Causes of the Spanish American War

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How can yellow journalism influence public opinion? To help understand yellow journalism and its origin, reference the following web site:

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“Causes of the Spanish American War”

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What is yellow journalism?

The Spanish American War was a 4 month conflict fought between Spain and the United States in 1898. The United States declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898. What caused the Spanish American War? How does yellow journalism fit in?

Cause 1: Reconcentration Camps

Cuba was a Spanish colony that rebelled in 1868. The rebellion failed after 10 years. In 1895 Cuba launched a second revolt. Spain sent a new governor, General Valeriano Weyler, to rule Cuba and end the revolt. In 1896, General Weyler implemented the first wave of the Spanish “Reconcentration Policy” that sent thousands of Cubans into detention camps. The objective was to separate the rebelling Cubans from the noncombatant population. Under Weyler’s policy, the rural population had eight days to move into designated camps located in fortified towns; any person who failed to obey was shot. The housing in these areas was typically abandoned, decaying, roofless, and virtually uninhabitable. Food was scarce and famine and disease quickly swept through the camps. By 1898, one third of Cuba’s population had been forcibly sent into the concentration camps. Over 400,000 Cubans died as a result of the Spanish Reconcentration Policy.

Colon Cemetery, Havana, Cuba, 1898 225,000 Cuban civilians died in 18 months 1896-97

What was the relationship between Cuba and Spain? Who was General Valeriano Weyler? What did General Valeriano Weyler do those who opposed Spanish rule? How do you think Americans felt about the actions in Cuba?

Cause 2: Cuba’s Close

Proximity to the US How far is Cuba from the United States? What types of activities did Americans engage in with Cuba, since it was so close? Knowing how close the US and Cuba are, how do you think the rebellion in Cuba made the Americans feel?

Cause 3: The Explosion of the USS Maine

February 16 1898: Battleship U.S.S. Maine Explodes. At 9:40pm on February 15, 1898, the battleship U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, killing 268 men and shocking the American populace. The Maine had been in Havana since January 25, 1898, on an official observation visit. In the American press, headlines proclaimed “Spanish Treachery!” and “Destruction of the War Ship Maine Was the Work of an Enemy!” William Randolph Hearst and his New York Journal offered a $50,000 award for the “detection of the Perpetrator of the Maine Outrage.” Many Americans assumed the Spanish were responsible for the Maine’s destruction. On March 28, 1898, the United States Naval Court of Inquiry found that the Maine was destroyed by a submerged mine. Although blame was never formally placed on the Spanish, implication was clear. Recent research suggests that the explosion may have been an accident, involving a spontaneous combustion fire in the coal bunker. Some conspiracy theorists have even suggested that sensational journalist William Randolph Hearst may have set the explosion in order to precipitate a war. While historians will never know exactly what happened the night the Maine went down, it is clear that the incident was a significant force that propelled the United States into the Spanish-American War.

What ship is shown in the picture above? To what country did this ship belong? How do think the destruction of this ship affected Americans?

Yellow Journalism Examples

USS MAINE BLOWN UP: MANY YOUNG SAILORS DROWN DUE TO SPANISH TREACHERY read the front page headline from the New York Evening World on February 17, 1898.1 While on the day after, the Pittsburgh Gazette printed a much more cautious headline, MAINE EXPLODES: PRESENTLY EXPLOSION UNDER INVESTIGATION. Which headline is yellow journalism? Explain. Why do you think people believe yellow journalism? You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war William Randolph Hearst Explain this quote

TASK: As a group, create a newspaper in the style of yellow journalism. You need to use the template included. You are to locate photographs and write articles designed to sway people against the Spanish, which would lead to the onset of the Spanish American War. Consider the writing style and word choice in your writing to sway Americans against the Spanish and help start a war.

Create a title for your newspaper Insert map of Cuba with caption

Insert yellow journalism article on Cuba-US relations here Insert photo here of reconcentration camps with caption

Insert yellow journalism article on reconcentration camps here

Insert photo here of the destruction of the USS Maine with caption Insert yellow journalism article on the destruction of the USS Maine

Insert political cartoon about yellow journalism and the Spanish American war here

Insert explanation of political cartoon about yellow journalism and the Spanish American war here

Closure: Does yellow journalism influence public opinion today? Explain.

Yellow journalism in modern press:

Did you like this example?

Cite this page

Causes of the Spanish American War. (2019, Aug 16). Retrieved December 10, 2022 , from

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