Document A: New York Journal
Purchased by William Randolph Hearst in 1895, the Journal published investigative and human interest
stories that used a highly emotional writing style and included banner headlines and graphic images.
DESTRUCTION OF THE WAR SHIP MAINE WAS THE WORK OF AN ENEMY
Assistant Secretary Roosevelt Convinced the Explosion of the War Ship Was Not an Accident.
The Journal Offers $50,000 Reward for the Conviction of the Criminals
Who Sent 258 American Sailors to Their Death.
Naval Officers Unanimous That the Ship Was Destroyed on Purpose.
NAVAL OFFICERS THINK THE MAINE WAS DESTROYED BY A SPANISH MINE.
George Eugene Bryson, the Journal’s special correspondent at Havana, cables that it is the secret
opinion of many Spaniards in the Cuban capital, that the Maine was destroyed and 258 men killed by
means of marine mine or fixed torpeda. This is the opinion of several American naval authorities. The
Spaniards, it is believed, arranged to have the Maine anchored over one of the harbor mines. Wires
connected the mines with a… magazine, and it is thought the explosion was caused by sending an
electric current through the wire. If this can be proven, the brutal nature of the Spaniards will be
shown by the fact that they waited to spring the mine after all the men had retired for the night. The
Maltese cross in the picture shows where the mine may have been fired.
Mine or a Sunken Torpedo Believed to Have Been the Weapon Used Against the American Man-Of-War
Officer and Men Tell Thrilling Stories of Being Blown into the Air
Amid a Mass of Shattered Steel and Exploding Shells
Survivors Brought to Key West Scou[t] the Idea of Accident
Spanish Officials Protest Too Much
Our Cabinet Orders a Searching Inquiry
Journal Sends Divers to Havana to Report Upon the Condition of the Wreck.
Was the Vessel Anchored Over a Mine?
Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt says he is convinced that the destruction of the
Maine in Havana Harbor was not an accident. The Journal offers a reward of $50,000 for exclusive
evidence that will convict the person, persons or government criminally responsible for the[destruction]…of the American battleship and the death of 258 of its crew. The suspicion that the
Maine was deliberately blown up grows stronger every hour. Not a single fact to the contrary has been
Source: Excerpt from New York Journal and Advertiser, February 17, 1898.
1. How long after the explosion of the Maine was this article written?
2. What does the headline of the article suggest about the newspaper’s point of view?
3. Upon what type of evidence does the New York Journal base its claims?
HISTORICAL THINKING MATTERS. ORG — SPANISH – A MERICAN W A R
Document B: New York Times
Established in 1851, the New York Times provided investigative coverage of local New York issues and
events, as well as national and international news.
MAINE’S HULL WILL DECIDE
Divers to Find Whether the Force of the Explosion Was from the Exterior or Interior.
SHE WAS AFLOAT FOR AN HOUR
Spontaneous Combustion in Coal Bunkers a Frequent Peril to the Magazines of Warships
– Hard to Blow Up the Magazine.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 – After a day of intense excitement at the Navy Department and elsewhere,
growing out of the destruction of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor last night, the situation at
sundown, after the exchange of a number of cablegrams between Washington and Havana, can be
summed up in the words of Secretary Long, who when asked as he was about to depart for the day
whether he had reason to suspect that the disaster was the work of the enemy, replied: “I do not. In
that, I am influenced by the fact that Capt. Sigsbee has not yet reported to the Navy Department on
the cause. He is evidently waiting to write a full report. So long as he does not express himself, I
certainly cannot. I should think from the indications, however, that there was an accident – that the
magazine exploded. How that came about I do not know. For the present, at least, no other warship
will be sent to Havana.”
Capt. Schley, who has had experience with such large and complicated machines of war as the New
York did not entertain the idea that the ship had been destroyed by design. He had found that with
frequent and very careful inspection fire would sometimes be generated in the coal bunkers, and he
told of such a fire on board of the New York close to the magazine, and so hot that the heat had
blistered the steel partition between the fire and the ammunition before the bunkers and magazine
were flooded. He was not prepared to believe that the Spanish or Cubans in Havana were supplied
with either the information or the appliances necessary to enable them to make so complete work of
demolition, while Maine was under guard…
Source: Excerpt from New York Times, February 17, 1898.
1. How does the date of this article compare with the date on the New York Journal and
2. According to these headlines, what happened to Maine?
3. What kinds of evidence does the New York Times include to support its account of the
HISTORICAL T THINKING MATTERS. ORG — SPANISH – A MERICAN W A R
Document C: Awake United States!
This song was rushed into print between the sinking of Maine on February 16, 1898, and the
declaration of war on April 25, 1898.
Eagle soar on high, and sound the battle cry!
1. How proudly sailed the warship, Maine,
a Nation’s pride, without a stain!
A wreck she lies, her sailors slain.
By Treacherous butchers, paid by Spain!
Eagle soar on high,
And sound the battle cry
Wave the starry flag!
In mire, it shall not drag!
2. Why does the breeze such sad thoughts bring,
Like murmuring seas the echoes sing?
Why do clouds thus backward roll?
Like a wave on wave, on a rock on shoal!
3. Awake! Thy Stars and Stripes unfurl,
And shot and shell and vengeance hurl!
Though clouds gather, they will go,
and sunlight follows after woe.
Awake! it is no dream;
Dost hear the sailors scream?
Comrades, will you go?
Avenge the cruel blow!
And crush their marble heart!