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Title page for ETD etd-07282017-144201

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Brown, Marjorie Denise
URN etd-07282017-144201
Title Diplomatic Ties: Slavery and Diplomacy in the Gulf Coast Region, 1836-45
Degree PhD
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Richard J.M. Blackett Committee Chair
  • diplomacy
  • slavery
  • antislavery
  • Republic of Texas
  • England
  • Mexico
  • United States
  • 19th century
Date of Defense 2016-04-27
Availability unrestricted

Diplomatic Ties: Slavery and Diplomacy in the Gulf Coast Region, 1836-1845

Marjorie Denise Brown

Dissertation under the direction of Professor Richard J.M. Blackett

By focusing on the tenures of five diplomats, this study examines the effect of diplomacy on the westward expansion of slavery after Texas’ independence in 1836 to its annexation into the Union in 1845. This project begins with the confrontation of the formal diplomatic world on the frontier with the contested introduction of slaves in the region. During the Republic (1836-45), Texas’ diplomatic corps emerged out of the slaveholding class. The Republic’s diplomacy tied Texas’ interests from the Gulf Coast of Mexico across the Atlantic Ocean to Great Britain and the rest of Europe. In examining the role of diplomacy and the Republic of Texas, the issue of slavery is a continuous and contentious subject. By looking at the Republic, this study merges three different historiographies—Latin American, North American, and British —to gain a comprehensive view of the westward expansion of slavery. Texas, due to its geographical size, was at the heart of the Gulf Coast region and serves as lens through which to view the westward expansion of slavery. This dissertation argues that diplomacy, particularly by Texas diplomats, propelled the westward expansion of slavery. This project addresses different questions concerning the slave trade. For example, why did slavery spread with such alacrity in the Republic in spite of strong international resistance? How did this trade create “unholy unions” between countries, who were politically, socially, and economically opposed to one another? In the end, these questions, allow for an assessment on the importance of the tie between diplomatic relations and the westward expansion of slavery to the economy of the Gulf Coast region in the antebellum years.

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