On February 15, 1898, the American battleship USS Maine exploded in Havana harbor. Americans were
outraged�many blamed Spain, which ruled Cuba as one of the colonies in its fading empire, for the
explosion. Two months later, in April, Congress declared war on Spain, and American troops invaded
Cuba. By the end of the year, the United States would control former Spanish possessions of Puerto Rico,
Guam, and the Philippines as its own colonies, and would exercise significant influence over Cuban
affairs. The outcome of the war signaled a turning point, as the United States took on a new status as an
imperial world power.
In your first paper for this course, you will use your knowledge, along with a set of primary sources, to
evaluate the following statement:
�The explosion of the U.S.S. Maine caused the United States to invade Cuba in 1898.�
Your paper should make an argument, using primary sources as evidence, as to whether the sinking of
the Maine adequately explains the invasion of Cuba. Was this the only cause, or were there others?
Which were the most important?
� Navigate to Historical Thinking Matters� assignment page on the Spanish-American War
<goo.gl/8jJ0kX>. This is where you will access the materials required to complete this assignment.
� Watch the introductory video.
� For historical context, you may want to read ahead in The American Promise, focusing on The United States and the World�
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