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The Spanish American War Essay

1049 words - 4 pages

"You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war!" That quote is one of many that are identified with the Spanish-American War. The Spanish-American War in 1898 was a manipulated war by forces of the New York press, imperialistic supporters and independence-minded humanitarians to achieve its goal of pushing America head long into conflict with Spain and inevitably place America on the world stage of imperialism.To begin with, we are lead to believe that the United States government didn't want to get involved in the Spanish-American War, but were dragged into it due to the "yellow journalism" prevalent at that time. By 1895, after a previous "Tens Years War" from 1868-1878, Cuban rebels, or "insurgents", took up arms again with the hope that word of their fight against Spain might cause American intervention and lead to victory. "During an era when news correspondents doubled as adventurers and heroes," ('Democratic Imperialism,' Joan Waugh's Gilded Age Homepage.) New York's two biggest publishers, William Randolph Hearst and Joeseph Pulitzer, picked up the cause of Cuba's revolution and used their sensationalized journalism to gain support for the rebels, but more importantly, to sell newspaper. The press began to print any story it could find about the events in Cuba as the papers of these times, especially Hearst, became associated with the new, colorful but irresponsible approach to journalism known as yellow journalism.Cuban nationalists established headquarters in New York City intent to play on American sentiments and gain assistance from the United States. New York Journal publisher Hearst and New York World publisher Pulitzer, recounted the tales of the horrors inflicted on the natives of Cuba in New York's two biggest newspapers. Daily tales of the atrocities being committed upon the people of Cuba not only increased sales of Hearst's Journals and Pulitzer's World, but raised awareness and growing sentiment for the liberation of Cuba from Spanish rule. But Hearst didn't stop there as he sent reporter Richard Harding Davis (along with artist Frederic Remington) over to Cuba who reported how "[the civilians] are now to suffer because General Weyler, finding that he cannot hold the country as he can the towns, lays it waste and treats those who lived there with less consideration" (Richard Harding Davis, Cuba in War Time, p.50) Whether or not the news was verified, it was presented as completely true and step-by-step, the press heightened the American sense of outrage at reputed Spanish brutality toward the Cuban rebels. A reporter claimed that Pulitzer, in fact, had said that he "rather liked the idea of war-not a big one-but one that would arouse interest." ('Democratic Imperialism,' Joan Waugh's Gilded Age Homepage.) Despite having rebels living among them in New York, as well as having two of New York's biggest papers campaigning their cause, the turning point in America's isolationist attitude toward Spain's rule of Cuba was...

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