If the U.S did not win the American-Spanish War then Pert Rico, the Philippines, Guam, and even Cuba would still be neglected and tortured. Cubans were forced to work as slaves for the Spanish when they were still concurring the Inca's and the Mayans in south America. Yes America did it as well ,but was also the first nation to frown upon slavery. So America was justified for saving those island nations from torture, neglecting, and slavery. So in the end yes America was justified.
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The United States was to expand economic influence and with the spark the sinking of Battleship Maine started the Spanish American War. With the goals of freeing Cuba from Spanish rule and the United States desire to expand in these areas, made taking control of these colonies as defenders of democracy.
I believe that the United States of America were in the right to assume colonial control of Puerto Rico, The Philippines, and Guam at the end of the Spanish-American War. During a time of war, the victor has the right to take control of land and territory that is involved.
It is difficult to view this question objectively. At the time, the United States was hardly alone in expanding their colonial holdings, and the decisions made excellent strategic sense in the geopolitical climate that existed at the dawn of the 20th century. Even so, we cannot condone colonialism. We have seen the violence and poverty that colonialism has left in its wake. The United States should have issued a guarantee of protection to these islands and allowed them full self governance.
I do not think the United States was justified in assuming colonial control of Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam at the end of the Spanish-American War. The Spanish American war was the result of yellow journalism and the mysterious sinking of an American naval ship in Spanish waters. Since the motive for the Spanish-American war seemed to be unjustifiable, so was the assuming of control of formerly Spanish colonies.
No, the United States should not have taken control of Puerto Rico, the Phillippines, and Guam at the end of the Spanish-American War. No country should ever assume to own the people and the land of another independent country or territory, and colonies should not have been awarded as the "spoils of war" at any point in history.