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William Walker, A Filibuster Of The 19th Century In America.

1069 words - 4 pages

William Walker, arguably the greatest filibuster in American history, was born in Nashville, Tennessee on May 8th, 1824. Among the titles he claimed in his lifetime were President of Lower California, Emperor of Nicaragua, Doctor, lawyer, and writer. The study of this interesting character requires a good look at who William Walker was, what filibusters did in American history, what he did, and an exploration of a question: Why is William Walker typically left out of historical texts?William Walker himself was born an un-licensed, would-be conqueror, burning with a desire for fame and carried away by a firm belief in his own destiny to rule. He was a very intelligent man, educated first at the University of Nashville, then abroad at the universities of Edinburgh, Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Paris. While educating in Europe, he was exposed to many of the great revolutions in Europe, headed by such names as Massini, Garibaldi, Marx, Feuerbach, and Blanc, whose rhetoric was spread through Europe like wildfires. These political extremists likely influenced Walkers own filibustering ideas to a great extent.Upon his return to America, he practiced medicine in Philadelphia, law in New Orleans, a newspaper man in San Francisco, and again practicing law in Marysville. Always an ardent slavery advocate, he looked with a mark of disdain at the filibustering schemes of the French during the 1850s, as the American expansion into Mexico was a factor of Manifest Destiny, to which the French would serve as a grave hindrance.In the mid-nineteenth century, adventurers known as filibusters participated in military actions aimed at obtaining control of Latin American nations with the intent of annexing them to the United States-an expression of Manifest Destiny. Although the movement was named in 1845, the philosophy behind Manifest Destiny always existed throughout American history. For example, in 1818, Andrew Jackson, while taking a broad interpretation of vague instructions from President Monroe, led military forces into Florida during an event now known simply as the Florida Crisis. In a systematic and ruthless way, he punished the Seminol Indians for taking up arms with the Spanish, destroyed Spanish forces, and captured several cities and forts. Americans, who had moral reservations about the rough tactics of Jackson, soothed their consciences with a familiar, but not yet named philosophy. Their reasoning was simple: Florida was part of American territory and therefore destiny demanded that America should have complete control over them.Despite being only slightly over five feet tall and weighing a meager 120 pounds, William Walker was a forceful and convincing speaker and fearless fighter who commanded the respect of his men in battle-a natural filibuster. Beyond the standard fare of belief structures that filibusters had, Walker took a few extra steps. In its simplest terms, he supported (and radically encouraged) the continuation and expansion of...

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