Spanish-American War


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American War of 1898 lasted only a few months. It resulted in a U.S. victory that not only ended Spain's colonial rule in the Western Hemisphere but also marked the emergence of the United States as a world power, as it acquired Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. theodore roosevelt's military exploits in Cuba catapulted him onto the national stage and led to the vice presidency and, ultimately, the presidency.

The conflict had its origins in Spain's determined effort in the 1890s to destroy the Cuban independence movement. As the brutality of the Spanish authorities was graphically reported in U.S. newspapers, especially Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal, the U.S. public began to support an independent Cuba.

In 1897 Spain proposed to resolve the conflict by granting partial autonomy to the Cubans, but the Cuban leaders continued to call for complete independence. In December 1897, the U.S. battleship Maine was sent to Havana to protect U.S. citizens and property. On the evening of February 15, 1898, the ship was sunk by a tremendous explosion, the cause of which was never determined. U.S. outrage at the loss of 266 sailors and the sensationalism of the New York press led to cries of "Remember the Maine" and demands that the United States intervene militarily in Cuba.

President William McKinley, who had originally opposed intervention, approved an April 20 congressional resolution calling for immediate Spanish withdrawal from Cuba. This resolution precipitated a Spanish declaration of war against the United States on April 24. Congress immediately reciprocated and declared war on Spain on April 25, stating that the United States sought Cuban independence but not a foreign empire.

The war itself was brief due to the inferiority of the Spanish forces. On May 1, 1898, the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in the Philippines was destroyed by the U.S. Navy under the command of Commodore George Dewey. On July 3, U.S. troops began a battle for the city of Santiago, Cuba. Roosevelt and his First Volunteer Cavalry, the "Rough Riders," led the charge up San Juan Hill; he emerged as one of the war's great heroes. With the sinking of the Spanish fleet off the coast of Cuba on July 3 and the capture of Santiago on July 17, the war was effectively over.

An Armistice was signed on August 12, ending hostilities and directing that a peace conference be held in Paris by October. The parties signed the Treaty of Paris on December 12, 1898. Cuba was granted independence, and Spain agreed to pay the Cuban debt, which was estimated at $400 million. Spain gave the United States possession of the Philippines and also ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States. Many members of the U.S. Senate opposed the treaty, however. They were concerned that the possession of the Philippines had made the United States an imperial power, claiming colonies just like European nations. This status as an imperial power, they argued, was contrary to traditional U.S. foreign policy, which was to refrain from external entanglements. The Treaty of Paris was ratified by only one vote on February 6, 1899.

Further readings

Crawford, Michael J., Mark L. Hayes, and Michael D. Sessions. 1998. The Spanish-American War: Historical Overview and Select Bibliography. Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, Dept. of the Navy.

Hendrickson, Kenneth E. 2003. The Spanish-American War. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

Rosenfeld, Harvey. 2000. Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish-American War of 1898. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

Zimmermann, Warren. 2002. First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

References in periodicals archive ?
After the Spanish-American War, a board composed of Army, Navy, and Marine officers recommended that all branches of the armed forces standardize on the .
Perez says the Spanish-American War triggered an intense debate in the United States about what some saw as the contradiction between American democracy and intervention in the affairs of other countries.
The image of Teddy Roosevelt, the purest American loyalist, charging up San Juan Hill to liberate Cuba from the malicious Spanish regime is insufficient to capture the total picture of the complex political, military, and strategic confluence that led to the Spanish-American War.
Beginning with the ouster of Hawaii's monarchy in 1893, and continuing through the Spanish-American War, the Cold War, and the "war on terror," the United States has deposed governments in fourteen foreign countries.
The JB had been formed in 1903 as one of the reforms after the Spanish-American War (with the Navy's General Board and the Army's General Staff and War College).
The book begins with the Puritans and ends with the outbreak of the Spanish-American war.
As DePalma gently observes, the foreign correspondents of the last century who wrote with the greatest passion--Richard Harding Davis on the Spanish-American War, John Reed on the Russian Revolution, Ernest Hemingway on the Spanish Civil War, Edgar Snow on Mao's Long March, Norman Mailer on Vietnam--were "not necessarily those most anchored to the truth.
Army Infantry Tactics, published in 1874, which remained in use until after the Spanish-American War of 1898.
The federal excise tax on long-distance phone calls, which began as part of the Spanish-American War effort in 1898, was repealed in May by the U.
The war is over--the Spanish-American War, that is.
But the federal tax -- initiated in 1898 to fund the Spanish-American War -- is finally being scrapped.
Dickerson, a journalist, charts a narrative history of yellow fever in the US, from its first epidemic in 1793, in Philadelphia to attacks in New Orleans, Memphis, and Mississippi, as well as during the Spanish-American War.