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!”
The presidential campaign of 1884 was one of the most memorable in American history. The Republican nominee, James G. Blaine of Maine, was nicknamed the “plumed knight,” but disgruntled Republican reformers regarded him as a symbol of corruption. These liberal Republicans indicated to Democratic leaders that they would bolt their own party and support a Democrat, provided he was a decent and honorable man. Grover Cleveland seemed to meet these qualifications. He had started his career as sheriff of Erie County where he personally hanged two...
Debates in the United States Senate concerning the ratification of the 1898 Treaty of Paris focused on imperialism in early 1899. Though some worried that the treaty would make the US a “vulgar, commonplace empire, controlling subject races and vassal states, in which one class must forever rule and other classes must forever obey,” Congress eventually did ratify it on February 6, 1899. The treaty ended the Spanish-American War and provided for Spanish cession of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the United States.
In Chile, a mob attacked a group of American sailors from the USS Baltimore, killing two. President Harrison threatened war as retaliation, but Chile apologized to avoid an end to diplomatic relations with the United States.
A letter from the Spanish ambassador to the United States, Enrique Dupuy de Lôme, was published in the New York Journal. In the letter, de Lôme called President McKinley a “weak . . . bidder for the admiration of the crowd.”