Saturday, May 04, 2013

Confederate Vice-President Alexander H. Stephens talks about conquering sections of Latin America

This is a speech by Confederate Vice-President Alexander H. Stephens from before the Civil War. There are two interesting topics in the speech. One is about re-opening the African Slave trade. The other is about acquiring more sections of Latin America. This is from pages 637-651, of the book, Alexander H. Stephens, in Public and Private, with Letters and Speeches, Before, During, and Since the War, by Henry Cleveland, National Publishing Company, 1866.

You can read more of the speech here:

The following is an extract:

Legislators in this country, in the main, are but the embodied reflection of the characters and principles of those who elect them. As matters now stand, so far as the sectional questions are concerned, I see no cause of danger, either to the Union, or southern security in it. The former has always been with me, and ought to be with you, subordinate to the latter. But on the present basis of governmental action, recognized in all its depart­ments, on those questions vital to the South, I see nothing likely to arise from it calculated to endanger either her safety or secu­rity: hence, nothing to prevent the hope and earnest desire that a still greater, wider, and higher career is before us, for many long years to come, than that yet attained. There is nothing in the diversity and dissimilarity of the institutions of the different States inconsistent with this—nothing in any increase or addition of States; nothing in the future enlargement of the limits of the republic, by further acquisition of territories, as, in the event of continued union, there, doubtless, will be. Already, we are looking out toward Chihuahua, Sonora, and other parts of Mexico – to Cuba, and even to Central America. Where are to be our ultimate limits, time alone can determine. But of all these acquisitions, the most important to the whole country is that of Cuba. She lies geographically in the natural line of extension and acquisition. The natural course for all national extension is on lines of longitude, rather than lines of latitude — from North to South, or from South to North, rather than from East to West—so as to bring within a common juris­diction the products of different climes. As yet, we embrace no portion of the tropics. Cuba, besides, her commanding position in the Gulf, and all other advantages, would fill up this defi­ciency.

On this subject, however, I will say that I am not much in favor of paying any great sum of money to Spain for that island. If the people of Cuba want to come under our jurisdiction, it is their right to come, and ours to receive them, without let or hindrance from Spain. She holds the island by no tenure but that of conquest and force. The more appropriate policy would be to repeal all our own laws which make it penal and criminal for our own citizens to go and help them achieve their independence: Instead of offering Spain thirty or more millions of dollars for it, I would simply quit spending other millions in keeping watch and guard, for her to oppress and rob, I would simply quit holding while Spain skins. A million or two might be well spent to obtain so great a result without difficulty, if Spain saw fit to receive it―not much more.
Though Stephens doesn't directly state that these territories will be acquired to establish additional slave states, later in the speech he says, "Wherever climate and soil suit, there slavery can and will go to the extent of population."

Prior to the Civil War slaveholders talked about acquiring territory in Latin America to make more slave states and there was a problem with illegal filibustering expeditions by Americans to take over territories in Latin America. Fortunately they fail, but not for want of effort. I recommend the standard classic on the subject, "Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire," by Robert E. May.
You can search with different key words and find other interesting items regarding the Confederacy, Neo-Confederacy, and Latin America and Latinos. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts Last 30 days

Popular Posts All Time