5. Emergence of the Americas in Global Affairs 1880-1929

5. Emergence of the Americas in Global Affairs 1880-1929

The Spanish American War: Causes and Effects

• Spain had lost most of its colonies by the end of the 19th century, and only retained the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Cuba
• The United States has been interested in Cuba for a long time, and so when the Cuban people rebelled against Spain, American sympathy went to the Cubans.
• The rebellion was a failure, but slavery was abolished in Cuba, and so American capitalists began to invest millions of dollars in Cuban sugar cane plantations.
• In 1895, Jose Marti launched a second war for independence from Spain, which included destroying American-owned sugar mills and plantations. The goal was to provoke Americans to help achieve a free Cuba.
• Several factors helped to provoke war fever in America: the brutality of Spanish general Valeriano Weyler towards the Cubans, yellow journalism, the De Lome letter, and the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine.
• On April 20th, 1898, The United States declared war against Spain.


• The United States and Spain signed an armistice on August 12th, ending the war after only 15 weeks of fighting.
• On December 10th, 1898, met in Paris to agree on a treaty. At these peace talks, Spain freed Cuba and turned over the islands of Guam and Puerto Rico. Spain also sold the Philippines to the United States for $20 million.
• The treaty sparked a great debate in the United States over whether or not the United States had the right to annex the Philippines. People feared that the United States was becoming and imperialist nation.
• On February 6th, 1899, the senate approved the treaty of paris, and the United States now had an empire that contained Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines

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