Publication: Survival: Global Politics and Strategy December 2017–January 2018
20 November 2017
Sometime in the 1820s, the brilliant, decorated Mexican general Manuel de Mier y Terán wrote of his deep worry about the ‘unceasing’ arrival of new Anglo-American settlers in Texas. America, he lamented, was ‘the most avid nation in the world. The North Americans have conquered whatever territory adjoins them’ (p. 240). On 3 July 1832, dressed in his most elegant service garb, the 43-year-old Mexican patriot stabbed himself. Penned the night before, his despondent suicide note ended with the words ‘En qué parará Texas?’ – what will become of Texas?
In her superb general history, Our Sister Republics, scholar Caitlin Fitz notes that observers of nineteenth-century US motives and policies towards Latin America, like Mier y Terán, frequently (and rightly) bemoaned the ‘expansion, aggression, and war’ of the Colossus of the North (p. 6). Yet, Fitz suggests that Washington’s increasingly violent predation of its southern neighbours is not the whole story. Instead, she uncovers a remarkably potent sense of kinship among US politicians, journalists, rank-and-file yeomen and city dwellers alike for Latin America’s independence movements against the region’s Iberian masters, Portugal and Brazil.