Spanish and American War - Research Paper Example

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  This research paper analyzes the role of President William McKinley in the Spanish-American War and his foreign and domestic policies that led to the war in April 1898. It was the explosion of USS Marine in the Havana Harbor that provoked the Americans against the Spanish…
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Download file to see previous pages  Cuba was at war with Spain for ten years that lasted till 1878. In that year, Spain assured the Cubans of colonial reforms, many of which never happened. Then in 1895, war broke out again and the three years of the war completely devastated the island. The idea of the Cuban insurgents was to make Cuba so unproductive that the Spanish would leave the island on their own accord. On the other side, Spain’s strategy was to get a quick victory by defeating the Cuban rebels, who were poorly armed and fought in groups. When this strategy failed, Spain separated the peasant population from the rebels. The Spanish army destroyed cattle and crops in the villages in order to sever the food supply of the Cuban rebels. Thus, during the war both Cubans and Spanish were responsible for the devastation of the island (Offner 50-51). After the Spanish-Cuban war, trade relations between US and Cuba deteriorated. The import-export firms and shipping lines began to pressure the government to negotiate with the Spanish for peace in Cuba. However, there was another group who invested heavily Cuban industries and sugarcane mills; they wanted an alliance with the Spanish to end the war. When McKinley became president in 1897, the US was recovering from economic depressions, and the businessmen felt that economic stability would be hampered by wars. Till the last moment of McKinley’s declaration of war, the government was cautioned against entering into a costly war. Then there was the general public of America who was instilled with an adverse opinion of Spain. They considered the Spanish as tyrannical rulers and hence supported the Cuban’s rebellion against the Spanish. The administration of Grover Cleveland believed that the Cuban insurgents would not stop their violence. He initially was in diplomatic favor of the Cubans but changed his attitude once the latter started destroying American property. He turned in favor of the war ending and Spanish control of the island. On the other hand, the Republican Party favored Cuban independence, and so when McKinley became the president, he was expected to work towards liberating Cuba from Spain. McKinley, however, was not in favor of taking any decision that would endanger the country’s economy. During that time, he became aware of Cuba’s depressing situation. The island’s agricultural economy was devastated. The Cuban civilians, including women and children, were in near death conditions. Cuba was in dilemma about evicting Spanish rule since the Cubans were not confident about self-governance. During this moment, McKinley decided that non-interference would not solve the problem (Offner 52-54). McKinley was in favor of sending shipments of arms to the Cuban insurgents at the risk of deteriorating relations with Spain. To avoid a war with Spain, McKinley then took a diplomatic step by warning the Spanish to end their tyrannical rule over Cuba. He gave them three months’ time, although he did not expect the Spanish to agree. Eventually, McKinley was almost prepared for a potential war. During this time, Praxedes Sagasta became the prime minister of Spain.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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