Remember the Maine?
Do you remember the Maine? Chances are you may not unless you are about 116 years old. The USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana Harbor, Cuba, on February 15, 1898. The battleship was in Cuba to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain. While the cause of the explosion that killed 266 sailors and marines was never determined, Yellow Journalists William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer did not hesitate to lay the blame on Spain. Hearst sent illustrator Frederic Remington to Cuba to document the looming war, and, in a now-famous telegraph exchange when Remington said there was no war, Hearst replied: “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the War.” The phrase “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!” became a rallying cry. While not a direct cause, the sinking of the Maine helped push events along that led to the Spanish-American War in 1898.
This in turn led to the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War. The victory of the Rough Riders at the Battle of San Juan Hill helped propel Theodore Roosevelt even more into the national spotlight. As for the USS Maine herself, the ship sat in Havana Harbor until 1912, when she was raised and towed out to sea and sunk for good. In 2000, researchers, using digital imaging, rediscovered the well-preserved USS Maine 3 miles off the Cuban coast.
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