Despite his complete lack of military background, “Walker thought he was a general, and a mastermind,” Martelle says. Walker's plans then expanded from forming a buffer colony to establishing an independent Republic of Sonora, which might eventually take its place as a part of the Union as the Republic of Texas had done. Unlike men of similar ambition, such as Cecil Rhodes, Walker's grandiose scheming ultimately failed against the union of Central American people. “But he had no idea what he was doing. “I think with Walker, it was a mix of hubris, ambition and a kind of nascent white supremacy.”. But the jury was full of pro-slavery Walker groupies who were incredibly impressed with his blustery speech on the importance of expanding America’s borders. ... with William, his youngest, captaining a slave ship and part-owning other slaving vessels. C. K. Garrison and Charles Morgan, subordinates of Vanderbilt's Accessory Transit Company, provided financial and logistical support to the Filibusters in exchange for Walker, as ruler of Nicaragua, seizing the company's property (on the pretext of a charter violation) and turning it over to Garrison and Morgan. Outraged, Vanderbilt dispatched two secret agents to the Costa Rican government with plans to fight Walker.  U.S. President Franklin Pierce recognized Walker's regime as the legitimate government of Nicaragua on May 20, 1856, and on 3 June the Democratic national convention expressed support of the effort to "regenerate" Nicaragua. , Fearful of attacks by Mexico, Walker moved his headquarters twice over the next three months, first to Cabo San Lucas, and then further north to Ensenada to maintain a more secure position of operations. Vanderbilt’s men joined forces from other Central American nations, including Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, which feared Walker might target them next. For example, James Otis, a leading proponent of colonial independence, wrote in a highly regarded and influential 1764 pamphlet that \"The colonists are by the law of nature freeborn, as indeed all men are, white or black.\… Just ahead, a detachment of U.S. soldiers waited on the other side of the border to arrest them, while a band of eager spectators gathered atop a hill to watch the whole thing. He was inaugurated on July 12, 1856, and soon launched an Americanization program, reinstating slavery, declaring English an official language and reorganizing currency and fiscal policy to encourage immigration from the United States. Latin American Library.  Lack of supplies and strong resistance by the Mexican government quickly forced Walker to retreat. When efforts to get permission failed, Walker decided to invade instead. On Oct. 15, 1853, he sailed from Walker then conceived the idea of conquering vast regions of Central America and creating new slave states to join those already part of the Union.  It was in this battle that the soldier and drummer Juan Santamaría sacrificed himself by setting the Filibuster stronghold on fire. Within a few months nearly 10,000 civilians had died, almost ten percent of the population of Costa Rica. The U.S. soldiers stood back, refusing to intervene in any battle in Mexican territory—even one involving Americans.  Realizing that his position was becoming precarious, he sought support from the Southerners in the U.S. by recasting his campaign as a fight to spread the institution of black slavery, which was the basis of the Southern agrarian economy. He was driven off, but not without inflicting heavy casualties.  This move increased Walker's popularity in the South and attracted the attention of Pierre Soulé, an influential New Orleans politician, who campaigned to raise support for Walker's war. Meanwhile, the captain of Walker’s original ship decided to take off with the vessel, stranding the would-be president and his men in hostile territory. British pro-slavery movement. 19th-century American filibuster, physician, lawyer, journalist, and mercenary, For other people named William Walker, see, James Mitchell Clarke, "Antonio Melendrez: Nemesis of William Walker in Baja California.". Mexico refused, and Walker returned to San Francisco determined to obtain his colony regardless of Mexico's position. The son of a freed slave, Walker was the first African American graduate of Pendleton High School. Later, a cholera epidemic spread to the Costa Rican troops and the civilian population of Rivas. Though Walker favored states’ rights and thought territories should make their own decisions regarding slavery, he never owned slaves, and wasn’t a strong advocate for the institution itself, he notes.  Florencio Xatruch led his troops against Walker and the filibusters in la Puebla, Rivas. Concerned about Walker's intentions in the region, Costa Rican President Juan Rafael Mora Porras rejected his diplomatic overtures and began preparing the country's military for a potential conflict. William Walker was born in … Walker's name is used for the main character in Burn!, though the character is not meant to represent the historical William Walker and is portrayed as British. 2007. Walker's campaigns in Lower California and Nicaragua are the subject of a historical novel by Alfred Neumann, published in German as Der Pakt (1949), and translated in English as Strange Conquest (a previous UK edition was published as Look Upon This Man). The choice to legalize slavery in his republic was likely more practical than ideological. Before the en… 8 William Law Mathieson, British slavery and its abolition, 1823–1838 (London, 1926); W. L. Burn, Emancipation and apprenticeship in the British West Indies (London, 1937); William A. Thanks to opposition from Mexican ranchers and Native Americans living in the region, these efforts didn’t take, and Walker, then living near Sacramento, California, saw an opportunity. University of North Texas Press. Walker was considered a hero by the pro-slavery faction in …  He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and University of Heidelberg before receiving his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 19. But in 1855 and 1856 several things happened that brought an end to his short reign: William Walker (May 8, 1824 – September 12, 1860) was an American physician, lawyer, journalist, and mercenary who organized several private military expeditions into Mexico and Central America with the intention of establishing English-speaking colonies under his personal control, an enterprise then known as "filibustering". He practiced briefly in Philadelphia before moving to New Orleans to study law.. They stood face to face at ten paces, and each aimed and fired at the signal of a referee. The Constitution as Pro-Slavery. Some slaves, like "Aunt Fannie", who belonged to Dennis Pennington, refused to be set free. Walker practiced law for a short time, then quit to become co-owner and editor of the New Orleans Crescent newspaper. Walker tried a number of times to shoot his weapon, but he failed to land even a single shot and Graham was left unscathed. 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