The Spanish-American War
While the Spanish-American War of 1898 can be viewed as it relates to William Randolph Hearst, so-called yellow journalism, the sinking of the battleship U.S.S. Maine, and public opinion that helped U.S. leaders embark on the conflict; such analyses overlook the root causes of the War. Evidence suggests that economic interests and an imperialist agenda were the driving forces behind American intervention in Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Hearst was the founder of the Hearst Corporation, and a prominent figure in yellow journalism—which were exaggerations of news events and sensationalism. He was considered one of the leading figures of the Spanish-American War period. During his career in newspapers, magazines, radio and film broadcasting, he changed the face of the way mass media would be seen throughout the world (Wierichs). During the crucial period before the war with Spain, Hearst had published “dramatic headlines, lurid and exaggerated stories, creative writing graphic detail, suggestions of sexual misconduct by Spanish officials” (Jones).
The U.S. at this time was entering into an expansionist collective state of mind—they believed in expanding its territorial base. Many historians focus on the yellow journalism of the era, the mindset of many Americans was undoubtedly influenced by the strong anti-Spanish propaganda in the stories of Hearst’s yellow journalism. However, it is important to note that issues of popular philosophy and economics were leading causes of the war. As early as the 1840s the U.S. sought to harmonize realistic expansionist aims based on commercial and security considerations with idealistic goals focusing on the exportation of democracy and humanitarianism (Jones). Many Americans of the era believed in the concept of manifest destiny, in which American intervention and expansion into the island areas was seen as forecast and inevitable. Public support was united with the freedom-fighters of Cuba and the...