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Charles Sumner and the Annexation of the Dominican Republic

51 Charles Sumner and the Annexation of the Dominican Republic DENNIS HIDALGO Introduction During hisfirstterm in the White House, President Ulysses Grant attempted to annex the Dominican Republic to the United States. Support for the proposed treaty came from both countries. The United States pressed the annexation plans motivated by the prospects of acquiring hegemony in the Caribbean, by the likelihood of increasing its commercial avenues, by the possibility of establishing a black state, by opportunistic entrepreneurs, and by the idea of the Manifest Destiny Doctrine intermingled with the Monroe Doctrine.' On the other hand, the Dominican government supported annexation with the intention of annihilating a rebellion backed by the Haitian government, and by the desire to satisfy personal financial interest among the government elite. Moreover, the typical colonial structure of the country assisted the government's efforts toward annexation. But Grant's efforts to promote the treaty met stiff resistance in the Senate. Republican Senator Charles Sumner fought it without regard to friendship or party loyalty. Grant could not understand Sumner's opposition to his plans as resulting from anything other than personal strife. Personal difficul- ties aggravated the confrontation as the conflict between supporters and adversaries of the treaty grew acrid. This increasing polarization made it more difficult to find a solution to which both sides of the conflict could agree. Yet, Sumner's opposition did not seem to stem primarily from perso- nal controversies with Grant. Throughout the debates over the annexation Sumner opposed the treaty emphasizing three dominant issues. The first two have often been em- phasized by scholars of the period. First, Sumner saw the annexation as a threat to Haiti's sovereignty and as an obstacle to non-white experimental governments. Second, his moral sensibilities alerted him to business, diplo- matic and military improprieties that he would not accept. However, there was a third issue that has not been given sufficient attention by historians. This was the idea that the placement of races was geographically determined Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 52 DENNIS HIDALGO - a belief that convinced Sumner and the Senate that the Dominicans should never be part of the United States. This paper analyzes the influence on the treaty of the stormy relationship between Grant and Sumner, and examines the main arguments Sumner used to oppose the annexation treaty. It places particular emphasis on the idea of the geographical determination of the races, with its overtones of racism and pseudo-science. The Story of the Treaty and its Outcome After working for about a year behind the scenes and through dubious aides for an annexation treaty with the Dominican Republic, Grant made an unprecedented move to ensure the passage of the treaty through the Senate. On the evening of 2January 1870, Grant suddenly appeared at Sumner's home, seeking his endorsement for the treaty. 'I am an administra- tion man, and whatever you do will always find in me the most careful and candid consideration,' was Sumner's response. Grant left satisfied, believing that Sumner had agreed to support him.* Not long after Grant's visit, the State Department referred the treaty to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Sumner, who served as the Chair, studied it for at least two months. From the beginning he suspected irregularities about the origin of the treaty. His aversion to the annexation seemed to reach a boiling point when one of the proponents of the treaty appeared to suggest that more annexations would follow in the Caribbean. Strongly influenced by Sumner's opposition, the Senate Committee re- jected the treaty on 15 March 1870. The New York Times reported that there were four main reasons why the Senators rejected the treaty. 'First, a small amount of sincere opposition to the treaty on the question of its merits and demerits'. Second, because the St Thomas annexation was considered more important by some. Third, because the Cuban advocates saw a threat in this treaty to their projects. Fourth, and most important according to the paper, because of 'a sense of personal disappointment and private grievances regarding the dispensa- tion of patronage'.3 Many legislators and other newspapers were in agree- ment with this analysis. On 17 March, the President went to Capitol Hill to try to assert his influence on his congenial Senators regarding the Dominican treaty. He alleged that the handling of the annexation issue 'Ha [d] been a clean straight forward matter from the beginning'. Furthermore, the best evi- dence, according to Grant, was that most of the lobbyists were against the treaty. Without any doubt the President was angry and believed that Sumner had reneged on a promise of support.4 On 24 March, Sumner expressed his arguments against the treaty in a long speech. He opposed it because of: Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 CHARLES SUMNER AND THE ANNEXATION OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 53 the difficulty of dealing with the population, the likelihood of [us] being tempted into further annexation, the chronic rebellion exist- ing there, the expense and trouble, and the wrong to the colored man involved in taking away the independence of Hayti.5 Although Grant pressed for an open vote in the Senate, it was delayed until 30June. Predictably the treaty was not able to gather the three-fourths majority required for ratification. Grant vowed to avenge his defeat. The day after the negative vote in the Senate, he removed John L. Modey from his position as an ambassador in London. Motley was Sumner's friend and they were working together on the case of 'Alabama Claims'.6 Motley had previously refused to follow the diplomatic line of the President. In- stead, he had followed Sumner's' ideas and Grant had wanted to dismiss him for some time. Secretary of State Hamilton Fish had saved Motley's position earlier, but could no longer do so in the wake of the dispute between Grant and Sumner. The subject of the annexation lingered until 5 December 1870. In his State of the Union Message Grant reiterated die need to draft another treaty with the Dominican Republic. He also suggested sending commis- sioners to evaluate the benefits of the annexation. Sumner prepared himself for what he foresaw to be a political batde by asking on 9 December for a resolution demanding the exhibition of all the instructions given to the Navy and related to the treaty. He believed that in this way Congress would uncover all the irregularities involving the annexation before Grant could bring the case again. Three days after Sumner asked for the instructions republican Senator Oliver Morton of Indiana, responding to Grant's sugges- tion, introduced the resolution to send commissioners to the Dominican Republic. This was a master political move by Grant, and showed his stub- bornness concerning the treaty. In this way Grant involved Congress with the annexation process. On 21 December 1870, Sumner attacked the resolution with the most emotional speech he ever gave against die annexation of the Dominican Republic. Yet the resolution passed with a lopsided majority. For many, the passage of the resolution proved the inefficacy of his speech. Some even mentioned that the timing was not appropriate. However, the arguments introduced in this speech served as the battle cry for the opposition. The themes of this speech seemed to echo throughout the rest of the debate. Sumner started his speech with an assertion that 'the.resolution before the Senate [would] commit Congress to a dance of blood'. According to Sumner, the resolutions' were totally unnecessary since the President had the power to send commissioners widiout Congressional approval. He called upon its proponents 'to show its necessity'. Sumner also ridiculed Grant's special agent to the Dominican Republic, Orville Babcock. Then he re- proved the President for not rebuking Babcock for his boldness.7 Discord and hostility permeated the ambiance of die Senate during the debate on Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 54 DENNIS HIDALGO 21 December. Although Senator Morton, representing Grant's side, con- stantly interrupted his speech, Sumner continued his speech with a magis- terial air and without losing his line of thought. It is noteworthy that when other Senators who also opposed the treaty gave their speeches they were not interrupted as often as Sumner had been. Tenaciously, articulately and even poetically Sumner demonstrated a formidable knowledge of the Domi- nican government and its past. However, his historical interpretation was biased in favour of the Haitian government. Even though Sumner's speech was powerful, the Senate approved the resolution on 12January 1871. The resolution called for three commis- sioners, a secretary and an assistant to the secretary. This team was asked to gather information on the merits of the proposed annexation of the Dominican Republic. Curiously, the assistant to the secretary was one of Sumner's personal friends, the famous black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Disputations over the annexation of the Dominican Republic continued throughout the winter. Yet, it was not until 27 March 1871, that Sumner took the floor to deliver another speech on the issue. The galleries were full of people who wanted to listen to the great orator. While entering the Chamber '[Sumner] was greeted with some demonstrations of applause as he took his seat'." Certainly there was great expectation among the nearly two thousand visitors and legislators regarding Sumner's speech. To the disappointment of many, Sumner's speech added little to what he had already said about the annexation. The New York Times reported that 'The speech was characteristic [...] except that the invectives and personalities were milder'.9 Although nobody applauded or congratulated him after his speech, the treaty was already dead.10 Not even die favourable report from the commissioners could revive the plans to annex the Domini- can Republic. Grant did not take any furdier action in favour of the annexa- tion. Blaming Sumner for killing the annexation treaty, Grant sought politi- cal and personal vengeance by influencing his removal from the position of chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. With this manoeuvre Grant achieved two political goals. He was free now to deal with the 'Alabama Claims' as he wished, and at the same time he punished his political rival. It appeared that Grant achieved what he wanted, since this action proved fatal to Sumner's health and to his political career. However, Grant could not revive his scheme for annexing the Dominican Republic." The Effect of the Conflicting Relationship on the Treaty If we are going to understand the dispute over the Dominican annexation we cannot avoid the analysis of the personal grievances between Sumner and Grant. They played an important role in the speeches, negotiations, Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 CHARLES SUMNER AND THE ANNEXATION OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 55 and even more in the mouths of the people and the pages of the newspapers. It became a practice for the media to portray the conflict as one between President Grant and Senator Sumner. Hence, when people came to listen to Sumner or Grant speak on the issue of the treaty, they expected to witness a showdown between two political rivals. Various authors have highlighted Sumner's relationship with Grant while explaining his opposition to the treaty. Charles C. Tansill wrote that 'There was a strange fatality about the Grant-Sumner quarrel over American expan- sion in the Caribbean'.12 David Donald also explained that Grant's ma- noeuvres were aimed to break 'Sumner's power' in the Senate.15 Moreover, Moorfield Storey said that Sumner's 'last term of service was to be marked by a series of conflicts with his own party associates, more bitter to him than any he had known, and was to be saddened by personal differences which clouded the rest of his life'.14 To a certain extent the bitterness in the relationship between Grant and Sumner preordained the fate of the treaty. Both leaders came from different worlds. At the start, Sumner regarded Grant's presidency as an improvement over Andrew Johnson's. However, their interests, personalities, political styles and personal manners clashed from the beginning. Grant, although amicable and easy going most of the time, did not take insubordination easily and tended to run the government like the Army. He was susceptible to disagreements, did not like to surrender or compromise, and was a stranger to the political arena. He was interested in expanding the United States wherever possible without much regard for culture or idiosyncrasies. Moreover, his lack of scholarly interest separated him from those politicians who represented the educated class. Grant felt closer to less refined politi- cians, including corrupt ones. On the other hand, although Sumner was an accomplished politician, he liked to challenge and to disagree. He also had strong and inflexible moral principles that had distinguished him from the start of his political career. Besides, he did not like the idea of expansion other than toward the north. Grant's visit to Sumner's home was an informal way to find support for his project. He did not expect to find a person dedicated to the political process and to his principles as Sumner was. So when he heard Sumner's promise to study the case, Grant thought that the Senator was promising support for the project. This mistake revealed how little they both knew each other. This error was also the first serious cause of personal discord among both leaders. Grant took Sumner's subsequent (clear) opposition as a personal attack and fought it as he fought his military conflicts. When the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations voted his project down, the president arranged to have it taken to the whole Senate, thinking that he could win enough approval. Grant prepared the landscape of the Senate in a way that made it appear as if he had the upper hand.15 Therefore, we can understand that he was surprised when the treaty did not pass. The president's tactics reflect Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 56 DENNIS HIDALGO his lack of knowledge about Congress and its personalities.16 However, he did not rest there. He brought it on his annual message, forced the resolu- tion for die commissioners through the Senate, and tried to bring in the treaty repeatedly for discussion. Grant became bitter toward Sumner. He once said that he would 'not allow Mr. Sumner to ride over [him]'. He even told Fish that he intended to punish him.17 Grant's grievousness was so extreme that he polarized almost every personality involved in the debate. Few could stand in the middle, and most had to gravitate to one of the two sides. The saddest case was with Frederick Douglass. Before the Dominican issue, Douglass referred to Sumner with these words: 'He was not only the most clear sighted, brave and uncompromising friend of my race who ever stood upon the floor of the Senate, but he was to me a loved, honored and precious personal friend'.18 However, after Douglass committed himself to support the annexa- tion he was strangely acrid with Sumner. The New York Times quoted him on 30 March 1871, as saying: If Mr. Sumner [...] shall persevere in his present policy, I shall consider his opposition fractious and regard him as the worse [sic] foe the colored race has on this continent.19 At the beginning, Sumner tried to avoid direct confrontation with the President. His eccentric ways kept him distant from Grant and instead of discussing their differences in a personal way he decided to bring the matter to open forum in the Senate. This course hurt Grant's pride. He saw Sumner's actions as betrayal. After Modey's removal from London, Sumner tried to distance himself from die Dominican affair while also explaining his version of Motley's removal. He was still licking his wounds when Grant brought up the subject of the treaty again in the president's annual address to Congress. In retalia- tion, Sumner attacked the president with rough language in his speech of 21 December. Politics continued interfering with personal relationships when Sumner learned that Fish accused him of being the cause of Motley's removal. As a result Sumner broke their long standing friendship. Spreading die grievance to members of die cabinet, he went even to the point of ignoring Fish in a public place. Personal conflict between Grant and Sumner aggravated die conflict over the annexation treaty. The clash of personalities and die differences of mediods in dealing widi die issues at hand brought a bitter rivalry for power in bodi. Using his sympadiizers in die Senate, Grant counterattacked Sumner's position on most issues dealing with die treaty. Grant's supporters also accused Sumner of simply being against the President and jealous of his position and influence. Meanwhile, Sumner was straight forward in his criticism of die president. Sumner accused Grant of having a corrupt cabinet, implicated him in charges of corruption, and compared him widi presidents like Johnson Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 CHARLES SUMNER AND THE ANNEXATION OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 57 and Buchanan. This rivalry inevitably produced increasingly acrimonious debates and their stubbornness made it more difficult to solve the dif- ferences. Furthermore, Sumner also provided an umbrella of protection for others who criticized the president. Many followed his example but none other than Sumner received severe counterattacks from the presi- dent's faction. Still, Sumner's personal problems with President Grant should not be regarded as the primary cause of his opposition to the annexation of Dominican Republic. Immorality and the Threat to Haiti's Freedom The idea that Sumner's dislike for Grant was the main motivation behind his opposition does not portray a complete picture of Sumner's opposition to the treaty.20 He was arrogant, self-righteous, and opposed most of Grant's projects, but his decisions usually were guided by his principles and beliefs. He gained many enemies by the way he talked and dealt with other equals, but he did not characteristically allow personal antagonism to determine his position on a political issue. Several authors have emphasized Sumner's moral instincts in explaining his motivation for his opposition to the annexation treaty. The well-known Dominican historian Frank Moya Pons presented Sumner as opposed against Grant's immorality.-'1 Sumner Welles correctly noted that Sumner's 'honest convictions which he had reached concerning die proposed measure made it impossible for him to continue to cooperate with the leaders of his own party'.'-2 Furthermore, Julio K. Peukert stressed Sumner's aversion for any attack to Haiti and any coloured government.25 Certainly, his conviction that it was an iniquitous treaty, and his jealous zeal for Haiti's freedom shaped for his opposition. Soon after Sumner started studying the materials of the treaty he found evidences of its weakness. Babcock's using of titles, his signing of a protocol without previous permission, and the use of naval power to protect the Dominican President against the Dominican rebels, woke his sense of right and wrong.24 Additionally, the enthusiasm for the project by the morally questionable lobbyists for the Dominican government, Joseph W. Fabens and William L. Cazneau, convinced him that there was something wrong within the treaty. And Fabens' comment on a possible future annexation of Haiti consolidated his opposition. He would fight to the end to keep Haiti free, even if it cost his position as chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Throughout die process of investigation, Sumner learned about the du- bious financial deals that Fabens and Cazneau had arranged with Baez. He also learned about the corruption in die Dominican government, which had already become endemic. Additionally, for him the plebiscite was clearly a fraud since Baez was a dictator who severely limited freedom of speech Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 58 DENNIS HIDALGO and choice. Moreover, there was no doubt in Sumner's mind that the number of rebels against Baez was sizable, because the dictator had to ask the United States for military support against them. They represented a portion of the population that was disgusted with the annexation process. Hence, an excess of dubious deals and violations of democratic principles were two strong reasons for Sumner to oppose the treaty. The threat to Haiti bore a similar weight in his opposition to the treaty. In his first speech on the annexation, which was in closed session, Sumner indicated 'that annexation of the Dominican Republic would be only the first-step toward swallowing up all the West Indies. Haiti, already at war with its neighbor, would surely be the first'.25 He repeated the same idea during his speech of 21 December 1870. This time however, he explained that the United States did not have the authority to protect the Dominican President with the Navy even if there was a precedent with the annexation of Texas. 'The treaty [...] had no effect until ratified by the Senate, and, I repeat, every attempt at Jurisdiction in those waters was a usurpation and an act of violence; I think I should not go too far if I said it was an act of war.'-11 When he delivers his third speech about the annexation issue on 27 March 1871, Sumner indicated how the Grant administration has acted as an aggressor and emphasized the need to protect Haiti's sovereignty. In what was probably his most complete speech about the annexation of Dominican Republic, and which was also his last, Sumner also detailed the procedures and actions that were incorrect and morally wrong with the treaty. He started by justly comparing the intentions of the Grant administration with the failed Spanish re-colonization. Explaining the Spa- nish failure Sumner stated that 'The spirit of independence prevailed once more on the island'.27 In this speech Sumner also disclosed the intentions of the greedy speculators promoting the treaty. He then went on to portray Baez as a corrupt, untrustworthy person who betrayed his people. Conse- quently the United States should not trust him. According to Sumner, worse was that the United States were responsible for Baez position in power. Sumner asserted: 'Nothing can be plainer. In other words, the usurper [Baez] was* maintained in power by our guns'."" That day he also mentioned that the Grant administration had violated the United States and Dominican Constitutions by the procedures of the treaty. In die second resolution that he offered at the beginning of die speech he stated that diis violation of the constitution was 'morally wrong'. He also believed that the Dominicans wanted independence instead of annexation. According to Sumner, the United States also violated interna- tional laws and rendered Haiti an unequal country. This time Sumner had in his hand, and available for publicity, all the materials, papers, and in- formation dealing with the process of annexation. Consequendy, he now could publicly unveil all the wrongdoing and immorality behind the treaty. Faithfully Sumner addressed the improprieties of the annexation scheme in each of his speeches. He dedicated a large amount of energy and time Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 CHARLES SUMNER AND THE ANNEXATION OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 59 to unveil the injustice and the immorality within the treaty. His actions and attitude concerning the annexation of the Dominican Republic seemed to be consistent with his traditional way of batding what he believed was immoral and incorrect. Most of Sumner's political decisions were based on moral issues. He dedicated die best period of his life and most of his energies to fight slavery because he considered it morally wrong. He then immersed himself in defending die equality of die African race in the Union because it was morally correct. Hence, it is not strange that he opposed die treaty of annexation on moral grounds. The Tropics for the African Race Clearly, die animosity with Grant, the immorality of the treaty, and the threat to Haitian freedom were key issues for Sumner in die debates over the Dominican annexation. All these reasons worked together to bring a stubborn Sumner against the treaty. However, all these reasons do not fully explain Sumner's opposition for the annexadon. Otherwise we would still have to cogently explain why he opposed any expansion into the tropics, but supported the annexation of Alaska and worked for the expansion into Canada. It is true that Sumner did not promote territorial expansion as did most of the leaders of his time and annexation in itself is not morally wrong. However, his support for northern expansion raises a hard question concerning his motivadons against the Dominican treaty. Namely, why did he oppose any expansion toward the south while supporting northern ex- pansion? We probably can find the key to his position by examining the evolution of Sumner's idea of climate and geographical determination of races, that he consistently mentioned at the conclusion of his speeches. In his speech of 24 March 1870, he declared that the United States were 'an Anglo-Saxon Republic, and would ever remain so by the preponderance of that race'. Meanwhile, the islands in the Caribbean 'were colored communities', in which the 'black race was predominant'. He explained that this was the reason why the United States and the Dominican Republic had disdnct nationalities diat should be 'preserved in its integrity'. Accordingly, the Dominicans should be allowed to experiment with self-governing and the United States should offer diem a protectorate. He concluded his argument by saying that 'To the African belonged the equatorial belt [...] and he should enjoy it undisturbed'.29 Sumner evidently was making an ethnic separation between the tropics and die regions of colder climate. He also asserted that the United States should preserve this difference of edinicity and the Anglo 'preponderance'. However, he seemed eager to protect black government from external direats. In his speech on 21 December 1870, Sumner more clearly defined his idea of geographic separadon of races. He said, 'There is one other consi- Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 60 DENNIS HIDALGO deration, vast in importance and conclusive in character, to which I allude only, and that is all'. By mentioning its importance and by only alluding to it Sumner seemed to present an incongruity. Why would he merely allude to something of such vast importance? Perhaps, by being succinct he would avoid confusion about his stand on the issue of racism. Immediately after announcing that he would only allude to the next subject, he wistfully presented a pseudo-scientific presupposition within a framework of abolitionist ideals and puritan doctrine. Trying to explain why the United States should not expand into the tropics, Sumner again declared that this land belonged to the African race alone, 'by tropical position; by unalterable laws of climate, such is the ordinance of nature, which I am not the first to recognize'. Furthermore, at the end of his last argument he gave the reason for this 'ordinance of nature'. According to Sumner the Dominicans dwell in the tropics because they have been placed there 'by Providence'. Hence, according to his argument in this speech, Providence had determined that races should inhabit particular geographi- cal territories.30 Because the Dominican's race was determined to the tro- pics, they would 'never' become North-Americans, according to Sumner. This way he was defining a strict separation between the inhabitants of the tropics and the population of the northern territories. He was also classifying all the tropical races as Africans.31 Probably to avoid misunderstanding about his support for the freed slaves, Sumner reiterated the equality of the African race according to the United States law just before bringing up the subject of climate and race again on his last speech about the annexation on 27 March 1871. For the great abolitionist, an attack against the freedom of Haiti by incorporating it into the Union would be a dishonour to the freed slaves: How vain to expect their sympathy and co-operation in the support of the National Government, if the President by his own mere will, and in the plenitude of kingly prerogative, can strike at the inde- pendence of the Black Republic, and degrade it in the family of nations! It is a thousands times impolitic [...], for it teaches the African race that they are only victims of sacrifice.32 In this paragraph Sumner wasfirstasserting the legal equality of the African race. Second, he promoted the social esteem of the African race. Third, he addressed the participation of the ex-slaves in the political process of the Union. Evidently, all these concepts were part of his established creden- tials as a defender of the African race. However, Sumner was careful to discuss these topics before arguing that races were geographically deter- mined; it seemed that his purpose was to avoid confusion with racism. Sumner then moved on to explain his idea of the geographical determina- tion of races by describing what he understood as the pattern of peaceful emigration. He said that 'according to the testimony of history, peaceful emigration travels with the sun on parallels of latitude, and not on parallels Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 CHARLES SUMNER AND THE ANNEXATION OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 61 of longitude [...] whether north or South'. Sumner then declared again that the 'Black Republic should [not] be absorbed out of sight, instead fostered into a successful example of self-government'. For Sumner there was 'No question equal in magnitude, unless it be that of slavery, [...] dian why dispossesses the African race from it natural home in this hemisphere'.33 In this speech Sumner repeated his theory of geographic determination of races for the third time. However, in explaining his idea, he ignored the Spanish emigration to south America, the English emigration to Austra- lia, and many others, and declared that emigration that was not forced has never been from north to south. Evidently and intriguing, his idea of geographic position and races did not correspond with his position against colonization of the African race. Otherwise, he would not have opposed efforts to repatriate the freed slaves to Africa or the Caribbean. In opposing the treaty, Senator Justin H. Morrill echoed the same argu- ments on races used by Sumner. However, instead of trying (as Sumner did) to ameliorate the ethnocentrism implied in those arguments, Morrill insulted the Caribbean race and culture. At first sounding like Sumner, Morrill said 'The Dominicans never could become homogeneous [...] with our people'. He then shifted away from Sumner saying: [g]rossly ignorant and superstitious, reeking in widi laziness [...] they would prove to us a serious political and moral as well as financial encumbrance. Before lowering our standards of intelli- gence by admitting them to share in governing us, we should educate and train our four millions of freedmen. Sounding again like Sumner he said, that there was no honour in 'pushing American institutions toward the equator, where even freedom's purest metal yields to the fervent heat. Our proper development was motherly. Natural laws had ordained our Union with the [motherly] British Provinces [in the] [n]orth'.34 Morrill declared that the intermingling of races would produce a 'lowering' of their 'standards of intelligence'. Furthermore, in a condescending tone he urged for the education of the freedmen in the Union. Firially, he implied that tropical countries could not posses republi- can institutions due to their hot climate. Hence, if the United States should expand, the north is the only place available. These ideas about race, climate and geographic position seemed to be dwelling in die minds of many during this time. On 29 March 1871, Carl Schurz, a strong supporter of Sumner, declared in his senatorial speech 'that the integrity of republican government [should] be preserved at home'. Fifteen days later Jacob Dolson Cox wrote Schurz expressing his support for his ideas. He suggested 'that the extension into tropical regions is proven by all experience to be dangerous to republican institutions, [...] I have no patience with any attempt to dilute our republicanism with an admixture of West Indian, of Mexican or South American turbulence'.35 Certainly, this concept diat proved to be succinct and galvanizing did not Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 62 DENNIS HIDALGO come from a vacuum. In his December speech Sumner averred that these ideas have been 'recognized' by others before. This implied that he has followed other figures with the idea of the geographical determination of races. Who could these people be? In his book, Prophetic Voices Concerning America, Sumner paraphrased and upheld Alexis De Tocqueville as a prophet for the North American future. He wrote: [Since] declaring that the 'English race', not stopping within the limits of the Union, will advance much beyond towards the nor- theast, - that at the northwest they will encounter only Russian settlements without importance, that at the southwest the vast soli- tudes of Mexican territory will be appropriated, - and dwelling on the fortunate geographical position of 'the English America,' with their climate, their interior seas, their great rivers, and the fertility of their soil he is ready to say: 'Anglo-Americans alone will cover all the immense territory comprised between the polar ice and the tropics'.36 Sumner sought to demonstrate that he shared the same criteria by writing and supporting De Tocqueville's ideas concerning the way the United States should expand. There is a close similarity between De Tocqueville's argu- ment and Sumner's idea of annexing Canada and his hesitant support for the annexation of Alaska. Other writers also shared this belief, and other beliefs supposedly derived from it. Among them was Samuel George Morton. He came to the conclu- sion that God created each race in separated creations and in separated places. According to Morton's idea, God created the races to inhabit certain climates. Interestingly, Sumner seemed to be one of the persons who attended meetings in which Morton discussed his views." Another propo- nent of this idea was Louis Agassiz. He believed that 'All facts, then, pointed to the conclusion that the races of men, like the animals and plants inhabi- ting the same region, must have been created throughout die area of their present habitats'.38 Probably Agassiz would have influenced Sumner as part of his circle of close friends.39 In the context of die 1870s, die pseudo scientific arguments linking race and geography apparendy seemed very persuasive. First, none of the propo- nents of the treaty dared to refute it in response to Sumner, Schurz, or Morrill. Second, Sumner placed it strategically near die conclusion of all his speeches against die annexation as die powerful but succinct closing argument. Third, disillusionment widi die compatibility of the African and the Anglo race was characteristic of the Reconstruction period. These argu- ments about race and their geographical determination seemed to feed into diis disappointment. Fourdi, the idea diat die Anglo race could not develop or live properly in hotter climates seems to have been rampant, influencing even emigration patterns in the United States. Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 CHARLES SUMNER AND THE ANNEXATION OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 63 Moorfield Storey exalted Sumner's cause as a martyr on the treaty to annex the Dominican Republic. He wrote, 'Again Sumner has help[ed] to keep the country right, though at a terrible cost for himself.40 But perhaps, although Sumner's cause was just, his motivations were unduly influenced by an all-too-common prejudice masquerading as respectable sciences and religion. A Short Biography of Charles Sumner Charles Sumner was a North-American statesman, known for his stance against slavery and his defense in favour of the freedmen. One of the illustrious politicians of the nineteenth century, Sumner was born in Bos- ton and studied law at Harvard University. In many areas, especially regard- ing the Afro-American population, he was well in advance of his time. Although later he became a Republican, in 1851, through a coalition of Free-Soilers and Democrats, he was elected to the United States Senate. A Senator until his death, he waged an uncompromising battle against slavery. In a speech entitled 'The Crime Against Kansas' delivered before his colleagues on 20 May 1856, Sumner severely criticized South Carolina senator, Andrew Pickens Butler. Two days later he was caned in the Senate chamber by Butler's nephew, Preston Smith Brooks, a member of the House of Representatives, also from South Carolina. Severely injured, Sumner was subsequently absent from the Senate floor for'Several years. He was chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1861 to 1871. He was also a prominent advocate of impeachment proceed- ings against President Andrew Johnson because the president opposed such radical republican policies as requiring the former Confederate states to establish public schools open to all children. Sumner differed with the President Ulysses S. Grant's foreign policies, and opposed him in his campaign for reelection in 1872. He died a bachelor in Washington, D.C., on 11 March 1874. Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 64 DENNIS HIDALGO Notes 1 Explicitly evoking the Monroe Doctrine, Grant stated: 'In view of the facts which had been laid before me, and with an earnest desire to maintain the Monroe Doctrine, I believe that I would be derelict in my duty if I did not take the inhabitants of the Republic of San Domingo, in regard to annexation'. See Ulysses Grant, 'President's Message', The New York Times, 1 April 1871, 1. 2 CarlSchurz, Charles Sumner: An Essay (Edited by Arthur Reed Hogue, Urbana 1951) 118. See also, Frederick J. Blue, Charles Sumner and the Conscience of the North (Arlington Heights 1994) 190. 3 The New York Times, 16 March 1869. 4 The New York Times, 18 March 1871. 5 Moorfield Storey, Charles Sumner (Boston and New York 1900) 386. 6 'Alabama Claims' was a series of demands for compensation made by the United States over the United Kingdom after the American Civil War. The demands were for indemnity for damages produced on United States property by the Confederate Steamship Alabama, which was built at Birkenhead, England. This ship put to sea and captured or destroyed more than sixty United States ships before the British government issued an order calling for its detention. The United States warship Kearsarge engaged it in batde outside the port Cherbourg, France, and sank it on 19 June 1864. The controversy over the Alabama claims lasted until 1885. The main arguments for compensations was the alleged failure of the British government to deter die building of the Alabama and other Confederate ships, and the equipping of Confederate ships at British ports. A court of mediators was appointed by representatives of die United States, Great Britain, Italy, Switzerland and Brazil, and they convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1871 to 1872. After much discus- sion the tribunal was able to settle the claims. According to the court of mediators, Great Britain should pay the United States an indemnity of $15.5 million. 7 United States Congress, The Congressional Globe, 21 December 1870, 231. 8 The New York Times, 28 March 1871. 9 Ibid. 10 Ibid. 11 The London Times referred to his removal in this way: "As I have already indicated, this as much as any personal quarrel, or the San Domingo dispute, prompted the movement for getting rid of Sumner. He is an impracticable sentimentalist, who would have kept Anglo-American relations in discord for years to come'. 'The United States', Times, 30 March 1871. 12 Charles C. Tansill, The United States and Santo Domingo, 1798-1873 (Gloucester 1938) 341. Probably Tansill is the author that overplayed this antagonistic relationship the most. It might seem confusing when he also mentioned in page 341 that Sumner opposition was not as vital as many scholars thought But moved by downplaying die importance of Sumner on opposing die treaty he overemphasized die personal conflicts. However, he also mentioned die arguments diat Sumner used to oppose die treaty. 13 David Donald, Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man (New York 1970) 451. The reader might find Donald's statement contradictory after reading page 445, on which he re- marked: 'It would, however, be easy to overestimate the influence of these personal grievances in causing die intra-party warfare diat ensued between Grant and Sumner'. Aldiough Donald admitted die temptation, he based most of his explanation for Sumner's opposition on his acrimonious relationship with Grant. 14 Storey, Charles Sumner, 363. 15 Donald, Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man, 446-451. 16 On many occasions he displayed a fresh ignorance about who chaired particular commit- tees in Congress. When he went to visit Sumner at his home, he told Sumner twice diat if he was in charge of die Judiciary Committee. See Tansill, The United States and Santo tlomingo, 385. 17 Blue, Charles Sumner and the Conscience of the North, 192. Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 CHARLES SUMNER AND THE ANNEXATION OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 65 18 Frederick Douglass, Life and Time of Frederick Douglass (New York 1963) 408. 19 Frederick Douglass, 'Washington', The New York Times, 30 March 1871, 4. 20 Tansill says 'Sumner's hostility to Grant was so deep-seated that there was no possibility of a compromise', Tansill, The United States and Santo Domingo, 343. 21 Frank Moya Pons, Manual de Historia Dominicana (Santo Domingo 1981) 376. Although Sumner was against the immorality in the treaty he never tried to accuse the President of immorality. In fact, he tried to present him as ignorant of the wrong doing behind die treaty. Donald explained that Sumner was accustomed to see the President as a vacuum in the White House. Donald, Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man, 461. 22 SumnerWelles.MiAorA'.s Vineyard (1966) 394. 23 Julio K. Peukert, 'Anh'elo de Dependencia', fahrbuchfur Gesehichte von Stoat, Wirtschaftund Lateinamerikas 23 (1986) 314. 24 Trying to describe Sumner's sense of morality Bill Ledbetter talked about his relationship with Northern Transcendentalism. 'Although Transcendentalism appreciated his intellect, it was Sumner's strong sense of morality that impressed them most deeply.' Bill Ledbetter, 'Charles Sumner: Political Activist for the New England Transcendentalists', The Historian (Fall 1987) 237 25 Donald, Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man, 442. 26 He continues, 'If a commodore leaves his quarter-deck, goes ashore, and, with his guns commanding a town, threatens to blow it down, is not this an act of war?'. The Congressional Globe, 21 December 1870, 229. Sumner was referring to this when the United States Navy threatened to retaliate if die Haitians attack the Dominican Republic. 27 Ibid. 28 I found this speech in several places. Probably the most available source is in 'Sumner and San Domingo', New York Times, 28 March 1871, 2. 29 Donald, Charles Sumner and the Rights ofMan, 442-443. Donald made a good job reconstruct- ing Sumner's speech from different newspapers since the session was in close meetings and there was no official record of the speech. 30 United States Congress, The Congressional Globe, 21 December 1870, 231. 31 This could include die Indians, the Mestizos, and the Mulattos. 32 Charles Sumner, Violations of International and Usurpation of War Powers, 27 March 1871, 24. Speech of Charles Sumner on his St Domingo resolution, delivered in the Senate of the United States. 33 Ibid. 34 Justin H. Morrill, 'San Domingo', The New York Times, 8 April 1871, 6. 35 United States Congress, Congressional Globe, 29 March 1871, 430. Is also cited on the The New York Times, 30 March 1871, 3. I found Cox's citation on Tansill, 434, quote 89. 36 Sumner continues citing Tocqueville: 'There will dien arrive a time when there will be seen in North America one hundred and fifty millions of men, equal together, who will all belong to the same family, who will have the same point of departure, the same civilization, die same language, die same religion, the same habits, the same manners, and over which thought will circulate in the same form and paint itself in the same colors. All else is doubtful, but this is certain. Here is a fact entirely new in die world, of which imagination can hardly seize the extent'. Then Sumner concluded the section on Tocqueville by saying diat 'No American can fail to be strengthened in the future of the Republic by the testimony of De Tocqueville. Honor and gratitude to his memory!', Charles Sumner, Prophetic Voices Concerning America (Boston 1874) 163, 164. 37 William Stanton, The Leopard's Spots (Chicago 1960) 118, 146. 38 Ibid., 106. 39 Blue, Charles Sumner and the Conscience of the North, 207. 40 Storey, Charles Sumner, 399. Downloaded from http:/www.cambridge.org/core. University Libraries - Virginia Tech, on 19 Oct 2016 at 19:55:10, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at http:/www.cambridge.org/core/terms. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0165115300022841 READ PAPER

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