THESIS : " The United States didnít want to get involved in the Spanish-American War, but was dragged
into it due to yellow journalism, they wanted to control the seas, and wanted complete control over Cuba."

The Spanish-American War -

"The Splendid Little War"

Pia DeAngelis

Mr. Fishman

Period 7

For 113 days during the summer of 1898, the United States was at war with Spain. Neither the
president of the United States, nor his cabinet, nor the the queen of Spain, nor her ministers wanted the
war wanted the war. It happened eventhough they made their best efforts to prevent it. It happened
because of ambition, miscalculation, and stupidity; and it happened because of kindness, wit, and
resourcefulness. It also happened because some were indifferent to the suffering of the worldís wretched
and others were not (OíToole 17).

By winning the war the United States proved the the rest of the world and to itself that it could
and would fight against foreign nations. For many years, world power had been concentrated in the
countries in Europe. Nations such as Great Britain, France, Germany, and Spain had the most influence
in global affairs. But a shift in power was gradually taking place as the United States matured. The
young nation gained wealth and strength. Its population grew immensely, and many people believed it
would become a major world power (Bachrach, 11)

Spain was one of the many European countries that had territory in the United States. Spain
controlled mostly some islands off the coast of Central America. The most important of these were Cuba
and Puerto Rico. The United States was led to believe that the Spanish mosgoverned and abused the
people of these islands. In fact, Spain did overtax and mistreat the Cubans, who rebelled in 1868 and
again in 1895. Thus, the American people felt sympathetic toward the Cuban independence movement.

In addition, Spain had frequently interfered with trade between its colonies and the United States.

Even though the United States had been a trading partner with Cuba since the seventeenth century, Spain
sometimes tried to completely stop their trade with Cuba. In Spain doing so, this sometimes caused
damage to U.S. commercial interests. The United States highly disagreed with Spainís right to interfere
with this trade relationship. (Bachrach, 12)

The United States was also concerned that other trading and commercial interests were
threatened by the number of ships and soldiers Spain kept in the area. If the United States had to fight a
war with Canada or Mexico, these Spanish forces could quickly mobilize against the United States. U.S.
officials especially wanted Spanish troops out of Cuba because it lies only ninety miles of the coast of


Over the years, then, the United States built up a great deal of resentment toward Spain, although
it was unable to oppose such a powerful nation. At the same time, Spainís power was gradually
weakening. Its economy had declined, and its military ships and weaponary were antiquated and in
disrepair. Rapid political change toward the end of the noneteenth century further weakening Spainís
power. Because political parties were attempting to overthrow its monarchy, the Spanish government was
forced to devote many of its soldiers to defending the monarchy. As a result, there were fewer resources
available for defending its distant colonies around the world. The stage was set for the United States to
take stand against Spain. The United States didnít want to get involved in the Spanish-American War,
but was dragged into it due to yellow journalism, they wanted to control the seas, and wanted complete
control over Cuba (Bachrach, 13).

The American press played a major role in leading the United States into a war against Spain in

1898. The press aroused a nationalist sentiment to such a fever pitch that President McKinley came to
believe that if he did not fight the Spanish, he and his political party would suffer. This uproar was
stimulated by two giants of the American press world. During the entire course of the Cuban rebellion,
from 1895 to 1898, two rival newspapers foight their own war in the United States to gain supremacy in
the American newspaper market. Both were published in New York City, and both had enormous
national circulation and influence. These newspapers used the events in Cuba as a backdrop of their own
journalistic rivalry. By reporting events in Cuba in a biased, inaccurate, and inflammatory way, these
newspapers led the American public to demand that the quarrel with Spain be settled through war
(Bachrach 30).

The moment was ripe for a military spirit