In office, Grover Cleveland had pleased conservatives by advocating sound money and reduction of inflation, curbing party patronage, and vetoing government pensions. But he alienated business and labor interests by proposing a lower tariff and was defeated in the presidential race of 1888—winning the popular vote but losing the electoral vote to Republican Benjamin Harrison.
After an insurgency in Cuba, in which Cubans supported by American sympathizers protested Spanish rule, Spain implemented its “Reconcentration” policy, which forcibly sent thousands of Cubans to concentration camps.
Alfred Thayer Mahan, a Navy officer and historian, published The Influence of Sea Power upon History. Mahan’s book advocated expanding the Navy and creating an American-controlled canal through Central America.
In Havana Harbor, the USS Maine exploded, killing more than 260 Americans. Spain was accused of the sabotage but upon no evidence. The explosion spurred the Spanish-American War and inspired the motto “Remember the Maine!”