The Spanish American War of 1898

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The Spanish American war which took place in 1898, proved to be a turning point in the history of the United States, qualifying the country as a world power. The war ultimately remolded the country’s foreign policy as a result of reforming the nation’s interests in demonstrating humanity and morality as its norms. The war against Spain was not merely due to America’s desire to aid Cuba in receiving their independence; however, it was a result of the constant controversies that existed between the two countries, which finally reached its tipping point after the explosion of the USS Maine battleship. The war and all events that followed it, continuously showed US to be an imperialistic and capitalistic nation, with only concern for itself.

There were many emerging philosophies that led to the eventual confrontation with Spain, most of which were due to America’s personal interest. With the end of the Civil War, America’s main concern was expanding its borders. Once it had gained all the land from ocean to ocean, up to Canada and down to Mexico, the drive of manifest destiny led to seeking colonies in the Pacific and Caribbean. Additionally, ideas presented by Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, Founder of the Naval War college and author of books based on the “influence of sea power upon history,” began to seep into the desirous minds of Americans. They yearned to adapt Mahan’s idea which suggested the need to build a powerful maritime force, both naval and commercial, in order for the US to rise against all in such a competitive world. He also suggested expanding the country’s trade by increasing oversea markets for American goods.
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Building upon the desires of manifest destiny and the influences of Mahan’s ideas, Americans also aspired to spread Christianity and democracy, contributing to this age of “neo-imperialism.” They did not want to entangle themselves in any existing tensions, but felt that it was fine to be actively involved in ongoing world affairs. With the Monroe Doctrine in play, preventing interference of European countries into the Latin Americas, the US was ready to throw out its net and see what it could pull in.

Around this time, the Cubans were seeking independence from Spain due to the ...

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