In this position he helped resolve claims of Americans against Spain.
Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry was a Georgian who served in the Mexican War and held a seat in the House of Representatives from 1857 until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. He was an early secessionist, was elected to the Confederate Congress, and also served as a lieutenant colonel...
Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry was a Georgian who served in the Mexican War and held a seat in the House of Representatives from 1857 until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. He was an early secessionist, was elected to the Confederate Congress, and also served as a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate Army. In this position he was staff aide to both Generals Joseph Johnston and Joseph Wheeler. He was such a southerner at heart that he personally urged Confederate President Jefferson Davis to take the field with his men.
After the end of the Civil War, Curry studied for the ministry and became a preacher, but eventually returned to public service. He did so most notably as a U.S. diplomat, with President Grover Cleveland appointing him Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Spain in 1885. At that time it, this position gave Curry all of the power and responsibility of an official Ambassador. Document Signed as President, Washington, October 5, 1885, authorizing “the Secretary of State to cause the Seal of the United States to be affixed to the envelope of my letter accrediting Jabez L.M. Curry as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Spain.”
Due to Spain’s presence as a colonial power in the Western hemisphere, especially in Cuba, there had long been tension between her and the United States. Over time, Americans grew sympathetic towards Cuba’s unsuccessful attempts to overthrow Spanish rule. In the Ten Years’ War (1868-1878) within Cuba between Spain and Cuban rebels, Spanish troops were responsible for the destruction of American property and Americans made claims for reimbursement for such destruction. Curry had to deal with this issue as Envoy by resolving the claims against Spain, and in this he was successful. In “Destroying the Republic: Jabez Curry and the Re-education of the Old South,” John J. Chodes wrote how Curry commented prophetically on the Cuba/Spain relationship: “Cuba seems lost to Spain; I do not see how her authority can be regained, whatever course we take in the matter…” Curry also suggested creation of new trade agreements whereunder both the U.S. and Spain would lower their protectionist barriers on Cuban goods, but tariffs were a major issue and President Cleveland could not agree to this. Curry served in this particular position from 1885-1888.
In 1895 another Cuban revolt occurred and this resulted in a particularly harsh response from Spain. Cuban rebels were thrown into overcrowded camps where many thousands died. In America, William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal printed sensational stories of Spanish brutality and Cuban victories, stirring up pro-Cuban and anti-Spanish sentiment. In February of 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine was sunk in Havana harbor. Although there was no proof the Spanish had a hand in it, on April 25, 1898, Congress declared war on Spain. In a few months the war was over and the U.S. acquired a number of Spain’s colonies; it was now an international power.
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