The United States Post
Trouble Brewing in Cuba
During the 1800's, many Cuban's said that they wanted to rule their own country. They asked Spain for independence and the end of slavery. Spain refused to give them what they wanted. Now, Cubans are rebelling to get independence. They launched surprise attacks against Spanish forces. Spain forced thousands of Cubans into reconcentration camps. Many US citizens are supporting Cuban rebels because it is a struggle for freedom.
Americans Call for War with Spain
On February 9, 1898, the New York Journal published the de Lôme letter. The letter was written by Enrique Dupuy de Lôme and was being sent to his friend in Cuba. The letter was stolen from the mail and sent to newspapers. In the letter he criticized President McKinley, which offended many Americans.
On February 15, the USS Maine exploded. The battleship was in Havana harbor when it sunk. Many newspapers blamed Spain for the explosion. More than 260 sailors died from the blast. The sinking of the USS Maine and the de Lôme letter are two reasons to go to war with Spain. These events caused there to be more support for declaring war on Spain.
War with Spain
While Shafter was fighting in Santiago, Roosevelt's troops were fighting at Kettle Hill. Roosevelt's troops were called the Rough Riders. They were a volunteer cavalry regiment picked by Theodore Roosevelt. Other troops were fighting in San Juan Hill. The next week, the US captured Puerto Rico. On August 12, 1898, Spain agreed to a peace settlement.
Even though the war only lasted 4 months, the US still had a lot of casualties. About 5,500 Americans died from the war. Many of them died from tropical diseases.
The Treaty of Paris would give the US control of the Philippines and needed 2/3 of the vote to pass. There were opposing views on whether the US should pass it. The Anti-Imperialist League opposed the US controlling colonies. President McKinley was one of the supporters of the treaty. The US passed the treaty on February 6, 1899 with a vote of 57-27.
The Treaty of Paris also gave Cuba independence, but McKinley decided that the US should stay in Cuba to help them recover. They stayed in Cuba for 4 years. The US troops finally left in 1902 when Cuba passed the Platt Amendment. It allowed the US to interfere with Cuban affairs and to buy land for naval bases.