United States Politics and the 1898 War over Cuba

  • John Offner


Although one century removed from 1898, US historians still dispute the causes, results, and meaning of the war with Spain. Dissatisfied with earlier explanations and responding to criticism that traditional diplomatic history has been too confining, many historians today are broadening the approaches to understanding US imperialism.1 Some explore aspects of underlying ideology and others describe nongovernmental interest groups and organizations; these studies include race, class, revolution, mission, gender, and business. A few issues persist, such as the press, the Maine, political elites, and President William McKinley. After a brief review of recent scholarship, this chapter will examine three especially important facets of 1898 imperialism: the first of these, concentrating on some elements of the ideological background, provides evidence of the McKinley administration thinking that tends to confirm recent scholarship on imperialism; the second, centring on the growth of war sentiment, gives us an important insight into the causes behind the significant turning-point in US policy in March 1898; and the last, focusing on McKinley’s October 1898 decision to acquire the Philippine islands, provides us with vital data to understand the motivations behind US imperialism.


Foreign Market Military Intervention Military Officer Philippine Island Missionary Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

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  • John Offner

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