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What Were the Causes of the Spanish/American War & What Difficulties Did the U.S Experience

Causes of the War

The Spanish-American War of 1898 resulted from America’s intrusion in Cuba’s struggle of independence from the Spanish government. Though it looked like a humanitarian activity, USA had commercial interests in Cuba and Philippines. As such, the conflict between these nations was due to nationalism and commercialism aspects[1]. Cuba and Philippines were significant market-junctions for America in its operations with countries in Asia and South America. It had also invested heavily in Cuba and had to protect its assets at all costs. Although President McKinley was hesitant in approving this fight, pressure mounted from the political dome, and he had to give in to their demands. Moreover, nationalism played a role in triggering the clash. America sought recognition as the most powerful nation globally and saw this as an appropriate avenue.

The US government intended to spread its culture on Anglo-Saxony in various parts of the world. Likewise, it considered itself as the country with the most advanced culture; hence, it had to outdo Spain in the control of Cuban affairs[2]. The constant propaganda from the media further weakened the relation between these disagreeing nations. This was mainly by the Yellow Press in America. Several articles from this media house provided unsubstantiated reports about the condition in Cuba due to Spain’s actions. Thus, the American government felt obliged to save the Cubans from this situation. The sinking of America’s war ship in Havana Harbor increased their motivation to fight Spain[3]. This accident led to the death of several US military personnel. Despite the Spanish government’s call for negotiations, America was ready to protect its assets with all its might.


            The American military faced several challenges at the onset of this battle. To start with, it lost a number of its military men after one of its warships sank in Havana Harbor. Most Americans blamed the Spanish government for this accident that occurred after unknown people ignited an explosion on the ship[4]. The US military had sent the ship containing several members of the armed forces to control riots experienced in the area. Various American media houses published this incident and incited the public against Spain. This accident agitated the American military and citizens and increased their motivation to revenge on Spain. In addition, the US military attacked Manila, a city in Spain, against the signed agreement. The Spanish and American governments had signed an accord to stop the conflict, though the military was unaware.

This attack infuriated the Philippines thus intriguing the Philippine-American War. The resultant fight turned out to be more intense than the Spain-American War in terms of loss of lives and assets. Moreover, the members of the American armed forces suffered from various diseases. With the area being an island, they had to put up with mosquitoes. Many military personnel suffered from mosquito-related ailments such as malaria. Moreover, yellow fever attacked several of these representatives. Nonetheless, the plea of these officers to be withdrawn from the fight was not considered thus weakening the American force. After many of its members fell sick, the US forces evacuated from this area. However, the black members of the team remained behind since people considered them as being immune from such illnesses.

Reasons for Victory

Several factors played a role in America’s victory during the Spanish-American War. For example, US determination was hugely influential. They were willing to reach all heights in order to protect their investments in the Cuban territory. They had put in a lot of money in this region and were not ready to let go of it for whatever reason. At the same time, America viewed Cuba as a gateway to Asian and south American markets. These commercial interests increased their motivation of winning the fight against the Spanish government.

Moreover, America was full of vengeance after the submerging of its war ship. Investigators linked this accident to the Spanish government, and this made them eager to avenge the death of their military officers. The media also had a role to play in America’s victory. The Yellow Press constantly addressed Spain’s oppression on Cuban citizens. Though their remarks were true, they used phrases that triggered strong emotions among the American nationals. Consequently, the citizens pressed their government to engage the Spanish government in order to save the Cuban society from these conditions.

On the other hand, influential politicians pressured President McKinley to offer humanitarian aid to Cuba and at the same time protect America’s assets from Spain’s invasion. Despite the president’s hesitance, he had to give in to their pleas. Likewise, America was yearning for recognition as the most powerful nation on earth. They had to prove themselves to the whole world, and this acted as an appropriate opportunity. They put all their efforts in winning this battle in order to attain the gains that would accompany their victory. They transported many members of the military in various regions of Spain in order to capture the nation. Moreover, they possessed sophisticated weapons and well trained officers that aided in their victory.
























Taylor, Alan. 2001. American colonies. New York: Viking.

Trask, David F. 1981. The war with Spain in 1898. New York: Macmillan.




[1] Allan Taylor, American colonies (New York. Viking, 2001), 67.


[2] Ibid., 77.


[3] Ibid., 90.

[4] David F Trask, The War With Spain in 1898 (New York: Macmillan, 1981), 97.

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