Manifesting Destiny On Cuban Shores: Narciso LÓPez, Cuban Annexation And The Path Of American Empire, 1800-1859
Manifesting Destiny tells the story of the Narciso López's filibustering attempts in Cuba (18481851) set against the backdrop of long-term American interest in the island and discusses the fluid economic and social contexts in early nineteenth century Cuba and the United States. The study focuses on the importance given Cuba by the collective American consciousness and highlights the various arguments made for the necessity and permissibility of annexation of the island. Beyond just a sectional Southern concern as traditionally posited by many analysts of the period, the annexation of Cuba was an abiding and obsessive national American concern that reflected deeply-held beliefs about the nature and magnanimity of American democracy as well as the nation's destinarian exceptionalism. Incorporation of Cuba and Cubans, set apart in the American imagination from the rest of South America and the Caribbean, promised a conservative transfer of power and fulfillment of the reserved revolution that many believed was the hallmark of American exceptionalism. Americans took a paternalistic view of the Cuban people - reduced to political dependence by the Spanish - and offered political and moral guidance to the island's population. The Northern and Southern American business class along with elite Cuban creoles saw in their annexation plans a means to strengthen the longstanding and lucrative economic ties between the two societies. The presence of an aggressive British abolitionary influence in the Caribbean coupled with attendant fears of racialized revolution in Cuba energized the annexation movement and encouraged filibustering activities as expedient alternatives to lethargic official negotiations for purchase of the island. Despite filibustering's seemingly chaotic planning and destabilizing repercussions, those intellectually and economically guiding the effort saw in their efforts an easily controllable leader in Narciso López, a willing and receptive Cuban population, and an agreeable American public bolstered by a robust business class' encouragement. All of these attributes augured well for a quick, limited, and manageable annexation with no disruption to either Cuba's slavery system or the domestic society built upon it. This study explores these themes and their implications by examining the literary, economic, and political landscapes of both the United States and Cuba contained within the pages of diplomatic and popular literary sources of the period.
FILIBUSTERING; cuban annexation; united states empire
Craib,Raymond B.; Chang,Derek S.
Ph. D., History
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis