Uss Maine

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In the late 1800's the American people and their government became more willing to risk war in defense of American interests overseas, support for building a large modern navy began to grow. Supporters argued that if the United States did not build up its navy and acquire bases overseas, it would be shut out of foreign markets by Europeans. Captain Alfred T. Mahan observed that building a modern navy meant that the U.S. had to acquire territory for naval bases overseas. This would enable them to operate a navy far from home. A country needed bases and coaling stations in distant regions, which was exactly what they did by having Havana, Cuba be one of its ports. Another factor that was part of the Navy's modernization was the USS Maine, which was probably the most famous ship of its era. The USS Maine was one of the Navy's first armored battle ships. It was one of the first U.S. naval vessels with electrical lighting. It had a top speed of 17 knots and a crew of 392 officers and enlisted men. On the evening of February 15, 1898 the USS Maine exploded. Of the 345 officers and sailors aboard the Maine, 266 died. There were many ideas of how this explosion occurred, namely: the ship's ammunition supplies blew up, a fire accidentally ignited the ammunition, and that a mine detonated near the ship set off the ammunition. At the time Cuba was a Spanish colony, but it was in the midst of a revolution. The Cuban people were fighting for independence from Spain. During this Cuban revolt against Spain and the American battleship Maine dropped anchor in the Havana harbor to protect American interests in Cuba. Many Americans regarded the Spanish as tyrants and supported the Cubans in their struggle. This immediately made Americans jump to the Conclusion that Spain blew up the Maine. American's felt that since they were allies with Cuba that Spain was trying to harm America, as to not interfere with Cuba's revolt against them. Within a matter of weeks, Spain...
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