The Needless War With Spain
Near the turn of the century, America entered a war with Spain over the question of Cuba, the so-called "Ever Faithful Isle." According to William E. Leuchtenburg, Americans of the late 19th century felt compelled to aide the Cuban revolutionaries, despite their minimal knowledge of the situation. He also states that there was a strong imperialist feeling in the nation at this time. A coupling of aggressive American attitudes, and the desire to assist the Cuban revolutionaries, were what mainly caused the war according to Leuchtenburg.
During the 1890's, aspirations of holdings in foreign lands acquired through conquest stirred great fervor in Americans. The Navy was overhauled and battleships such as the Maine were commissioned. The United States very nearly went to war with Italy, Chile and Great Britain over minor incidents. The secretaries of state of this time period were extremely aggressive, and met trifling resistance within the public.
Spain, a nation weakened by revolutionaries throughout their empire in the west during the 1800's, was a prime target for the American aggression.
Goaded by the press, the nation realized that the Cubans were fighting for their independence against a cruel regime of Spaniards. The public had very romantic notions of the rebels but the truth was that they weren't very good for Cuba. They set the island and especially the cane fields afire under the orders of a ruthless guerilla, General Maximo Gomez. The rebellious activity went on for a number of years checked by even more ruthless Spanish generals. Many Cuban women and children died due to lack of hygiene and nutrition. These stories as well as falsified reports of pitched battles between the Cubans, fighting for their freedom, and the oppressive Spanish, whipped the American public into a frothing hoard of war...