power. Other minor motives for the war include the United States coming to the aid of the Cubans in their revolt against Spain and the feeling that the United States had the right to go into the Philippines because it had a superior culture.

Commercialism played the most important role in starting the Spanish American War. The US needed Cuba and the Philippines because they were essential to trade and business. American business had an investment of about $50 million in Cuba and an annual trade stake of about $100 million. Senator Lodge said that whoever has control of Cuba will be able to control the entire Gulf of Mexico, which was important because Cuba was in the direct line of the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal was a key feature to the US Navy, so a base was needed in the Caribbean in order to protect it. A free and independent Cuba would help the US because it could put a naval base there. The overseas market was also important to trade and business with other countries. By getting control of the Philippines, the US would form commercial relations with countries in Asia. Raw materials that originated from Cuba and the Philippines were also important. Raw materials included sugar from Cuba and pineapples, rubber, paper products and wood products from the Philippines. Control of these raw materials was very important to trade in the US.

Nationalism was another major...
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