In this investigation of the Spanish-American War, students focus on determining cause.

Students will learn about the build-up to war and the conditions that generated this conflict, while encountering a concept central to historical thinking—multiple causality. Students often believe that events have a single cause and frequently it is the one that is most immediate and dramatic.

The sinking of the Maine is such an event—a mysterious and deadly explosion in foreign waters—and students can overstate its effect. They may easily conclude that this is the reason the U.S. declared war on Spain in 1898 and even see the war as inevitable given the horror of this event.

But historical events happen for multiple reasons and they are not inevitable. Investigating why the U.S. went to war in Cuba in 1898 is an opportunity to make the concept of multiple causality explicit for your students.

In this module, you will find a variety of materials and resources to support your students' learning, including lessons, worksheets, alternative source versions, samples of student work, and an annotated webography.