A Different Manifest Destiny


A Different Manifest Destiny

U.S. Southern Identity and Citizenship in Nineteenth-Century South America

Claire M. Wolnisty

182 pages


December 2023


$30.00 Add to Cart

October 2020


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eBook (PDF)
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October 2020


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2020


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The U.S. South possessed an extensive history of looking outward, specifically southward, to solve internal tensions over slavery and economic competition from the 1820s through the 1860s. Nineteenth-century southerners invested in their futures, and in their identity as southerners, when they expanded their economic and proslavery connections to Latin America, seeking to establish a vast empire rooted in slavery that stretched southward to Brazil and westward to the Pacific Ocean. For these modern expansionists, failure to cement those connections meant nothing less than the death of the South.

In A Different Manifest Destiny Claire M. Wolnisty explores how elite white U.S. southerners positioned themselves as modern individuals engaged in struggles for transnational power from the antebellum to the Civil War era. By focusing on three groups of people not often studied together—filibusters, commercial expansionists, and postwar southern emigrants—Wolnisty complicates traditional narratives about Civil War–era southern identities and the development of Manifest Destiny. She traces the ways southerners capitalized on Latin American connections to promote visions of modernity compatible with slave labor and explores how southern–Latin American networks spanned the years of the Civil War.

Author Bio

Claire M. Wolnisty is an associate professor of history at Austin College.


"A Different Manifest Destiny is helpful for scholars interested in the international dimensions of the nineteenth-century U.S. South and hemispheric case studies of southern, proslavery manifest destiny."—Cane West, Journal of Southern History

"Wolnisty's study of a 'different Manifest Destiny,' combining filibusters, commercial expansion, and southern emigrants within a single work, is a new and commendable endeavor. . . . This book contributes to a burgeoning scholarly literature about the important nineteenth-century U.S. commercial and political campaigns in Latin America that will be of interest to a wide range of scholars."—Alan P. Marcus, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Wolnisty’s concise description of the hemispheric scope of southern expansionists will be of interest to scholars and students alike. She has written an engaging study depicting the interests of nineteenth-century White southerners in Central America and Brazil, and she has made a real contribution to our understanding of their expansionist motives in her explanation of how these expansionists combined their commitment to bonded labor with a vision of building modern commercial networks in the western hemisphere."—Angela F. Murphy, Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"A Different Manifest Destiny demands that historians free themselves from the teleological shackles of Manifest Destiny that inevitably locates nineteenth-century US expansion in the West. . . . Wolnisty's work fits into a small but growing literature dedicated to more rigorously investigating Manifest Destiny and how nineteenth-century Americans believed their country might actually come to dominate the hemisphere and perhaps even the globe."—Michael A. Hill, H-Nationalism

"Wolnisty’s work points to fascinating new directions in the study of nineteenth-century southern expansionism."—Roberto Saba, H-CivWar

“Wolnisty’s brisk prose and crisp analysis refocus our concepts of Manifest Destiny southward, specifically to Nicaragua and Brazil, by systematically examining how fear, ambition, and hubris fed an expansionism in search of a future anchored in both slavery and technological advances.”—Laura Jarnagin Pang, author of A Confluence of Transatlantic Networks: Elites, Capitalism, and Confederate Migration to Brazil

A Different Manifest Destiny meticulously unites three branches of southern history—filibusters, commercial expansionists, and southern emigrants—to provide a distinctive, thoughtful inspection and reorientation of an outward-looking South forged through transnational circuits across Latin America.”—Todd W. Wahlstrom, author of The Southern Exodus to Mexico: Migration across the Borderlands after the American Civil War

"Wolnisty illuminates the centrality of Latin America to the regional imagination of white southerners during the ‘long’ Civil War. Her discussion of the South’s introduction of steamships and railroads to Brazil is an important contribution to our understanding of the compatibility of chattel slavery with technological modernism."—Patrick J. Kelly, coeditor of Living on the Edge: Texas during the Civil War and Reconstruction

Table of Contents

1. Filibustering in Nicaragua
2. Commercial Expansion in Brazil
3. Southern Emigration to Brazil

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