Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War & the Dawn of the American Century

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Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War & the Dawn of the American Century

Author: Ivan Musicant
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Copyright: 1998
Pages: 768
Cover Price: $ 35.00

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On the centennial of the Spanish-American War, the short and confusing conflict receives comprehensive treatment in a narrative of more than 600 pages. At the close of the 19th century, Americans were looking outward at the world. In a precursor to the foreign involvement of the next century the U.S. Navy found itself fighting in the Philippines, and the infantry (and Theodore Roosevelt's volunteer cavalrymen) entered combat (and battle illness) on the island of Cuba. The Spanish-American War has often been overlooked as an oddity, but those who want to understand its role in American history now have access to what may stand as the definitive history of the war that led to the United States being regarded as a world power.

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Background Information

The Spanish-American War was a militarily easy conquest by the United States to eliminate the last vestiges of the Spanish colonial empire. After the Continental Navy was allowed to lapse, the U.S. Navy was reconstituted and has defend America for over two centuries. President William McKinley drew his inspiration for the US policy towards the Philippines during a nighttime revelation, which told him to bring them into the American sphere. Teddy Roosevelt left civilian life to organize the Rough Riders and led them in the charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The major ground campaigns of the Spanish-American War were in Cuba, where the army of Spain was completely overmatched by the US Army.