Spanish-American War Essay

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The Spanish-American War The Spanish-American War (1898) is viewed by many to have been the first indication of America’s imperial ambitions – however, historical conflict persists when viewing the nature of this imperialism. Some view it as a state-directed form of expansion; others as adhering to a sinister ‘military-industrial complex’; some consider it an explosion of jingoism. The investigation does not focus merely on whether American intervention in Cuba, and its concurrent declaration of War on Spain, was imperialistic; I also seek to examine how different schools of thought – Revisionist, Economic, Marxist and Cultural – characterise this imperialism and explain its contribution to war’s outbreak. The question developed from contemporary concerns of American imperialism, and personal interest in foreign affairs – cultivated from my brief consideration of a political career. Furthermore, I hoped to explore an issue of contemporary significance. Thus, the combination of my political interest, my desire to explore the roots of American imperialism and my wish to sift through differing historical perspectives was responsible for the development of the question. Considering the period I am exploring, it has been necessary to include a wide array of sources. There is an abundance of secondary sources – particularly books and articles – that report on the nature of the war, such as Niall Ferguson’s Colossus: The Rise and Fall of American Empire, and William Appleman Williams’ The Tragedy of American Diplomacy. However, to explore the mentality of the time, primary sources have been indispensable – thus, I have utilised old newspaper headlines (dating back to 1896) from such publications as The New York Journal and The New York World, and political cartoons from such magazines as Puck, to strike the adequate balance between utilising sources of differing

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