The first Cuban war of independence of 1868-78, known as the 10 Years' War, elicited passionate responses from Anglo-Americans. For abolitionists, Cuba's rebellion was an "echo" of the Civil War and a new front in an unfinished emancipation struggle. Invoking the 4 million enslaved people of the antebellum United States, abolitionists like Henry Highland Garnet advocated a transnational affinity between U.S. freedmen and their enslaved Cuban "brethren." Some U.S. volunteers even enlisted in the Cuban Rebel Army, and when one of them, W.A.C. Ryan, a Union Army veteran, was executed by Spanish forces in Santiago de Cuba, his "bronzed body" became a cause celebre in the United States. In polemics, poetry, songs, and dime novels, U.S. authors imagined rebel Cuba in terms of the 4 million or the one bronzed body. By examining U.S. responses to the Cuban Revolution, this paper explores how domestic battles over Reconstruction and the memory of slavery were bound up with ideological conflicts about the still uncertain place, both geographic and political, of the United States in the hemisphere. Was Cuba a part of a cross-border community of the freedmen and their brethren, or did it lie in the past of a resurgent Anglo-Saxon America?


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pp. 117-145
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