Public Opinion in the Spanish American and Vietnam War

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In which conflict did American public opinion play a larger role:  the Spanish American War or the Vietnam War?

Table of Contents:
Plan of the Investigation……….…………………………........Pg 1 Summary of Evidence…..……….………………………….... Pg 1 Evaluation of Sources……….…………………...…………….Pg 3 Analysis….……….……………………………………………Pg 4 Conclusion ……….…………………………………...…….....Pg 7 List of Sources……………………….………………………..Pg 7

A: Plan of the investigation

Did the United States’ public opinion play a larger role and have a greater impact on the Spanish-American War than the Vietnam War?

This investigation seeks to evaluate the role that the public opinion of the United States played in The Vietnam War and The Spanish-American War. The outcomes as well as the duration of the wars will be assessed. Primary and secondary sources will be used as well as national polls to get a deeper understanding of the nations support and personal views towards the contrasting wars. Once the overall opinion is understood, the actions that the government took will assist in the full understanding of the role. Not only will the actions of the government be examined but also the effect that the opinion had on the soldiers fighting the war. Another aspect that will be examined is the role that technology played in the information delivered to the nation. It is believed that the factors above will clearly demonstrate the answer to this question.

B: Summary of evidence

At the turn of the century The United States of America was actively involved in a war against colonization. The war had started in 1898 fighting Spain for the island of Cuba. The war ended in 1902 with the defeat of Spain and with a victorious win for The United States. During the trying war, The US was in the midst of an Industrial Revolution, which resulted clear urbanization and growing populations throughout the country. For the duration of The Spanish-American War two leading publishers in New York City were said to have had a tremendous amount of influence among the population. Seeing as the publishers were rivals, the stories in the newspapers would often elaborate on facts to create a more interesting and exciting front page, many of which were later proven untrue. Furthermore, the population of the entire country was fed propaganda throughout the war; with most negative battles overlooked and unrecorded the population had no reason to doubt the “positive” intentions of the war. Due to the lack of technology throughout The Spanish-American War the only form of information available was in biased newspapers. 57 years later it was1959 and The Vietnam War officially began. Between 1954 and 1973 the United States deployed a large number of US forces to Vietnam. As the war raged on tens of thousands of US soldiers’ lives were being claimed as casualties destroying the hopes and dreams of many Americans. Throughout the war the public opinion was consistent in their negative feelings towards the war. Citizens openly denounced the actions taking place in Vietnam and when a draft lottery was introduced the negative feelings only progressed. Clearly in 1959 the technology had drastically changed and as a result so had the way that the population formulated their opinions. During The Vietnam War the population was able to view the atrocities occurring overseas in their living rooms, which created much more controversy and compassion for the soldiers. In addition to televisions, an array of newspapers were available as well and even telephones enabled certain soldiers to call home. While the population’s opinion of Vietnam was clear, the effect that the population opinion had on their government was much more discreet. In 1972 the senate and the congress put a tremendous mount of pressure on President Nixon to withdraw completely from Vietnam. Finally on January 27, 1973 a peace agreement was signed in Paris that led to the complete withdrawal of...
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