The Spanish American War

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The Spanish American war was sparked by the Cuban Revolution. Cuba had been fighting for several decades to gain independence from Spain. In 1985, Cuban Nationalists rebels began burning sugar plantations, hoping to either persuade the Spanish government to give Cuba independence or to induce the United State’s aide. In response, the Spanish government sent General Valeriano Weyler, later to be nicknamed “The Butcher”, to Cuba with 50,000 troops to quell the rebellions. Thousands of Cubans were killed in concentration camps which General Weyler ordered to be built. News of Weyler’s violent oppression elicited the sympathy of the American public, who demanded their government for military intervention in Cuba. Although both Presidents Cleveland…show more content…
Newspapers such as John Pulitzer’s World and William R. Hearst’s New York Journal profited by publishing exaggerated reports of General Weyler’s horrifying treatment of Cubans. The low-cost of publications such as these made them available to a wide audience. Public outcry prompted the Spanish government to remove Weyler from his post in 1897, but by then tensions had already developed between Spain and the US. In February of 1898, the New York Journal printed an intercepted letter from Spanish minister, Dupoy de Lôme, to the US, which harshly criticized the president and outraged Americans. A week later, a U.S. battleship called the Maine which had been sent to protect American citizens in Cuba exploded in the Havana harbor. Although the cause is still uncertain, yellow newspapers spread the suspicion that the ship had been bombed by the Spanish in retaliation to Lôme’s letter. The U.S. government declared war with Spain in April of 1898. Yellow journalism aggravated relations between the US and Spain, eventually forcing them into war. National business interests also enticed the U.S. to declare war upon Spain. Revolutionary chaos within Cuba were detrimental to U.S. investments and trade, which in 1897 alone amounted to 27 million dollars. The rebel’s destruction of sugar plantations hurt not only Spanish, but American investors. Also, Cuba had been viewed for decades by many Americans as an opportunity for further Southern expansion. The control of an island so close to the Florida coast by Spain, equipped with a powerful navy, was a threat to the United
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