The Spanish-American War and Its Consequences

The United States was unprepared for war. The U.S. Army was underequipped and undertrained. The Navy had not yet grown into a powerful force. The US troops arrived in the Cuban heat wearing heavy woolen uniforms. There was not enough food for the soldiers. The one big military advantage that the United States had was that Spain was even less ready for war.

Battle of Manila Bay

Before the Panama Canal was built, powerful nations maintained naval forces in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. The major portion of Spain's Pacific fleet was located in the Spanish Philippines at Manila Bay. U.S. Admiral George Dewey arrived in the Philippines before war was declared, putting him in good position to strike. When given the order to attack on May 1, 1898, the American navy was ready. The Spanish fleet was larger than the American navy, but the U.S. steel ships destroyed Spain’s old wooden ships.

Treaty of Paris

In the Treaty of Paris, the United States received the Philippines and the islands of Guam and Puerto Rico. Cuba won its independence, and Spain was awarded $20 million dollars for its losses. Anti-imperialists in the United States claimed the country was hypocritical for condemning European empires while pursuing one of its own. The war was supposed to be about freeing Cuba, not seizing the Philippines. But President McKinley's expansionist policies were supported by the American public, who seemed more than willing to pay a price for their new expanding empire.

Source: The Spanish-American War and Its Consequences
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