William Walker, a filibuster of the 19th century in America.

Essay by apocryphalCollege, UndergraduateA-, May 2003

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William Walker, arguably the greatest filibuster in American history, was born in Nashville, Tennessee on May 8th, 1824. Among the titles he claimed in his lifetime were President of Lower California, Emperor of Nicaragua, Doctor, lawyer, and writer. The study of this interesting character requires a good look at who William Walker was, what filibusters did in American history, what he did, and an exploration of a question: Why is William Walker typically left out of historical texts?

William Walker himself was born an un-licensed, would-be conqueror, burning with a desire for fame and carried away by a firm belief in his own destiny to rule. He was a very intelligent man, educated first at the University of Nashville, then abroad at the universities of Edinburgh, Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Paris. While educating in Europe, he was exposed to many of the great revolutions in Europe, headed by such names as Massini, Garibaldi, Marx, Feuerbach, and Blanc, whose rhetoric was spread through Europe like wildfires.

These political extremists likely influenced Walkers own filibustering ideas to a great extent.

Upon his return to America, he practiced medicine in Philadelphia, law in New Orleans, a newspaper man in San Francisco, and again practicing law in Marysville. Always an ardent slavery advocate, he looked with a mark of disdain at the filibustering schemes of the French during the 1850s, as the American expansion into Mexico was a factor of Manifest Destiny, to which the French would serve as a grave hindrance.

In the mid-nineteenth century, adventurers known as filibusters participated in military actions aimed at obtaining control of Latin American nations with the intent of annexing them to the United States-an expression of Manifest Destiny. Although the movement was named in 1845, the philosophy behind Manifest Destiny always existed...