Causes and consequences of Spanish American war


Causesand consequences of Spanish American war

Atthe time of the Spanish American war, the United States went fromisolation to increased international involvement because thegovernment wanted to protect its business interests in Cuba. Theconsequences on America on that greater involvement made the world torecognize it as a super power and a major player in internationalaffairs. The Spanish American war spurred by the Cuban revolutionagainst Spain. The war that brought much significance in the societyof lasted less than 100 years resulting to over 4000 deaths. TheSpanish were not well prepared for the war hence, giving America aneasy avenue (Hendrickson, 2003).

Sympathyfor the Cuban revolution ran high in the United States, especiallybecause it had experienced ten years of war between 1868 and 1878 andthe 1985 revolt. Also noteworthy is that Cuba was only 90 miles fromFlorida, which made Cuba a nation impossible to ignore. Further, thejournalists exaggerated the situation of Cuba, something that madeAmericans to find favor with Cuba against Spain. Throughout the Cubanrevolution, journalists sensitized and fabricated stories about themistreatments of Cuba in an attempt to feed people with news daily.On the other hand, America was losing economically because theprolonged conflict made it almost impossible to trade with theCubans. The shipping companies that relied heavily on trade with Cubaencountered huge losses as the conflict ensued. Likewise, other USbusiness people had invested greatly in Cuba especially in the inCuban sugar. Business concerns pressured the American government tointervene and create stability for conducting businesses. In turn,the American government felt compelled to protect its business andavoid further losses.

TheAmerican Spanish is recalled for its effort to move America fromisolation to international involvement despite the controversies inplace. At the time, America had established non intervention orisolation policy as addressed by George Washington’s farewelladdress. Washington’s farewell address warned Americans againstforeign relations and the perils of forming permanent alliancesbetween the nation and other countries. His advice was that even ifthe nation should seek and promote justice and good relations withothers, it should not be greatly involved. He claimed that Americashould concentrate on their own affairs and leave the others that donot benefit them directly (President George Washington’s FarewellAddress, 1796). However, the isolated America become involved ininternational affairs because it felt that it was wise to protect itsbusiness interests in Cuba despite its earlier policy. The governmentcould not just sit and watch as American business people suffermultiple losses.

Afterthe Spanish American war, the United States extended its army toconquer Philippines, leading to American Philippine war. America wasconfident that Philippines were incapable of self rule and it fearedthat if it did not take control over the island, another powerfulnation would. The United States was confident of its powers and didnot hesitate to fight for three years leading to several Philippine’sdeaths. It conquered in this war because of its undeniably strongmilitary force with adequate supply of military equipment and controlover water ways. On the other hand, Pilipino forces had a weaker armythat suffered chronic shortages of weapons and the disadvantage ofgeographic complexity. The United States again proved to be a superpower nation with a strong military that was unconquered.

TheAmerican involvement in the Spanish American war marked a new beggingfor America society. It was the beginning of a super power countrythat had a great influence in the affairs of other countries. The USwas able to possess Cuba until 1903. It also gained control overGuam, Puerto Rico, which remains as an affiliate today. Further, ittook over Philippines from Spain and conquered its empire too. The USbecame a major military power and every country recognized it as apowerful nation. The impact of involvement and emergence of Americanas a super made it to extend its frontier. According to Turner(1893), America needed to extend its frontier to maintain andincrease its powers accordingly. The nation progressively triumphedin several wars that followed after showing its interests ininternational affairs. It became a major player in all the majoractivities and conflicts in other countries.

Thenation slowly conquered and controlled most of the world’sresources by expanding its wealth and technology. This trendessentially attracted other nations that continued to immigrate insearch for better standards of living a super power. Consequently,America had great influence over other nations a trend calledAmericanization. The United States impacted on the culture of othercountries such as the popular culture, political techniques, andbusiness practices. The immigrants into the United States wereinduced to assimilate American’s traditions, speech, ideals, andways of life. Due to its great economy and strong known army, Americawas able to persuade other nations and cultures and to think and actand think like them. The United States was fast growing andindustrialized by taking advantage of the immigrants who offeredcheap labor. America progressively conquered the world by its eminentculture and idealized powers.

Thenew name that the America acquired gave it the poise to take the roleof regional police. Unlike in the past where America did notintervene in other nation’s affairs, it now took a new role thatwould enable it to interfere in international affairs. Transcript ofTheodore Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (1905),declared that America would intervene to ensure other nations in thewestern hemisphere did not violate the rights of the United Statesand that they fulfilled their international creditor’s obligations.To put the corollary act, the United States increased military forceto restore stability of the nations and the region. Rooseveltdeclared that America would intervene in cases of wrongdoing orimpotence. The corollary extended its hand beyond the westernhemisphere to intervene in matters of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and theDominican Republic.

Evento date, the United States is still known as a super power. It alsocontinues with its role of international policeman in many aspects.Since the Spanish American war, the United States has progressivelygained popularity in international conflicts. It has interfered inseveral wars even when it has no specific interest in a conflict.Although there are claims that it only supports nations for its ownself interests, its role in international conflicts cannot beignored. The name super power that it gained since the SpanishAmerican war and other wars that succeeded has led to Americanizationthat is eminent up to date. As such, the Spanish American war can betermed as the beginning of America in playing a great role ininternational relations (Stead, 1902).


Hendrickson,K. E. (2003). TheSpanish-American War.Westport (Connecticut: Greenwood Press.

PresidentGeorge Washington’s Farewell Address (1796). Retrieved from

Stead,W. T. (1902). TheAmericanization of the world: Or, The trend of the twentieth century.New York: H. Markley.

Transcriptof Theodore Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe doctrine (1905).Retrieved from

Turner,F. (1893). The significance of the frontier in American history.