The Spanish American War of 1898 Essay

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The Spanish American War of 1898

One hundred years ago, in 1898, the United States was fighting the Spanish-American War. The victory over Spain made the United States a colonial power. The Spanish colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, as well as the formerly independent nation of Hawaii, became American possessions. The excuse for entering the war was the rebellion by the Cubans against Spanish rule and the explosion of an American battleship U.S.S. Maine. The Spanish colonies in mainland North and South America became independent in the early 1800s, but Cuba and Puerto Rico remained Spanish. Many Americans in the U.S. sympathized with Cuba, which began in 1895, and also, maybe more importantly, U.S. citizens
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Before dawn on May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey's flagship Olympia led seven U.S. Navy cruisers and gunboats into Manila Bay. By 8 AM that morning Dewey's squadron had located and destroyed virtually the entire Spanish naval forces in the Philippines. Damage to the American ships was very little, and their crews suffered no fatalities and few injuries. The Battle of Manila Bay was a singular demonstration of the daring and decisive application of sea power. In a few hours, Dewey had eliminated any threat that the Spanish Navy might pose to U.S. Far Eastern commerce and placed Spain's centuries-long rule of the Philippines in great jeopardy. A few days later, with the capture of Cavite arsenal, he also gained a repair and refueling base, essential for maintaining his squadron under wartime conditions thousands of miles from home. On May 15, Theodore Roosevelt began training the famous Rough Riders for battles in Cuba, which brought him the fame that made him vice president in 1901 and then president on September 13 . In Washington, President McKinley received the news of the great battle. However, the battle of Manila did not end the war. 100 miles off the US coast is where Spanish held Cuba, by a substantial army, and hostile to American interests there. No naval force could impose on Cuba, and in order to force the Spanish out, a full scale invasion would have to be mounted. In 1897, Theodore
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