Confederate Ambitions in Latin America
In the decades before the Civil War many Southerners argued that their slaveholding region should expand territorially beyond the boundaries of the United States into Latin America and the Caribbean, especially Cuba. Instead, during the Civil War the Confederacy renounced the capture any new territory in the Americas. Historians have neglected to explain fully the South’s failure to to fulfill its prewar ambitions to expand territorially in the New World after secession. Patrick J. Kelly argues that examining the Southern rebellion from the perspective of Mexico City, Havana, London and Paris reveals the stark geopolitical realities facing the Confederate nation in the New World. Instead of dominating the New World, the Southern rebellion served as a pawn, especially to the French Emperor Napoleon III, in hemispheric affairs. Ultimately, the Confederacy proved too weak internationally to to capture any new hemispheric territory or gain the foreign recognition it sought in order to operate as a sovereign state in the family of nations. In an ironic twist, instead of insuring the future of Southern slavery, secession marked the death knell of the South’s dream of creating an empire for slavery in the Western Hemisphere.
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