, Research Paper
A Peoples Problem
Both the Mexican War and the Spanish American War were caused by an outcry by the American people. The Mexican War could have been avoided if America s ideals of expansion did not dwarf Mexico s right to their land. Be it through Manifest Destiny as it was in the Mexican War or with the new ideas of imperialism in the Spanish-American war. The thing that had the most influence on the Spanish-American War was the Yellow Press.
The first problem came when President James K. Polk, among his campaign promises, vowed to bring Oregon and California under American control. Given a mandate by a slim margin of the electorate, Polk eventually accomplished this feat. But by no means does this mean that Polk bears the heaviest burden of responsibility in causing the war with Mexico due to his extreme expansionist views. In reality, the unrelenting movement of Americans into western North America and the concept of a Manifest Destiny are responsible for the Mexican-American War. Just because Texas was being annexed into the union did not give America the right to trample all over Mexico.
The Spanish-American War was definitely caused by all of the yellow journalism circulating in 1898. The sole purpose of this type of journalism was to boost up events dealing with Spain, so that Americans would want to fight a war. The Yellow Press swayed public opinion by always printing untruthful headlines. A stolen letter written by the Spanish minister was printed on the front page of one of the Yellow Press journals divulging that the Spanish government was insincere about implementing a policy of autonomy for Cuba.
The second event occurred on February 15th when two hundred and sixty American service personnel were killed as a direct result of an explosion on board the U.S.S. Maine. For the next two weeks the Yellow Press printed misleading headlines speculating the cause, which was unknown, of the explosion, rumors of threats for future explosions if the Americans sent another ship to Havana, and other lies to gain support in order to increase the popular demand to go to war with Spain. In the end, the Yellow Press succeeds with its goal of sending the United States to war.
The actions of the President of the United States have a profound impact on America’s foreign relations. However, in some instances, the actions of the people have an even more profound impact. This was certainly the case with the Mexican-War and the Spanish-American War. The settling of Texas and other western areas played a major role in the war that would be fought between America and Mexico. In the same way, the ideas of imperialism sanctioned a big country like America to take control over a weaker country like Cuba. So throughout these wars America proved that they were superior countries, but in doing battle with inferior armies are you truly a first class country.