In 1868 and 1895 Cuba rebelled against Spain. Cuba urged the USA to help them but the USA refused. In return, Cuba burned all of the US's Sugar Crop Plantations.
McKinley and Peace
On February 15, 1898 and explosion sank the U.S.S. Maine killing 250 American soldiers. US citizens believed Spain did it.
Demands to Spain
1. Money for the Maine2. And end to the reconcentration camps3. A truce in Cuba4. Cuban Independence
Yellow Journalism is a way of exaggerating a story. This is exactly what happened during the Spanish American War.
Splendid Little War
Although the people of the US wanted war, President McKinley still wanted peace, but when a stolen letter from a Spanish Ambassador called McKinley "weak and a bidder for the admiration of the crowd," McKinley needed to do something.
To try and avoid war, McKinley sent a list of demands to the Spanish. The Spaniards agreed to all of them except for the last one.
When war ensued, the USA won without too many casualties. Spain gave up 20 million dollars and the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam in the Treaty of Paris to the USA. Those places became "unincorporated" territories of the US.