Table of Contents
During the colonial period, a nation was known to be powerful if it had many colonies under it. Spain, being among the first European countries to cross the Atlantic Ocean had a chance to colonize as many nations as possible before other countries such as Britain came. Some of the countries that it colonized include Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Carolina, Mariana Islands, and Marshall among others. However, due to their harsh treatment, they subjected to citizens in their colonies, they faced a lot of resistance. These colonies struggled for their independence by engaging in guerrilla tactics to free themselves from the bad leadership of these foreigners.
Cuba was among the Spain colonies to demand and struggle for their independence. However, Spain wouldn’t easily let go of their colonies, and it put sanctions to Cuba which affected the United States economically. Due to continued struggle, the United States had to come in and rescue Cuba from their oppressors and thus declaration of war between Spain and United States on 25th April 1989. This paper discussed why the Spanish-American war was referred to as splendid little war and the reasons that made the United States engage in this war. It will also give my opinion on whether I agree or disagree with those reasons. It will also discuss the Philippine-American war that took place after the Spanish-American war and the reasons as to why this war was ignored.
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The ruthless Spanish colonial rule led to Cubans personify guerilla tactics against Spain in the struggle for their independence from 1868. In 1878, there was a peace treaty that was signed but unfortunately it was never enforced. This made Cubans agitate for their freedom once again in the 1890s (Potter, 2002). As a result, Spain to come up with the Wilson-Gorman tariff in 1894. This tariff affected the United States because it restricted the export of sugar products from Cuba to the United States who have invested more than $50 million in that country (Klenn, 2014). This caused rivalry between Spain and the US. The rivalry intensified when General Valeriano Weyler implemented a policy of reconcentration which placed the entire country under martial law which ensured that population was moved to a central location and guarded by the Spanish soldiers starting from February 1986 (Potter, 2002). This greatly affected the US and made president Grover Cleveland of the United States declare that they might intervene if Spain will not end the crisis in Cuba as it was destroying the economy and market between the two countries.
The crisis however made President Cleveland and the Congress of the US to send USS Maine to await and rescue the US citizens who might be trapped in Cuban-Spanish crisis and take them home (Klenn, 2014). After President William McKinley was inaugurated, the New York Journal published a copy of the letter from Enrique Dupuy de Lomé, the Spanish Foreign minister. This letter aimed to criticize the president of the United States and to show him that the negotiations he was making to make Cuba a free state was a waste of time and the only thing that would make it happen were through war (Klenn, 2014). Even before the president could swallow this, the USS Maine mysteriously blew up killing soldiers and some citizens of the United States on 15th February 1898. It was later discovered that the mine which blew up Maine came from the Spanish troops. This made the president with the help of Congress declare war against Spain on April 25, 1898 (Potter, 2002). However, the war didn’t last long because the US was mightier than Spain which made them successfully defeat Spain within the shortest time possible and hence the name Splendid little war.
In my opinion, I support the reasons that made the US engage in war with Spain. The US presidents first believed in negotiations and being a British colony at one time, they never believed in war and didn’t want to shed any more blood. However, Spain insisted them to engage in war by coming up with a tariff that restricted import of sugar products to the US. Another reason was the letter from Spanish Foreign Minister who insisted on war rather than negotiations. The final reason was the destruction of USS Maine by the Spanish troops which took the lives of hundreds of Americans. I, therefore, fully agree and support these reasons for the engagement of US into war with Spain in Cuba.
The United States didn’t only rescue Cuba from the Spanish rule. It also recovered other islands such as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. However, it only gave independence to Cuba and made others the American protectorate. This move made Filipinos upset and went ahead and declared themselves independent on January 1899 (Linn, 2000). As a result, they started the guerrilla war against the US led by Emilio Aguinaldo. Although the war lasted over a year, it was ignored by the United States troops and leaders. This is because it could not stand the military might of the United States. The war ended in March 1901 when the Filipino leader, Aguinaldo, was arrested (Linn, 2000).
- Krenn, M. L. (2014). spanish-American war. essay, University of Miami). Accessed March, 19.
- Linn, B. M. (2000). The Philippine War 1899–1902. Parameters, 30(3), 158-159.
- Potter, L. A. (2002). OurDocuments. gov.(Teaching with Documents). Social Education, 66(7), 390-400.