Demands for intervention escalated after February 15, 1898, when an explosion destroyed the American battleship Maine in Havana Harbor, losing almost 270 lives.
Spain rejected an American demand for a cease-fire on the island and eventual Cuban independence. In April, President McKinley asked Congress for a declaration of war. The purpose was to aid Cuban patriots in their struggle for liberty and freedom.
John Hay, the secretary of state called the Spanish-American conflict a "splendid little war." The war lasted only four months and had resulted in fewer than 400 American combat deaths.
The war's most decisive engagement took place in Manila Bay, not Cuba. Manila Bay was a harbor in the Philippine Islands in the distant Pacific Ocean. On May 1, the American navy defeated a Spanish fleet.
While the Cubans wanted independence, the United States wanted to gain access to the closed Cuban economy.
Cuban sugar started to enter the American market and Congress passed the Wilson-Gorman Tariff, which ended Cuba's free duty status on sugar and this caused depression.
Jose Marti, the Cuban revolutionist launched forces from American soil to liberate Cuba. This started guerilla warfare in the countryside to destroy economic targets rather than attacking Spanish troops.
Coming out of the Battle of Santiago and the Battle of San Juan Hill, comes the Treaty of Paris. The United States gets the Philippine Island, Puerto Rico, and Guam for $20,000,000 and Cuba gained it's independence.