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The Spanish-American War and Its Implications for the US

The greatest imperialist conflict of the United States, The Spanish-American War, was aimed to prove its sphere of influence. As a result, the USA expanded its territory by many colonies, gradually growing into one of the most powerful nations. The press showed idealistic pictures of blacks and whites, Southerners and Northerners struggling against a common enemy. However, new Hispanic residents consequently faced important problems of racial intolerance, social and economic inequalities.

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The conflict between the United States and Spain started with an explosion of the USS Maine on February 15, 1898. Even though Captain Sigsbee admitted he was not aware of the cause, the case initiated speculations in media with accusations of the Spaniards. After the investigations and discussions, Congress presented the resolution with a demand for Spain to leave Cuba with subsequent recognition of the independence of Cuba. The Spaniards declared war on April 23, 1898. The USA did the same on April 25. A well-prepared squadron led by Dewey successfully attacked the obsolete Spanish fleet based in the Philippines (the Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, 1898). The U.S. fleet conquered the Philippine archipelago but had to face the greater danger of Cuba and the Atlantic unit of the Spanish fleet.

During April of 1898, the National Guard pushed legislation for a large volunteer armed forces. The U.S. Army was aware of Cuban yellow fever and malaria and did not wait until summer. However, their success in the Cuba land campaign was rather chaotic and inconsistent. Admiral William T. Sampson’s squadron led the U.S. blockade of Cuba. The blockade was aggressive with the bombardments of San Juan and Puerto Rico and landing parties. Admiral Pascual Cervera Topete, with the troubles of cruisers’ engines and crew shortages, fled safely to the Santiago harbor. The Navy squadron under Sampson seized the lower end of Guantanamo Bay to blockade Cervera in Santiago Harbor with the electric searchlight and USS Merrimac’s sinking. The Battle of San Juan Hill was a crucial victory followed by siege warfare against Santiago. Then, Americans showed their advantage during the naval battle of Santiago (July 3, 1898). Finishing the job ashore, the USA finally got permission from Spain to get Santiago under the repatriation plan. With the fear of diseases by early August, the 5th Corps moved back to the United States, and the armistice was concluded on August 13.

I believe that the American’s most important advantage in this war was getting an enormous influence allowing it to play a determining role in global affairs. According to the video, the news of American success thundered worldwide (Jackson, 1998). Since the war, the USA has had a considerable influence in numerous conflicts around the globe and joined many treaties and agreements. The war helped to reshape national identity. As an advantage, the American fleet became a great power with its increasing personnel strength (Marolda, 2016). Its prestige attracted a large number of candidates to the recruiting office, including racial minorities.

The USA expanded greatly but experienced the debates of annexationists and anti-annexationists over the question that the imperialist’s politics was destructing the national ideal (Jackson, 1998). However, the annexation of the Philippines led to a long and devastating war against the Filipino nationalists. In addition, the annexation of Puerto Rico resulted in a growing Hispanic population of the USA (Charles, 2021). Puerto Rico’s sugar and tobacco industry and coffee production grew under American rule, but American people in business accumulated the lands formerly owned by local farmers. The racial equity issues became a burning problem: even nowadays, Hispanics still represent one of the most vulnerable categories showing poor results in various criteria evaluating the quality of life.


Charles, H. H. (2021). America’s dark history. Wipf & Stock Publishers.

Jackson, S. (Producer). (1998). The Spanish-American war. A&E Television Networks. Web.

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Marolda, E. (ed.). (2016). Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Navy and the Spanish-American War (2nd ed.). Springer.

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