In the spring of 1898, a single U.S. battleship—the USS Oregon (BB-3)—became the pride of the nation as she steamed from San Francisco to Florida in time to take part in one of the two major naval battles of the Spanish-American War. On the way she also proved the necessity of a canal between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Beginning in 1893, revolution and independence were becoming rallying cries for the people of Cuba. For nearly 400 years, Spain had ruled the island with an iron fist. By 1898, 6,000 Cubans under General Antonio Maceo had been waging an increasingly successful guerrilla war against 80,000 Spanish troops sent to hold the empire’s most valuable Caribbean colony. Cubans living in the United States pressed for U.S. support in driving out the Spanish. But more was at stake than Cuban rights and lives. In the era of robber barons and powerful trusts, many U.S. businessmen were eager to gain profits from the rich tobacco, sugar, and ore resources of the Caribbean island.
Robert K. Massie, Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War (New York: Ballentine Books, 1992).
Patrick McSherry, “Voyage of the Oregon,” www.fortlangley.ca/pepin/USSOregon.html.
Ivan Musicant, Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War, vol. I (New York: Henry Holt & Co: 1998).
Theodore Roosevelt, The Rough Riders (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1899).
Evan Thomas, The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst and the Rush to Empire (New York: Back Bay Books, 2011).
David Traxel, 1898: The Birth of the American Century (New York: Vintage, 1999).
Craig L. Symonds, Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles That Shaped American History (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2006).
Thomas Wildenberg, All the Factors of Victory: Admiral Joseph Mason Reeves and the Origins of Carrier Airpower (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2019).