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The Reasons for War in 1898 - Essay Example
The roots of the Spanish-American War of 1898 were planted decades earlier in a popular notion known as Manifest Destiny. Though there was not an official policy of expansionism, Americans were acculturated to the idea that it was their right, if not duty, to spread westward and outward…
Yet, had our only mission been to spread Christianity, freedom, and democracy throughout a world ruled by oppressive monarchies, Americans would have soon lost interest. The flames of American Imperialism were stoked by many diverse interests. Economics, religion, and political vision conspired in the late 19th century to spark the Spanish American War of 1898.
The vision of the United States as an Asian power originated in the post colonial period. The U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838 described three great island nations in the Pacific. These ports, Pago Pago, Manilla, and Pearl Harbor initiated the vision of America's quest for a presence in the Pacific. In 1878 the United States acquired a naval base in Pago Pago through an agreement with Great Britain and Germany, and by the end of 1898 the U.S. government controlled all the above mentioned harbors.2
Frederick Jackson Turner's analysis that liberty and individualism had depended on the existence of a moving frontier into contiguous land. Turner believed that an ever-expanding frontier was necessary for the growth of the nation. Stromberg contends that, "With the disappearance of the frontier in the 1890s, a substitute frontier had become necessary to preserve the American way of life"3. Foreign markets became the frontier that had been exhausted on the mainland. ...