144 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
Mistress of Manifest Destiny: A Bzography of Jane McManus Storm Cazneau, 1807-1878.
By Linda S. Hudson. (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2oo . Pp
vii+3o6. Maps, illustrations, acknowledgments, introduction, notes, index.
ISBN 0-87611-179-7. $29.95, cloth.)
For more than thirty years, Jane McManus Storm Cazneau advised presidents
and cabinet members. Congressmen sought her counsel and influence.
Nonetheless, she has remained a mysterious figure to historians. Monographs
concentrate on her rumored affair at the age of twenty-six with the seventy-six-
year-old Aaron Burr. Other accounts mistakenly characterize her as an abolition-
ist. Linda S. Hudson, however, thoroughly and fairly evaluates Cazneau by plac-
ing her in proper context. Mistress of Manifest Destzny succeeds in rescuing Jane
Cazneau from obscurity.
Diligent research allows Hudson to overcome a lack of papers on her subject
and to create a vivid account of historiographical significance. The biography
contrasts with most work in the period on women by noting that Cazneau
shunned the women's movement. Instead, she adopted national and interna-
tional causes where oppression far beyond the lack of suffrage existed. The
"Mistress of Manifest Destiny" emerges as a defiant, intelligent, and influential
woman of equal significance to the better-known leaders of Seneca Falls.
The work captures the turbulence and activity of the United States in an
indomitable woman's life. This biography connects Texas history beyond its
traditional borders to include the Caribbean, the Southwestern Borderlands,
Mexico, and Central America. Likewise, it provides coverage of women's histo-
ry in relation to political, diplomatic, and maritime history. Hudson tells an
interesting story of a professional woman's accomplishments and provides
insight into America from the Jacksonian era to 1878. Cazneau's historical sig-
nificance, however, rests with her creation of the term "Manifest Destiny" to
justify expansion while uniting national ambition in an era where the United
States was expanding beyond its traditional markets and attempting to define
Cazneau excelled in a variety of capacities, but first earned recognition, and
occasionally scorn, for her penetrating journalism. Her work on the Mexican
War perhaps reached 400,000 readers. The author depicted the horror of war a
decade before most Americans experienced it. She also hoped that expansion
and commercial dominance might unite North and South.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Henry Watterson, the editor of the Louisville
Courier, attributed his success to her guidance. Colleagues praised her use of
short descriptive phrases. Most notably, she crafted the term "Manifest Destiny"
to legitimize territorial and commercial expansion. Unable to improve on the
notion, historians adopted "Manifest Destiny" as the term to help define the era
and explain American exceptionalism.
Unlike many biographies, the work links Cazneau's life to broader themes.
Hudson depicts her subject as a visionary who at times infuriated some Americans
with her outspoken positions. She correctly predicted U.S. commercial domina-
tion of Latin America, the creation of a first-rate steam navy, and a merchant
marine. Her articles also covered the need for agrarian reform later demanded
by the Populists and the plight of the working people half a century prior to the
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed April 26, 2015.