Commercialism played the most important role in starting the Spanish American War. The US needed Cuba and the Philippines because they were essential to trade and business. American business had an investment of about $50 million in Cuba and an annual trade stake of about $100 million. Senator Lodge said that whoever has control of Cuba will be able to control the entire Gulf of Mexico, which was important because Cuba was in the direct line of the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal was a key feature to the US Navy, so a base was needed in the Caribbean in order to protect it. A free and independent Cuba would help the US because it could put a naval base there. The overseas market was also important to trade and business with other countries. By getting control of the Philippines, the US would form commercial relations with countries in Asia. Raw materials that originated from Cuba and the Philippines were...
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...ish American War. For the main part, racism only took place in the Philippines. The US thought that it was the main duty of a wealthy nation to help them. It was said to be the “white man’s burden.” The US entered the Philippines because it thought that it was superior in every way. William Taft referred to the Filipinos as “our little brown brothers.”
Actions taken in Cuba and the Philippines could not and did not give equal weight as a motive to commercialism, nationalism, humanitarianism, and racism. Trade and business in the United States motivated the war. The US also wanted to emerge as an imperialistic power and saw a great opportunity to take over other lands. In analyzing all of the facts, it is clear that nationalism, the desire to be a world wide power, and advance commercial interests were the primary factors that led to the declaration of war on Spain.
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