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The Spanish American War (1898-1901)

Key Terms and Events

Terms

Anti-Imperialist League  -  A group including such luminaries as William James and Mark Twain that argued against to combat American imperialism. Disliked the American annexation of Spanish territories.
Coaling Station  -  Coaling Stations were necessary in the late 19th century so that steamships that burned coal could refuel en route. A worldwide navy (that could protect worldwide trade interests) required worldwide coaling stations. The need for coaling stations was one of the reasons the US annexed several islands during and after the Spanish American War, especially Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines.
Foraker Act  -  1900 Act providing a civil government for Puerto Rico; a main goal of the act was to prepare Puerto Rico for free trade with the US. It gave most power in Puerto Rico to US-appointed officials.
Insular Cases  -  A series of Supreme Court cases in 1901, in which the Court ruled that the Constitution and American laws did not all necessarily apply to colonies. Instead, Congress would decide which laws applied where, allowing the US to keep citizenship out of the grasp of the inhabitants of its new territories.
Insurrectos  -  Cuban Nationalists who fought against Spain's colonial regime in Cuba.
Jingoism  -  An attitude of wildly enthusiastic, often excessive nationalism. Often, jingoists or jingoes push for war with other countries.
Platt Amendment  -  1901 amendment to the Cuban constitution by which the US was allowed certain concessions, including the right to indefinitely maintain Guantanamo naval base in Cuba.
Rough Riders  -  A group of cavalry volunteers in the US Army who fought in the Spanish-American War. Although termed the Rough Riders, most of their horses did not arrive in Cuba, and the Rough Riders actually walked. The group was led by Colonel Leonard Wood, with Lieutenant-Colonel Theodore Roosevelt also leading a contingent. The Rough Riders made a heroic charge up San Juan Hill that cost them heavy casualties.
Teller Amendment  -  A resolution by Congress in 1898 promising to grant Cuba independence after the war. The Teller Amendment provided the US with justification for its actions while allaying fears that the war was simply an imperialist land grab.
USS Maine  -  American warship sent to patrol Cuban waters at the beginning of 1898. When the ship mysteriously exploded on February 15, 1898, it gave the US a final reason to go to war, even though the cause of the explosion is still debated today.
Wilson-Gorman Tariff  -  This tariff passed by Congress in 1894 restricted US sugar imports. The tariff led to an economic downturn in Cuba, and in turn helped to increase the anger of Cuban natives against colonial Spain.
Yellow journalism  -  The type of sensationalist (sometimes fictitious) journalism practiced by newspapermen such as Hearst and Pulitzer in order to boost circulation.

Events

Battle of Manila  -  On May 1, 1898, Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet at Manila in a surprise attack in which not a single American was killed. The Spanish ships were old and rotting, and were defeated easily by the newer American steel ships.
San Juan Hill  -  On July 1, 1898, the Rough Riders, supported by two black regiments, charged this hill. Although the Rough Riders took heavy casualties, the public saw the charge as a success.
Treaty of Paris  -  Signed on December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris officially ended the Spanish- American War. According to the Treaty, Cuba went free, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines were ceded to the US, and the US agreed to pay Spain an indemnity of $20 million.