Spanish American War Essay

583 WordsJan 23, 20123 Pages
Effects of the Spanish-American War The Spanish-American War signaled the emergence of the US as a great power onto the world stage of international relations and diplomacy. The war did not make the US a great power: the rapid industrialization and economic growth of the previous decades had done that. However, the war did announce to the rest of the world that the US was now a major player. Lifting its head from a century of isolationism and flexing its muscles against the Spanish, the US now transitioned to a vigorous role in world affairs. The war demonstrated a US move towards imperialism. In general, this shift in policy was quite surprising, since the US, once a colony itself, had generally opposed the European colonial habit. Before the Spanish-American War, Congress even passed the Teller Amendment promising that the US would leave Cuba independent. Yet during or just after the war, the US annexed Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to provide coaling stations for the US Navy throughout the world. There has been some debate among historians over whether 1898 was a rare moment of US imperialism or the beginning of a long period of informal imperialism accomplished through economic domination. The war also described a pattern extant through much of the 20th century: just as the Philippines and other annexed nations struggled against US rule, US interference in world affairs would not always be welcomed by the smaller nations that fell under Uncle Sam's increasingly tall shadow. The most immediate effect of anger over US interference lay in the 1899-1901 war waged by Emilio Aguinaldo and the Filipinos against the US, which was actually bloodier than the Spanish-American War itself. The war also revealed the growing power of the media to control public opinion in the US. Around the turn of the century and most powerfully just before and during

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