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Remembering the Maine: The Spanish American War - Research Paper Example

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The importance of the Spanish American War went beyond America’s simply gaining a victory over Imperial Spain, but also served to expand and unite the United States of America in the wake of a terrible civil war, and to develop the modern American sense of nationalism…
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Remembering the Maine: The Spanish American War
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Download file to see previous pages Although the country was growing and immigrants were streaming into her major urban in-dustrialized cities, America was missing that essential element of greatness: unity. Prior to 1898, the United States was in the midst of an industrial revolution, with a mass of immigration to the cities, and further settlement of its western frontiers in its quest to fulfill its “Manifest Destiny.” The country was on the precipice of great things, but still was not fully “united.” Just 25 years earlier, the country had been torn in two with its great civil war. But the wounds from the con-flict had not fully healed, as President Lincoln’s assassination, residual antipathy between the North and the South, and feeble attempts at reconstruction and opportunities for millions of new-ly freed blacks all contributed to keeping America from becoming truly united. The Spanish American War presented just such an opportunity to unite the country behind a common cause.
In 1898, Spain was trying to hold onto its remaining colonial interests around the world, including Cuba, the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico (Trask, 320). As a result of a revolt in Cuba, combined with American business interests in trade with Cuba, and the whipping up of anti-Spanish sentiment by American newspapers, a volatile situation was made worse. America also relied heavily on her “Manifest Destiny,” which was the belief that America was destined to take over the entire continent, from “sea to shining sea.” That belief included Cuba and Puerto Rico. While the U.S. And Spain were negotiating diplomatically to end the conflict, President McKinley sent the USS Maine to Havana harbor to protect American citizens and interests in the country.
On February 15, 1898, an explosion rocked the Maine, sinking her. An investigation took place by both sides and the U.S. Concluded the explosion came from underneath the ship. Aided by the sensational headlines in New York newspapers by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer (thus, the famous phrase, “Remember the Maine!”), America had her excuse to begin hostilities, and she declared war on Spain on April 21, 1898 (Beede, 120). The war took place in the Spanish imperial possessions of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam and Cuba. Such possessions were large parts of Spanish identity and pride, as Spain saw itself imparting religion and culture on its imperial possessions, and thus, the world. After four months of fighting in those fronts, and numerous defeats at the hands of the American fleet and soldiers, Spain pressed for a diplomatic end to the conflict. With the signing of The Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898, the war was over (Trask,445) . America gained almost all of Spain’s colonial entities, including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines (which led to the Philippine-American War a few months later) (Dolan, 102). The U.S. had jurisdiction over Cuba, and allowed Cuba to form its own government, supported by the U.S. Government (the U.S. Executed a perpetual lease for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which still plays a large role in world events today). Although relatively short and bloodless (most American deaths were attributed to Yellow Fever), the Spanish-American War is an important event in American history. It changed the fabric of our country to a truly “united” state. Since the Civil War, which ended in 1865, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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