READING NOTES--9/20 class

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Martinez-Fernandez (sourcebook, pp. 109-129)

  • 109-111: read closely--good summary of the complicated effects of the US Civil War on Caribbean politics and society.
  • 111-112: skim; 113-114: how important was the ending of the slave trade? what was its most immediate effect? should we view it as primarily a domestic (Cuban) event or primarily an international matter?
  • 115-119: skim, discusses growing political tensions with Cuba, outbreak of revolt
  • 119 (p. 206 in text): begin reading closely with pp. starting "Meanwhile, Cuba's Ten Years' War . . ."--how do we understand the precise role of the US in the conflict?
  • 120-124: you can skim this, but you should come away from this section with an appreciation of the bizarre nature of Dominican politics and the reasons for the Spanish reannexation.
  • 125- : read closely. Note the continuing effect of race and the Haitian revolution; you can skim the section describing the events of the War of Restoration until top of p. 127
  • 127-129: read closely. What exactly were the "new geopolitical realities" of which M-F speaks?

Smith (sourcebook, pp. 130-146)

The Smith book is a general survey of US-British relations in Latin America, from the US Civil War until the turn of the century. The title, Illusions of Conflict, illuminates the thesis: that while there were some heated words between the US and the UK, in fact they had similar interests in the Western Hemisphere. Do you agree?

First of all, how do the events in the Smith reading differ from those that were covered in class in Thursday? What's you general take on South American international relations in the 19th century?

  • Read first three paragraphs closely--this provides a concise summary of Smith's main points.
  • 131-134--summary of Spanish-Chilean war; you can skim, but this conflict was the first sign of Chile's brief emergence as a hemispheric power of considerable importance.
  • 134 (pg# at top is 56); PP starting with "United States mediation . . ."--read closely. Exactly what was the US role in South America at this time?
  • 135-146: pay more attention. The War of the Pacific is a very important war in South American history, and its effects will linger in hemispheric international relations all the way through the 1970s.
  •     136: role of Blaine (denounced in the 1884 presidential campaign as "the continental liar from the state of Maine," surely a scandalous attack on my home state)--how to evaluate his performance? what was his agenda? He is a critical figure in hemispheric relations, so read closely pp. 138-139.
  •     139-141: actions of Hurlbut and Kilpatrick--can we speak of a "US" policy at all during this period? what do we, as historians, do in terms of analyzing and explaining the significance of such erratic diplomats?
  •     141-146: can be skimmed more, provided you have a sense of Smith's point on why British diplomacy wasn't more effective.
  •     by the way, what precisely did the concept of "mediation" mean during this period?

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