The Cause and Effect of the Spanish American War

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“American imperialism in 1898 was not a sudden abandonment of anti-colonial tradition but was a logical extension of commercial expansion, something the US had been doing throughout its history” (SparkNotes: The Spanish American War, 1898-1901,: Effects of the Treaty). President McKinley was not interested in wars of conquest or of territorial aggression. His interest in expansion was “to make the United States first in international commerce and as a means to implement its humanitarian and democratic goals” (Faragher, J., Buhle, M. J., & Armitage, S. H. ,2008, Out of Many, A History of the American People, 6th ed., Vol. 2, p. 561). McKinley would eventually be forced to act in a humanitarian effort for the people of Cuba and to protect America’s interest against Spain’s domination of Cuba. “The immediate origins of the 1898 Spanish-American War began with the Wilson-Gorman Tariff of 1894. The American tariff…put restrictions on sugar imports to the United States; severely hurt the economy of Cuba, which was based on producing and selling sugar” (SparkNotes: The Spanish American War, 1898-1901,: Summery). Spain began imposing unreasonable high taxes on Cuba. Spanish troops ambushed and killed Cuba’s leader, José Martí and appointed General Valeriano Weyler as governor with orders to crush the Cuban rebellion. Weyler instituted concentration camps and forced the Cuban citizens into them so they could not aid the fight for freedom. These innocents starved and died from disease in the unlivable conditions of these camps. Spanish atrocities against Cuban rebels were widely reported to Americans in newspaper publications. Publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst used ‘yellow journalism’ to boost publications sales and to stir up sympathy for Cuba and patriotism of Americans. They ran sensational and false stories of mass executions and starving children (Faragher, J., 2008, Out of Many). “Hearst's New York Journal published a leaked letter in which the...
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