To What Extent Was the Spanish-American War a Turning Point in the Development of American Foreign Policy?

1224 Words Jan 13th, 2013 5 Pages
Tp what extent was the Spanish-American War a turning point in the development of American foreign policy?

The Spanish-American War of 1898 could be seen as the pivotal point in foreign policy as it marks America’s first engagement with a foreign enemy in the dawning age of modern warfare however, one could also argue that the idea had always existed in American politics.

Until the end of the nineteenth century, American foreign policy essentially followed the guidelines laid down by George Washington, in his Farewell Address to the American people: “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is—in extending our commercial relations—to have with them as little political connection as possible.” By avoiding
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What impaired their independence was ultimately up to America and this gave the power to control Cuban affairs.

Another victory through the Treaty of Paris was the possession of the Philippines. Though the Filipino independence leader Emilio Aguinaldo had aided in the defeat of Spain in 1898, USA refused independence to the Islands and a vicious three year war ensued. A civil government was created after the capture of Aguinaldo under William Taft and this showed a drastic change in American foreign policy. They could no longer justify interference with the excuse of the islands being within its sphere of influence but McKinley argued that America had the role to “uplift and civilize and christianize [Filipinos] as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died." McKinley was either unaware or simply chose not to inform the people that, except for some Muslim tribesmen in the south, the Filipinos were Roman Catholics, and, therefore, already Christians. In reality, the annexation of the Philippines was the centerpiece of the "large policy" pushed by the imperialist cabal to enlist the United States in the ranks of the great powers.

The Spanish-American war gave the push that the American government needed to make a final decision over Hawaii. The Hawaiin Islands were known as the
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