Pirates, patriots, and public meetings: Antebellum expansionism and urban culture

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Public meetings have been an understudied aspect of mid-nineteenth-century urban political culture and public life, despite the fact that large public meetings attracted hundreds or thousands of people, monopolizing the largest urban public spaces on a not-infrequent basis. This article looks closely at some of the largest public meetings ever held in nineteenth-century America, political meetings in support of the mercenary Narciso López and his American filibustering army in the wake of their failure to capture Cuba in 1851. The López meetings, held in cities across America, shed light on the functions and practices of the public meeting generally and provide a lens into the violent masculine culture of the urban men who supported aggressive expansionism and filibustering. Urban male culture and aggressive expansionism were mutually constituted at the urban public meeting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-650
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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