McKinley decided he could not stop the cries for war, even after Spain accepted all but the last of his demands. On April 11, 1898 he sent a war message to Congress. Not soon after that, Congress recognized Cuban independence and authorized force against Spain.
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On February 25, Theodore Roosevelt cabled naval commanders in the Pacific to prepare for military action against Spain. President McKinley ordered most of the cables undone, but he did leave Admiral George Dewey. Dewey was told to attack the Spanish fleet in the Philippines if the U.S. went to war with Spain.
If you go out on the Appalachian Trail, you have to bring so much more equipment - a tent, sleeping bag - but if you go hiking in England, or Europe, generally, towns and villages are near enough together at the end of the day you can always go to a nice little inn and have a hot bath and something to drink.