Why Did the United States Fight Spain in 1898? John Offner

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In 1898, the United States fought the Spanish-American War. The victory over Spain made the United States a colonial power. The Spanish colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, as well as the formerly independent nation of Hawaii, became American possessions. In 1895 civil war broke out in Cuba between Spain and the Cubans. The conflict was described by Senator Redfield Proctor of Vermont as bloody and brutal. American President Grover Cleveland and his successor William McKinley opposed the intervention but a series of events would push USA over the edge. The Sinking of the Maine - As tensions had increased the United States had sent its fleet to Cuba to protect American economic interests. On April 20, President McKinley approved a congressional resolution that called for immediate Spanish withdrawal from Cuba, and on April 24 war was declared by the Spanish government. On April 25 the U.S. Congress declared that hostilities had officially begun on April 21. Congressional resolutions affirmed Cuban independence and stated that the United States was not acting to secure an empire. Clearly this was not the case but the justification was necessary. The war was fought in the Spanish colonies of the Philippines and Cuba. On June 22, 1898, the United States landed 15,000 soldiers southeast of Santiago de Cuba. The troops engaged and defeated Spanish land forces July 1 around the city. Meanwhile, U.S. naval forces blockaded the harbor of Santiago de Cuba. Spanish ships tried to run the blockade as soon as the land engagements had begun, but pursuing American naval vessels sank or forced the fleeing ships aground. No serious damage occurred to any U.S. ships. The war lasted for nearly three months and United States almost won in all the clashes they had with the Spanish. With ever great loses Spanish army had to surrender and agree to McKinley’s terms.

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