Date of Award
Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)
In 1898 the United States went to war with Spain. The U.S.’s primary motivating issue was Cuban independence; however, far more than altruistic foreign policy interest motivated the United States to intervene in the struggle between the Spanish government and Cuban revolutionaries. Most historical accounts of the Spanish-American war offer similar analyses of the key causes of the conflict: poor treatment of Cubans in reconcentration camps by the Spanish, “yellow journalism”, protection of U.S. economic interests, expansionistic minded politicians, Spanish disrespect of U.S. President McKinley and the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine. A combination of all of these factors ultimately resulted in the United States going to war with Spain but the most influential factor to the U.S. public was the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine. Nothing motivates the U.S. citizenry to support a war more than retaliation for a direct attack on the U.S. (e.g. the bombing of Pearl Harbor followed by a declaration of war). The perception of a deliberate attack on the Maine pushed the United States to war.
Copyright 2007 Jon Boggs
Boggs, Jon, "Spanish-American War Causes and Consequences" (2007). Master of Liberal Studies Research Papers. 18.