Apparently, My Sweetheart Went Down With the Maine was one of
quite a few songs that were written to inflame American passions against Spain
after the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898.
I work in a computer lab for writing at Madonna University in Livonia, MI,
and one of the students here used that song for their senior seminar
presentation for their history degree. That student came to the conclusion
that the Cuban rebels blew up the Maine with a mine in order to get the
Americans to intervene and get rid of Spanish rule in Cuba. The student
sang the song at the beginning of her presentation, accompanying herself
on guitar. I have to admit, hearing that song sung and played really did
stir a lot of emotions, even 102 years after the fact! Even the picture of
the sad looking woman on the front page of the sheet music is guaranteed
to stir up the proper "patriotic" emotions.