After an explosion on the night of February 15th rips through the U.S. ship Maine, anchored in Havana Harbor, killing 267 officers and men, the newspapers of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst stir up anger in the U.S. and help to push it toward war with Spain. McKinley makes every effort to avoid war, but even his own assistant secretary of the navy, Theodore Roosevelt, wants war. He is forced to recommend it to Congress. On April 25th Congress declares war on Spain to the shouts of “Remember the Maine and Hell with Spain!” But the true cause of the explosion will remain a mystery.
Warren Harding is elected to the Ohio State Senate. His party loyalty and ability to get party agreement on programs will gain him popularity.
The Paris Peace Treaty of December 10th gives Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the U.S. and liberates Cuba. The new responsibilities will bring the U.S. into closer contact with the great powers of Europe and Asia.