Spanish-American War

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After watching such a compelling film about the Spanish-American war, I must admit that it is truly my first time analyzing the significance of this war. Every society has endured conflict or war. Whether or not this war was justified can only be determined by what was accomplished after the dust finally settled. Everyone will have their opinions on if war is necessary in any situation. In order to grasp what the war was truly about, it will be essential to utilize actual historical documents along with understanding the events and attitudes leading up to the war. The American History textbook provided several official documents that gave deep insight into what was going on in our world at the end of the nineteenth century. If there was an underlying theme that could describe this time period, it would be the combination of power and masculinity within American culture. The film begins by explaining that in the late 1800s the frontier was finally over in America. At the time, rebellions led by General Gomez from the Dominican Republic in the 1890s had reclaimed some eastern provinces and had eyes on claiming Havana. President McKinley, the only American president left to have fought in the civil war: wanted a peaceful Cuba, desired that U.S control the Caribbean and obtain a naval base in the colony of the Philippines. America was convinced that Cuba wanted to be a part of the U.S. and the Filipinos originally looked at America to be their liberators. General Weyler, former Governor General of the Philippines was sent to Havana and given full power and authority to stop General Gomez from his plans of attack. Weyler created a policy in which relocated many citizens not affiliated with the approaching battle to nearby towns. It was found that these people were living under “concentration-camp” conditions in these secluded towns. As Americans wanted to discredit the Spanish, they showed America through propaganda what these camps were truly about and portrayed General Weyler as an inhumane villain. Countless people were killed under his debauchery of political power. The text provides the document of President McKinley’s request to liberate Cuba in 1898. He explained to Congress that it was justified in the cause of humanity to put an end to bloodshed He further explained that America needed to intervene to stop the injury to commerce if the island of Cuba was destroyed. Also, because the lives of citizens were constantly being compromised, the menacing conditions in Cuba were too dangerous to continue. McKinley said “We owe it to the citizens of Cuba to afford them that protection and indemnity for life and property…” One person who expressed his deepest support towards the war effort was the assistant secretary of the navy, Theodore Roosevelt. In one of his documents praising imperialism, he states that men should face the fight and not cower: “We cannot avoid the responsibilities that confront us in Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. All we can decide is whether we shall meet them in a way that will redound to the national credit, or whether we shall make our dealings with these new problems a dark and shameful page in our history” It is surprising to me that Roosevelt’s character embodied such brute strength and masculinity within that statement when at one time he was looked at as a weak man with feminine attributes. In Bederman’s essay, he notes that when Roosevelt was at the beginning of his political career, many newspapers ridiculed his high pitched voice, tight pants, and fancy clothing. He was referred to as the “quintessence of effeminacy.” Over time Roosevelt drastically improved his persona and became the example of a true American Man. Roosevelt and the “Rough Riders” would go on to playing a major role in the war. The film depicted how chaotic it was among the 25, 000 soldiers in Tampa, FL, at the staging point for the start of the war. It was very interesting to learn that countless...
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