Was the Spanish-American War Justified?

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Ron Keinan AP/IB U.S. History II Period 8 Heditsh 14 September 2012 Notebook Essay 1 Question: Was the U.S. justified in going to war in 1898? The United States was not justified in going to war with Spain in 1898. The nation was fighting with clear imperialistic intentions in mind; a majority of people saw the Spanish Empire as an obstacle to fulfilling the Monroe Doctrine and allowing American political and economic command over the entire Western Hemisphere, which made any possible chance to depose them feel necessary for progress. To that extent, many feared Spain would be detrimental to imports and exports because of their presence in the Caribbean Sea, which served as the main trade link between the U.S. and Latin…show more content…
and Spain. The falsified pieces of “evidence” of Spain’s belligerence towards America served as the central basis and, in many cases an excuse, for starting the war, which debases the call to arms even further. Many historians argue that the U.S. took the moral high ground during the war because they set out to end the suffering of the Cuban people at the hands of Spain, citing the crux of McKinley’s War Message. Although this may be true to some extent, the worst of the rebellion had ended by 1898 as the result of a ceasefire agreement and the departure of General Valeriano Weyler; therefore, American interference was needlessly invasive. Some also point to the Teller Amendment as counter-evidence against the imperialistic nature of the war, but, following the war, the Platt Amendment to the Cuban Constitution transformed Cuba from a truly independent nation into a puppet of the U.S. for enforcing the Monroe Doctrine on Europe’s empires. Moreover, the motive to free an oppressed Cuba fails to explain why the U.S. also took action to remove Spain from the Philippines, where no major rebellion was taking place. Although morality may have played some role, its motivational effect was far outweighed by the imperialism and hysteria factors. The major underlying reasons behind the Spanish-American War were simply extensions of the jingoism and slandering journalism trends in the U.S. during the late 19th century. Although the Spanish
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