Essay on American Intervention in Cuba and Puerto Rico

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End notes are missing from the paper.

To Secretary of State John Hay, the Spanish-American War was a "splendid little war", one that would bring tremendous benefit to those fortunate colonies liberated from Spain. For those places where the Spanish were forcibly expelled, there was nothing splendid about either about the war or its aftermath. To state simply that war is hell and that change is disruptive is merely to state the obvious. Beyond this, many U.S. historians have characterized the results of U.S. intervention and subsequent occupation of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines as a bequest, an opportunity to enjoy previously unknown individual liberties, political self-determination and potential economic prosperity. Other
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Unaided and lacking in broad popular support, it was a valiant effort that failed. In the retributions that followed, many Creoles were dispossesed of their land. With many of the Spanish owners bankrupt as well, substantial American investments began, estimated to be worth about $50 million by 1896. (1)

Demoralized, Cuban liberals clung to hopes of limited autonomy, while revolutionary hopes seethed below the surface. The Cuban Revolutionary Party was formed in 1892, with Jose Marti as its spokesman. It advocated a brief war with limited destruction, thus forestalling any U.S. involvement. It sought a republic that would ease social and racial inequalities and agricultural diversification to prevent domination by any foreign power. After two years preparation, a well-equipped expedition was ready, but three ships ready to leave Florida were detained by the U.S. government and their war material confiscated. It was too late to delay plans however, and the War for Cuban Independence began on 24 February 1895. Marti himself was killed three months later in battle. A lengthy war beginning to seem imminent, the Cuban patriots employ a slash and burn strategy to deny the Spanish the money to finance the
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