The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States. It ended with the Americans defeating the Spaniards. Revolts against Spanish rule had been endemic for decades in Cuba and were closely watched by Americans; there had been war scares before, as in the Virginius Affair in 1873. By 1897–98, American public opinion grew angrier at reports of Spanish atrocities. After the mysterious sinking of the American battleship Maine in Havana harbor, political pressures from the Democratic Party pushed the government of President William McKinley, a Republican, into a war McKinley had wished to avoid. Compromise proved impossible, resulting in an ultimatum sent to Madrid demanding it surrender control of Cuba immediately, which was not accepted. First Madrid, then Washington, formally declared war.
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