The Spanish American war of 1898 was as the turning point for the United States becoming a world power. This war was caused by the conflict between Spain and the United States over Cuba. The United States first began its interest in purchasing Cuba before the start of the war. Because of this, the Americans bought some sugar lands in Cuba and invested in other products for trade. Conflict grew between Spain and the United States when General Valeriano Weyler began the policy of Reconcentration in Cuba. This placed the entire country of Cuba under the martial law in February 1896. The United States was overly upset by this and demanded that Spain stop their actions to end the Cuban Crisis. If Spain did not did not agree, the United States stated that they would step in and war would begin. Events took a fast course after the explosion of the U.S.S. Main on February 15th. On March 9th, the United States congress passed a law affirming that they were allowed to spend money to build up their military. A few months later on April 21st President McKinley orders a blockade of Cuba and on April 25, 1898, the United States Declares war. Since the United State decided to declare war on Spain, this allowed the world to view the United Stated in a different light. Because of the war, the United States also was able to change the size of their military forces, their foreign policy, and the amount of their territorial gain. The above three were all effects that helped the United States become a word power and gain respect. The first change the United States made, which helped one become a world power, was increasing the size of their military forces. “Congress at once voted to double the size of the regular army. It also authorized a call for, first, 125,000, and then 267,000 volunteers. Drafting men into military was not necessary. More than a million men immediately volunteered for this Caribbean “picnic” hat the whole nation seemed to want to attend(Lawson 11).” From some of the military volunteers, the rough riders were created. The rough riders were the first volunteer cavalry. They were military men who were trained and lead under the command of Theodore Roosevelt and Colonel Leonard Wood. They were trained in a different way than most military men and were able to move as a closer unit when fighting. Without the increase of army size the United States would not have had a chance to win the war against Spain. Foreign policy was the second change the United States made which helped them become a world power. Foreign policy, also known as foreign relation policies, is a combination of self-regard techniques and ideas to protect one’s own countries interests while still succeeding in goals and relationships with international countries. With the help of Theodore Roosevelt, The United States was able to emphasize the idea of the “big stick” approach to foreign policy. “The United States was to act as policeman of the Western Hemisphere; it was to put to use the right of interference it continued to deny the European powers(Ricard 1).” By creating this state of mind for the United States, all United State citizens and fighters were able to create a stronger world power. The increase and gain of territory was the last change that allowed the United States to become a world power. The gaining of territory by the United States was increased and helped through the Treaty of Paris. The Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898. This allowed the United States to gain control of Cuba and the Philippines from Spain, and the islands of Puerto Rico and Guam were also under the United States control. This treaty not only allowed the United States to gain control of more territory, but also brought the end to the Spanish American War. Spain agreed to the terms of the treaty by stating “the Government of her Majesty…will not assume the responsibility of again bringing upon Spain all the horrors of the war. In order to avoid them it resigns itself to the painful strait of submitting to the law of the victor, however harsh it may be, and as Spain lacks the material means to defend the rights she believes are hers, she accepts the only terms the United States offers her for the concluding of the treaty of peace(Golay 96).” This allowed the United States to gain more control over more territory and was viewed by others worldwide as a dominate world power. Overall, by changing the size of their military forces, their foreign policy, and the amount of their territorial gain, the United States was able to become a world power because of the Spanish American War. Without the Spanish American War the United States would not be able to be viewed as an imperialist country with durable power. Winning the war was the first look at a positive light for the United States in war. Although they had some troubles, they were able to overcome them and not let international countries take advantage of others.
Golay, Michael. America at War. The Spanish American War. New York, NY: Facts On File, 1995 Lawson, Don. The United States in the Spanish-American War. Toronto, Canada: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, 1976 Ricard, Serge. "The Roosevelt Corollary." Presidential Studies Quarterly 36.1 (2006): 17+. Gale Power Search.