The Effect of the "Splendid Little War" on America.
As sweeping changes reshaped America socially, industrially, and economically, the lack of interest in foreign policy and the outside world changed just as significantly. A new awareness of supremacy and control moved Americans to rightfully consider themselves a world power. Americans observed as well that they had been laggards in the colonial race for territory; European nations scavenged over Africa while Russia, Japan, and Germany ardently struggled for cessions of China. The beginnings of imperialistic seeds were sown by Secretary of State James G. Blaine in the 1880's as he attempted to assemble a market in Latin America for American products. This seed was further propagated by a series of diplomatic crisis with powers such as Germany, Great Britain, Italy, among others, over insignificant disputes. Yet, this was the embodiment of the aggressive American mood at the time, which was to put itself on the same platform as other world powers. As the importance of possessing a powerful navy was pointed out by Captain Mahan in his book, America sought to gain power by sea.
The navy the Americans would come to build would pay dividends within the next decade of the Spanish-American war. A public outcry for justice appealed to President Cleveland in 1895 for aid to the Cuban revolt, a rebellion against Spanish misrule and civilian atrocities by Spanish General "Butcher" Weyler. But as an anti-jingoist and anti-imperialist, Cleveland would not budge; it took another American, President McKinley, and a series of events to thrust America into the war. These events began with an intercepted letter written by the Spanish minister Lome, which was extremely critical of President McKinley on February 9, 1898, and continued with the sinking of the Maine less than a week later. Americans became war-mad and war-hungry, wanting to rid the Western Hemisphere of those "dirty dagoes.