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How did the Spanish American War make the United States a world power?

The US victory in the Spanish American War resulted in the Us gaining possession and/or control of many new territories. These and other territorial gains resulted in the creation of a new far flung empire.

Prior to the Spanish American War the United States gained control of the Hawaiian Islands. From the early 1800's American business interests had grown in Hawaii, a series of islands that remained independent. In time the Dole Family was the largest landowner and the Hawaiian Royal family more or less followed whatever they and the United States said. In the mid 1800's a new queen, Queen Liliuokalani gained control of the Islands and began to pass a series of anti American laws. As these laws hurt business the Dole's and other private American businessmen funded a revolution and took over Hawaii. The USS Boston, a US Battleship, sat in the Harbor making any Hawaiian resistance impossible. In 1895 Hawaii became a US territory.

The United States gained control of the following lands as a result of the Spanish American war.

1. Cuba

2. Puerto Rico

3. Philippines

4. Other islands as well but these are the important ones.

Not all areas were ruled in the same manner.

Protectorate: Areas that were given autonomy (but were "protected" by the US military.

Cuba was made a protectorate. As a matter of fact we were so interested in "protecting" Cuba that we inserted something called the Platt Amendment into the Cuban constitution. The Platt Amendment said that the United States had the right to intervene in Cuba's foreign affairs.

Commonwealth: Areas that were given limited self rule.

Territory: Areas that were possessed and run directly by the US

President McKinley justified the takeover of the Phillipenes (who wanted and expected independence) this way:

The Decision To Annex The Philippines

President William McKinley

When I realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps, I confess I did not know what to do with them. I sought counsel from all sides - Democrats as well as Republicans - but got little help. I thought first we would take only Manila; then Luzon; then other islands perhaps, also.

I walked the floor of the White House night after night...And one night late it came to me this way - I don't know how it was, but it came: (1) That we could not give them back to Spain - that would be cowardly and dishonorable; (2) That we could not turn them over to France or Germany, our commercial rivals in the Orient - that would be bad business and discreditable; (3) That we could not leave them to themselves - they were unfit for self government, and they would soon have anarchy and misrule worse then Spain's was; and (4) that there was nothing left for us to do but take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow men for whom Christ also died.

And then I went to bed...and the next morning I sent for the chief engineer of the War Department...and I told him to put the Philippines on the map of the United States...and there they are, and there they will stay while I am President!


The Spanish American war which was named the "Splendid Little War." In all only 460 American were killed and the result was a vast world wide empire.

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