(1854) Secret document written by U.S. diplomats at Ostend, Belg., describing a plan to acquire Cuba from Spain. On orders from U.S. secretary of state William Marcy, three U.S. diplomats—minister to Britain James Buchanan, minister to France John Y. Mason, and minister to Spain Pierre Soulé—devised a plan to purchase or, if necessary, seize Cuba for the U.S. Publication of the aggressively worded document, and Soulé's advocacy of slavery, caused Marcy to denounce it.
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On orders from U.S. Secretary of State William L. Marcy, three U.S. diplomats (minister to Britain James Buchanan, minister to France John Y. Mason, and minister to Spain Pierre Soulé) devised a plan to purchase Cuba, for $120 million, for the United States. Further, if Spain were to refuse the offer, the manifesto suggested that America would be "justified in wresting" Cuba from Spain. The document was then sent back to the U.S. State Department, but news of it leaked out, and it was soon made public.
The aggressively worded document, and Soulé's advocacy of slavery, caused outrage among Northerners who felt it was a Southern attempt to extend slavery. American free-soilers, just recently stirred with the Fugitive Slave Law passed as part of the Compromise of 1850, decried the manifesto. Thus, Cuba did not become part of the United States.
American intervention in Cuba would next surface near the end of the nineteenth century in the Spanish-American War.
The value of Cuba was of special importance to Southern Democrat economical and political interests; its acquisition would greatly strengthen their current slave-based economy which was under fire from Northern abolitionists.
In March, 1854, the steamer Black Warrior was stopping at the Cuban port of Havana during a regular trading route from New York City to Mobile, Alabama. After failing to provide a cargo manifest Cuban officials at the dock seized the ship, its cargo, and its crew. The incident, called the Black Warrior Affair, was viewed by Congress as a violation of American rights by the Spanish. The matter was given over to William L. Marcy by President Franklin Pierce in the midst of controversy over the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.
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