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Road to an American Empire Spain had been an imperialistic country since the late 1400s. Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico were all Spanish possession. In the late 1800s Spain was declining and the U.S. was increasing in political power. The United States had economic investments in Cuba. Cubans were being abused by the Spanish (yellow journalism). The battleship Maine was in Havana Harbor and mysteriously blew up. The U.S. declared war on Spain. The Battle of San Juan Hill “A splendid little war” The United States gained the following territories at the end of the war: The Philippines Puerto Rico Guam Virtual control over Cuba by virtue of the Platt Amendment After the war our relationship with Spain was not friendly. The U.S. took a more dominant role in the affairs of the world. Who controlled the island nation of Cuba in the early 1890s? What did Secretary of War Stanton’s comment regarding the Spanish/American War, “It was a splendid little war” mean? Was American involvement in the Spanish/American War justified?