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!”
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.”
The Philippine-American War, fought from February 1899 to July 1902, claimed 250,000 lives and helped establish the United States as a power in the Pacific. On June 12, 1898, a young Filipino general, Emilio Aguinaldo, proclaimed Philippine independence and established Asia’s first republic. He had hoped that the Philippines would become a US protectorate, but pressure on President William McKinley to annex the Philippines was intense. On February 4, 1899, fighting erupted between American and Filipino soldiers leaving fifty-nine Americans...