The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998 Page: 276
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
they were optimists. They possessed what one scholar has called a "wilful
infantilism," about their age and about their nation. Convinced that the
spread of American institutions was an almost unqualified good, Young
Americans stubbornly refused to be restrained by-or often even to
acknowledge-conflicting interests." In national politics, midwesterner
Stephen A. Douglas was Young America's most prominent leader, but the
movement had broad support in all regions of the nation.
Eagle Pass as Jane Cazneau imagined it was a shining example of the
beneficence of American expansion. By exploring the differences
between the fictional and historical Eagle Pass, we can draw some valu-
able insights into the mind of an American expansionist in the age of
Manifest Destiny and Young America. The relationship between racism
and imperialism in mid-nineteenth-century America becomes more com-
plex, the conviction of the expansionist that her mission is a beneficent
one becomes more apparent, and her frustration with the obstacles that
nativism and antislavery have thrown in the path become more tangible.
Unlike other crusading public women of her era, such as Margaret
Fuller, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frances Wright, Cazneau had little
interest in women's equality or socialism; political, territorial and com-
mercial expansion were her crusades." Born Jane McManus in upstate
publisher he was a leader in publishing American works, hiring Young American Evert Duyckinck
to edit a "Library of American Reading" that included works by William Gilmore Simms, Herman
Melville, Cornelius Mathews, and others identified with the Young America literary campaign.
While residing in London in the 1840s, Putnam published American Facts, a compendium of statis-
tical Information intended to correct the negative representations of the United States that filled
English books and newspapers. During his London years Putnam also regularly played host to
Guiseppe Mazzini and other continental republican exiles. See George Haven Putnam, George
Palmer Putnam: A Memoir (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1912), and John Stafford, The Literary
Criticism of "YoungAmerica" (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1952).
2 David Simpson, "Destiny Made Manifest: The Styles of Whitman's Poetry," Nation and Narration,
ed. Homi K. Bhabha (New York: Routledge, 199o), 182. Simpson was not referring specifically
to Young America but to the nationalistic writers of the period, most of whom were closely iden-
tified with the movement.
s On Young America's foreign policy activities, see Merle Curti, "Young America," American
Historical Review 32, (Jan., 1927), 34-49 and Merle Curti, "George N. Sanders--American Patriot
of the Fifties," South Atlantic Quarterly 27 (Jan., 1928), 79-87, Siert Riepma, "Young America"
(Ph.D diss., Western Reserve University, 1939), and Donald Spencer, Louis Kossuth and Young
America (Columbia: University of Missoun Press, 1977). On Young America's literary activities,
see John Stafford, Literary Criticism of "Young America" (Berkeley: University of California Press,
1952) and Perry Miller, The Raven and the Whale: The War of Words and Wts in the Era of Poe and
Melvalle. (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1956).
4 The authoritative work on Jane Cazneau's diplomatic career is Robert E. May, "'Plenipotentiary in
Petticoats': Jane M. Cazneau and American Foreign Policy in the Mid-Nineteenth Century," Women
and American Foreign Policy: Lobbyists, Critis, and Insiders, ed. Edward R. Crapol (Wilmington, Del.:
Scholarly Resources, 1992), 19-44. See also "Introduction" in Jane Cazneau, Eagle Pass, or, Life on
the Border, by Cora Montgomery (pseud.), ed. Robert Crawford Cotner (1852; reprint, Austin:
Pemberton Press, 1966); Tom Reilly, "Jane McManus Storms: Letters from the Mexican War,
1846-1848," Southwestern Historical Quarterly (cited hereafter as SHQ), 85 (July, 1981), 21-44, and
Edward S. Wallace, Destiny & Glory (New York: Coward-McCann, 1957), 245-275.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998, periodical, 1998; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/m1/344/: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.