AP/IB U.S. History II
Period 8 Heditsh
14 September 2012
Notebook Essay 1
Question: Was the U.S. justified in going to war in 1898?
The United States was not justified in going to war with Spain in 1898. The nation was fighting with clear imperialistic intentions in mind; a majority of people saw the Spanish Empire as an obstacle to fulfilling the Monroe Doctrine and allowing American political and economic command over the entire Western Hemisphere, which made any possible chance to depose them feel necessary for progress. To that extent, many feared Spain would be detrimental to imports and exports because of their presence in the Caribbean Sea, which served as the main trade link between the U.S. and Latin America. Finally, widely circulated, factually overblown newspaper articles intended to increase sales brought the public eye to the violence unfolding in Cuba, leaving many clamoring for war. A significant number of Americans wanted to end European colonization in the West so that America could finally shine as a world power, even if it meant a potentially bloody, costly conflict (albeit it was ultimately neither) followed by ruling over or controlling the foreign populations left standing in its wake. A wave of jingoism swept the U.S. in the 1890’s, and many people around the country, including President McKinley himself, wanted Spain removed from the Caribbean so that the U.S. would become the sole global power in the Western Hemisphere and exert even greater political dominance over Latin America. This principle also extended to the Philippines, another Spanish territory, as well; the U.S. viewed the islands as a clear gateway to relations with the Far East. The intention to expand the American sphere of influence appealed primarily to U.S. demands and showed little concern for the welfare of the less developed nations, especially in the case of the Philippines. Nonetheless, the acquisition of territory and...