Historical Focus and Political Rants

During the mid 19th century throughout many northern states such as New York and Pennsylvania, Catholics were socially and politically ostracized by Protestants.[1] During this time, Catholics living in Florida did not experience a strong anti-Catholic movement like the Know-Nothing political party that campaigned around several northern states.[2] But by 1910, anti-Catholic feeling was on the rise in Florida.[3] The propaganda campaign initiated by a disillusioned populist politician, Tom Watson, corrupted rural areas in Florida with anti-Catholic propaganda.[4] Between the years of 1910-1917, the misinformation initiated by Watson helped rupture Florida’s church-state relationship with Catholics.[5]  

During 1855 residents of Florida, notably the political participants in the American Party that represented Leon County, expressed resentment towards the arrival of new Catholic immigrants to the state; however, the majority of Florida did not hold any strong animus towards Catholic immigration.[6] Florida differed from the national trend during the mid-19th century because the state did not engage in a heavy anti-Catholic campaign like many northern states.[7] Catholics were typically viewed unfavorably in Florida, as there was a distrust of Catholics held by Protestants, but these feelings did not manifest into any significant anti-Catholic movement until the 20th century.[8]  

The Dreams that Fueled Hong Xiuquan

 

Dreams are often difficult to interpret. Dreams are believed to offer a metaphysical and divinatory knowledge, as well as provide ethical clarity concerning actions in the world. The leader of the Taiping Movement, Hong Xiuquan, relied on the dream world as proof of his calling from God to transform the minds of his followers. Hong used his dreams and his limited interpretation of the bible to persuade distressed and wealthy Chinese followers to believe he was their heavenly leader. Hong Xiuquan proclaimed there was a kingdom in heaven, yet he left earth a hell in his wake. His dream world validated his actions as a self-proclaimed prophet because Hong believed the will of heaven rested with him.

America’s open-door policy emerged from the interplay between the private and public sectors.[1] The reciprocal relationship between the American businessman and the American politician has roots traced back to a great debate between Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, and a coalition of American businessmen during 1899-1901.[2] The debate developed the strategy for America’s economic strength to “dominate all underdeveloped areas of the world.”[3] The partnership between the public and private sector endured throughout the decades due to the strong understanding that the American businessmen must have an overseas market for their product to ensure America’s domestic prosperity.[4] The open door policy helped shape American foreign policy from 1900-1958.

 

            The depression and social unrest that occurred during the 1890’s prompted American manufacturers, American farmers, American merchants and American entrepreneurial groups to blame a lack of available markets to sell their products as the reason for the poor economic climate of the country.[5] As a result, American leaders concluded that overseas expansion would provide an outlet to end such tensions.[6] The open door policy provided the proper tactics for the United States to embark on world expansion of its financial market, as well as the strategy required to open such markets for the sale of American products in underdeveloped countries.[7]

            The “Review of the World’s Commerce,” a report prepared by the State Department’s Bureau of Foreign Commerce on April 25, 1898, noted that American artisans and operatives must have access to sell their goods in foreign markets if such livelihoods are expected to keep their employment throughout the entire year.[8] Government officials invested their time on behalf of the private companies, and on behalf of such company interests to expand the private sector overseas.[9] The State Department’s Bureau of Foreign Commerce vowed to become a staunch competitor in “the world-wide struggle for trade.”[10]

The Great American Orator

Wendell Phillips was an American orator who aimed to discredit the Constitution of the United States because he believed the document supported slavery and created a national divide. Despite his contempt for the United States Constitution, Phillips realized the importance of American politics and American institutions. He understood the power of public opinion and harnessed his oratory skill to preach “Revolution to thoughtful men” in the North. During the years 1850-1875, Wendell Phillips dominated the American lecture platform.

Wendell Phillips was frustrated with the political inactivity to manumit the slaves in the United States. Phillips could not tolerate the constant backsliding of the Northern politician and their wavering stance on civil liberties for the bondsman. He called Abraham Lincoln “That slavehound from Illinois.” Due to political ambiguities that surrounded slavery and freedom, Phillips felt compelled to attack and agitate the public on topics related to the abolition of slavery for the bondsman. He felt politicians would not adamantly pursue the immorality of slavery. Wendell Phillips attempted to bring about social change via public speaking. He made his reputation by telling people what they did not want to hear, and he was relentless in his mission to bring freedom to the slaves.

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