War dominated the close of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century for the United States. As had the European nations before it, the United States pushed for and acquired an empire in the late nineteenth century. Equally important, the United States continued to exert its influence on other nations in the western hemisphere. These two forces combined in 1898 when the United States went to war with Spain over an island just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. The initial dispute in the Spanish-American War widened, however, from concerns over Spanish actions and dominance in Cuba to Spanish holdings in the Pacific. The war lasted less than four months but by the end of it the United States had acquired the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico. By the conclusion of what Secretary of State John Hay called ‘a splendid little war’, the United States was mired in its imperialist agenda.
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