Why did the United States Fight Spain in 1898?
United States History II – Section 330
September 24, 2014
The United States was concerned with the thought of another conflict in Cuba and the effect of such conflict on American interests there. For thirteen of the previous twenty nine years, Cuba had been the scene of violent conflict. The ten year war of Cuban independence that began in 1868 ended not because one side was defeated but because the combatants were exhausted and agreed to a truce. Then in 1895 another conflict erupted between Cuba nationalists and Spain. This conflict, larger than any previous conflict in Cuba, continued to gain momentum and the United States doubted Spain could prevail. The capital that the United States had poured into Cuba was in ruins. Commerce in Cuba was at such a low level the United States doubted that even if Cuba was able to negotiate peace with Spain peace, the Cuban government would not be able to restore the economy. Taking these facts into consideration, Washington felt it needed to consider America’s duty to its neighbors. The United States considered the Cubans’ suffering and the decimation of commerce and felt that it was no longer reasonable to follow a policy of inaction. Lawmakers in the United States had to consider if they thought Spain would be able to put an end to the war and make peace with Cuba. The Spanish government wanted the United States government to side with Spain to crush the hopes of the insurrectionists and trusted the United States would assist Spain in its endeavors by not supporting the Cubans. However, the situation in Cuba did not improve. The United States government felt that the war was more one of inaction rather than action. In March 1898, President William McKinley delivered a three-part request to Spain, demanding an armistice; permission to deliver United States relief supplies to...
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