Overall, the Spanish-American War was a victory for the United States and provided the nation with several benefits, including temporary control over Cuba, and the acquisition of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines as territories. Spain’s loss prompted a humanities renaissance in their country and the United States’ victory caused them to pursue territorial expansion. Despite this, there were some negative impacts of the war; Republican President William McKinley wanted to avoid the war in the first place. Many lives were lost and the United States was forced to take on a new role as a world power.
Although the long-term aftermath of the Spanish-American War was beneficial, some events that immediately followed the war remain sad moments in American history. Many of the new territories were not pleased to be under American rule. Between 1899 (one year after the war) and 1901, Emilio Aguinaldo led the Filipinos to war against the United States which caused American soldiers to suffer more bloodshed than they did in the Spanish-American War. In a sense, the United States’ desire to control small nationalist groups foreshadowed its involvement in Korea and Vietnam which were both unnecessary for America to fight. Additionally, the United States has had poor international relations with Cuba since the war’s occurrence.
The positive outcomes of the Spanish-American War outweigh the negative consequences. Roosevelt Franklin, one of the most effective presidents of this country was voted to power in part because of his heroic involvement in the war1. In addition, the end of the war signified a period of economic, population, and technological growth. During the war itself, black and white Americans came together to fight against a common enemy for the first time marking the beginning of the end of tensions from the Civil War. Lastly, it wasn’t difficult for the United States to finance the war and it thus didn’t have a significant impact on the economy; Congress passed an additional tax on long-distance phone service that only affected the wealthiest Americans at the time.
Henretta, James A. America’s History. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004.