AUSTIN, Texas—Jane McManus Storm Cazneau — journalist, adviser to national political figures and adventurer — is a little-known and under-appreciated 19th-century figure, who played a key role in shaping United States domestic and foreign policy. Cazneau’s contributions are revealed in a new book, Mistress of Manifest Destiny, published recently by the Texas State Historical Association at The University of Texas at Austin.
Best known under the pseudonym Cora Montgomery, Cazneau also often wrote anonymously. While a staff writer for John L. O’Sullivan, editor of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, she described the mission of the United States as “Manifest Destiny,” thereby coining one of the most significant and influential phrases in American history.
Linda S. Hudson, author of Mistress of Manifest Destiny: A Biography of Jane McManus Storm Cazneau, 1807-1878, is a professor of history at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall. This is her first work published by the TSHA.
Cazneau’s activism was not limited to her role as an essayist. She vigorously fought for the causes that she supported, whether working behind enemy lines during the Mexican War, filibustering for Cuba or Nicaragua, promoting Mexican revolution from a dugout in Eagle Pass, or urging free blacks to emigrate to the Dominican republic.
This adventurer invited controversy in her day by divorcing her first husband. She also was rumored to be Aaron Burr’s mistress, and was so accused by Burr’s wife in her divorce plea. Although she supported equality for all, Cazneau was not a proponent of women’s suffrage, citing that real oppression existed for women in factories, on Indian reservations and in the Caribbean. Instead, she advised working women to educate themselves and take better-paying men’s clerical jobs.
William Marcy, secretary of war in the Polk administration, described Cazneau as a “prodigiously smart and keen writer for the newspapers in New York.” In a letter of introduction to Judge James Workman, the unofficial director of immigration into Mexican Texas, Burr praised Cazneau as “A Lady!” and “a woman of business” who could “send out one or two hundred substantial settlers in less time . . . than any man or half a dozen men whom I this day know.”
William H. Goetzmann, Jack S. Blanton Professor of History and American Studies at UT Austin, calls the new book “absolutely riveting history of the first order.”
Manifest Destiny can be found in bookstores, or it can be ordered directly from the TSHA by calling 1-800-687-8132.
The TSHA, located on the UT Austin campus, has been preserving and sharing the rich history of Texas through publications and programs since 1897. For more information about the association visit its Web site at www.tsha.utexas.edu
For more information, or to set up interviews, contact:
Leslie Y. Sharpe, development coordinator
Daytime (512) 232-1524
Evening (512) 494-9189
Fax (512) 471-1551