Cause and Effect Essay on Spanish American War

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The Spanish-American War, which took place in 1898, was a significant event in the history of the United States. This cause and effect essay will examine the factors that led to the outbreak of the war and explore its consequences on both the United States and Spain.

Causes of the Spanish-American War

Cuban War for Independence

The Cuban War for Independence against Spanish colonial rule was a major catalyst for the conflict. The brutal treatment of Cuban rebels by Spanish forces garnered sympathy and support from the American public. Press coverage of events in Cuba, particularly the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor, fueled calls for intervention and added to the growing tensions between the United States and Spain.

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Yellow Journalism

Yellow journalism, characterized by sensationalized reporting and exaggerated stories, played a significant role in shaping public opinion and fueling anti-Spanish sentiment. Newspapers like the New York Journal and the New York World engaged in a war of words, publishing stories that depicted the Spanish as cruel oppressors and stirred public outrage.

Economic Interests

The United States had economic interests in Cuba, particularly its sugar industry. American business leaders and investors sought to protect their economic stakes in the region, leading to pressure on the U.S. government to intervene militarily.

Effects of the Spanish-American War

Acquisition of Territories

As a result of the war, the United States acquired several territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. This marked a significant expansion of American influence beyond its continental borders and established the United States as an emerging global power.

End of Spanish Colonial Rule

The defeat of Spain in the war marked the end of its colonial empire. Spain relinquished control over Cuba and ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. This marked a turning point in world history as it signaled the decline of Spanish imperialism.

Emergence of the United States as a World Power

The Spanish-American War played a crucial role in propelling the United States onto the world stage as a major power. The acquisition of new territories and the assertion of American influence in the Caribbean and the Pacific demonstrated the nation's ambition to expand its geopolitical reach.

Impact on U.S.-Cuban Relations

While the war led to the liberation of Cuba from Spanish rule, it also resulted in a complex relationship between the United States and Cuba. The United States intervened in Cuban affairs and maintained a significant influence over the island nation, which continued to shape their diplomatic relations for decades to come.

Impact on U.S.-Latin American Relations

The Spanish-American War and subsequent U.S. territorial acquisitions raised concerns among Latin American countries about American imperialism. The perceived interventionist policies of the United States created tensions and influenced the development of U.S.-Latin American relations in the twentieth century.


The Spanish-American War was driven by various causes, including the Cuban War for Independence, yellow journalism, and economic interests. Its effects were far-reaching, as it resulted in territorial acquisitions, the end of Spanish colonial rule, the emergence of the United States as a global power, and the reshaping of diplomatic relations in the Americas. The war's impact on American society, foreign policy, and international perceptions of the United States cannot be understated. It marked a significant turning point in American history and set the stage for the nation's future role on the world stage.

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Cause and Effect Essay on Spanish American War. (2024, March 31). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
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