In 1868, Cubans first rebelled against Spain. Then, in 1895, the Cubans rebelled again after having their economy collapse.
José Martí and other Cubans living in the US wanted the US to intervene. They raised awareness through yellow journalism.
LA PATRIA LIBRE
I'm going to get people to want to go to war with Spain by exaggerating the Cuban story!
In early February 1898 a stolen letter arrived from Spain's ambassador, Dupuy de Lôme.
Spain sent one of their best generals, Valeriano Weyler and 150,000 troops to Cuba. To keep citizens from helping the rebels, they threw all of them into reconcentration camps. Over 200,000 Cubans died of disease and the awful conditions of the camps.
On February 15, 1898, an explosion sank the USS Maine, killing more than 250 US sailors.
When Riots broke out in Havana, President McKinley moved the USS Maine into Havana Harbor to protect the American citizens and property.
Theodore Roosevelt sent out several naval commanders to the Philippines. McKinley called all of them back except Dewey.
Dearest Spain, As a final attempt to make peace, I have sent you a list of demands for you to accept.1. Money to replace the USS Maine2. An end to reconcentration camps.3. Peace in Cuba4. Cuban Independence I hope this letter finds you in good health. Sincerely, US President McKinley
De Lôme's letter called McKinley weak! This caused an outcry from the public. Newspapers took the oppurtunity for more yellow journalism. Even though there is more of a call to war than ever, McKinley hesitates before attacking Spain.
On May 1, 1898, Admiral Dewey attacked the Spanish Pacific fleet at Manila Bay. He defeated their entire fleet in just seven hours.
Americans put the blame on Spain even though it is likely that it was an accidental fire setting off gunpowder. The New York Journal asked how long it will be before America goes to war. McKinley still hesitated despite this.
Admiral Dewey's job was to attack Manila Bay if war broke out in the Philippines. As a final attempt to make peace with the Spanish, McKinley sent a list of demands to the Spanish. However, the Spanish didn't accept all of them. McKinley sent a war message to Congress on April 11, 1898.
In December of 1898, Spain signed the Treaty of Paris bringing an end to the war and Cuban Independence. In exchange for 20 million dollars, the US obtained the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Pacific Island of Guam. The US has won the war!
Treaty of Paris
Theodore Roosevelt and the 1st Volunteer Cavalry marched up San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898. This group was made up of volunteer citizens. The Spanish fleet tries to escape, but the US sinks all of their ships.