Thank you for stopping by for today’s look at On This Day in American History! I love this series, and I hope you and your young learners are enjoying it, too.
On this day in American History, February 6, 1899, a peace treaty between Spain and the United States was ratified by Congress. This peace treaty ended the Spanish-American War.
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February 6 – Spanish-American War Ends
A peace treaty between Spain and the United States was ratified by Congress on February 6, 1899, thus ending the Spanish-American War.
1.) Read the following summary of why American entered into war with Spain in 1898. Then answer the questions in your notebook.
The United States went to war with Spain in 1898 due to a conflict involving the Spanish colony of Cuba. Cuba revolted against Spain in part due to an economic depression and corrupt Spanish leadership. Large groups of guerrillas destroyed the plantations, sugar mills, and anything of value to the Cuban people. To stop the massive destruction, the Spanish government arrested the rebels and put them in concentration camps where many died.
The Americans felt much sympathy for the Cubans, as their plight was reported in the newspapers. In fact, the newspapers sensationalized much of the activity in Cuba, which only fueled the Americans’ support. In one newspaper, the New York Journal, a stolen letter written by Spanish ambassador, Enrique Dupuy de Lôme, was published. The letter stated that President McKinley was “weak and a bidder for the admiration of the crowd.” While some Americans certainly considered President McKinley a weak leader, they did not like this attack against their own president.
In January 1898, the USS Maine was sent to Havana Harbor in Cuba to protect American interests and relationships on the island. The next month on February 15, 1898, the USS Maine exploded and sank, killing 260 Americans. After decades of investigation, the cause of the explosion is still unknown. This event was extremely damaging to Spanish and American relations, however. The yellow journalism of the time influenced the opinions of the Americans and how this ship exploded. Most believed it to be an act of Spanish treachery.
As a result of these events, President McKinley caved to the pressure from the American people and sent a message to Congress in April 1898. Congress authorized the use of force, if necessary, to gain Cuba’s independence while demanding that Spain withdraw from Cuba.
This resulted in the Spanish-American War, which began on April 20, 1898.
- Briefly name three reasons the United States went to war with Spain in 1898.
- If the war was over the island of Cuba, why is the name of the war the Spanish-American War?
2.) Locate Cuba on a World Map. Record the following answers in your notebook:
- What U.S. state is closest to Cuba?
- In what ocean is Cuba located?
- What is the capital of Cuba?
If you are new to On This Day in American History
If you are new to On This Day in American History, Welcome!
Each day, I share an interesting event that occurred in our nation’s past. You will learn about famous Americans, interesting inventions and their patents, American art and music, and more.
You will also find suggested activities – labeled “To do” – if you would like to research this during your homeschool’s group time in the morning, or you can assign the activities for your children to work on independently.
If you think you will do more than one day of On This Day in American History, I would encourage you to have your child keep what I call a Notebook of Knowledge. A spiral notebook or sheets of paper stapled together is more than adequate!
Have your child write the day’s event and the date at the top of his paper. If there are writing activities, have him use his best composition, grammar, and penmanship as he completes the answers. After just a few weeks or even a month, he will have an excellent resource to read through!
If you would like to use this resource throughout the month, you might be interested in purchasing the full February Calendar. It contains:
- Access to the webpage with all of the February events listed, including all suggested activities for each daily event.
- A .pdf of the February Calendar, listed in chronological order with all suggested activities
- All necessary downloads to complete the assigned activities. These same downloads are linked on the webpage, however, they are also included here for easy access.
- The answers to any questions asked in the daily activities.
You can purchase that here: