Spanish-American War: Causes and Consequences
The Spanish-American War of 1898 was essentially the first war waged by the US since the Civil War. The war was precipitated by the destruction of a US battleship that had been stationed in Havana to protect American interests in the country, owing to widespread unrest. While the causes of the explosion that led to the ship’s destruction were disputed, the US held Spain responsibly. Another cause of the war was the desire by the US to prevent turmoil in Cuba. The US had economic reasons for wanting Cuba to remain peaceful since US businesses had made huge investments in the Cuban sugar industry. US President Grover Cleveland was forced to declare war on Spain on April 25, 1898, leading to an armed confrontation between these two Western powers.
This war, which was won by the US, had major political and social consequences. The war led to the independence of Cuba as Spain was forced to give up this colony after signing a peace treaty with the US in December 1898. As the loser in the war, Spain lost control of its colonies, and the US was able to purchase the former Spain colony of the Philippines. This represented the first acts of imperialism by America as it ruled over foreign countries. An outcome of the Spanish-American war was that the US became involved in a military confrontation with locals in the Philippines. After the US took over as the new ruler, some Filipinos tried to gain independence from the US through armed confrontations. While the US was able to eventually win control of the colony, the fight was expensive, and it cost the lives of many American troops.