An Empire is Won

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

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

President William

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.