Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Let's Show the World We Are Brothers: The Dominican Guerra de Restauración and the Nineteenth-Century Caribbean
by Eller, Anne E., Ph.D., New York University, 2011, 552; 3482875
Abstract (Summary)

"Let's Show the World We Are Brothers" details a precarious trajectory of nationhood and emancipation in the mid-nineteenth century, following the Dominican Republic's cession back to Spain in 1861 and subsequent War of Restoration (1863–1865) seeking independence once more. It begins with the earliest contests over nationhood and government in the young republic, exploring the exceedingly fragile project of nation building and competing visions for the country's future. An unprecedented event in European colonial history, Spain's brief reoccupation of the territory in 1861 brought the tenuousness of emancipation, the meaning of free labor, and the limits of political participation into constant public debate.

Spanish annexation proved to be no more successful at securing popular loyalties than the efforts of the Dominican elite in prior decades, however. Rich evidence from a variety of sources reveals how competing discourses of identity and freedom were thrown into sharp relief by renewed colonial rule. Alternative notions of political legitimacy—autonomy, right to the land, freedom from state interference—proved an intractable and electrifying challenge to the would-be modernizers of the colonial administration. The collaborative efforts of Haitian rebels highlighted shared aspirations and common logic of resistance held by common people across the whole of the island. Meanwhile, a liberal nationalist opposition formed in the cities as well; their ambitious plans for pan-island unity and political federation lend the dissertation its name.

By 1865, the frustration of Spanish officials and loyalists hardened into the acceptance of failure. News of Spanish defeat traveled even more quickly than the exodus of colonial officials, however, serving as potent inspiration for independence fighters in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Revolutionaries traveled, too; Dominican rebels famously lent support to neighboring independence struggles and pan-Caribbean aspirations of antillanismo. The efforts of these freedom fighters affirm that despite small size and historiographical marginalization, the nineteenth-century Dominican Republic, together with Haiti, belong at the center of debates of imperialism, nationalism, and the popular meanings of freedom in the Caribbean and modern Atlantic world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ferrer, Ada
Commitee: Fischer, Sibylle, Gomez, Michael A., Thomson, Sinclair, Weinstein, Barbara
School: New York University
Department: History
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Latin American history
Keywords: Colonialism, Dominican republic, Emancipation, Haiti, Latin america, Nineteenth-century Caribbean
Publication Number: 3482875
ISBN: 978-1-267-04881-3
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