Interventionist America: The Spanish War Essay

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When America claimed independence from Great Britain and became a self-governing nation, one of the founding fathers’ most ardent desires, and indeed one of the foremost principles upon which the nation was founded, was isolation from the affairs of other countries. Having just turned their backs on the Old World, the new republic had no wish to become embroiled once more in the wars, alliances, and false-faces of Europe’s nations. Thomas Jefferson believed that, “[It is] fundamental for the United States, never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe.” Explaining the reasons for this necessary separation, he argued, “Their political interests…their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms …show more content…
pag.). Launched largely by government propaganda and flagrant yellow journalism, Cuba became grounds for major United States expansion into both the Caribbean and the Western Pacific. Victory also resulted in a Cuban Constitution open to wanton U.S. intervention and, additionally, overseas territories in the Pacific that provided an avenue for the spread of American agenda. In this vein, economic historian Richard Maybury contends that, “[The] Spanish-American War and conquest of the Philippines were the most important conflicts the U.S. has ever fought. They were small…but they were when Americans stopped thinking like the 1776 Sons of Liberty – and when they began thinking like the enemy that the Sons of Liberty were fighting, the Europeans” (Maybury, 130). The documentary Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War further examines this issue. “The new territory…enlisted the U.S. into the ranks of Europe's imperial powers--surely a difficult position for a nation not only founded in opposition to British imperialism, but also fostered on the tenets of the Monroe Doctrine, which asserted that Old and New World systems were so contrary that they should operate on different halves of the globe” (PBS, n. pag.). Though a minor war, this conflict set the precedent for American interference in global affairs that continues to haunt the

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