Date of Graduation

5-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

History

Advisor

Daniel Sutherland

Committee Member

Patrick Williams

Second Committee Member

Kathryn Sloan

Keywords

Edward A. Burke, Honduras, Latin America, Louisiana, New Orleans, U.S. South

Abstract

Traditional images of the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American South are of an inward-looking region characterized by economic stagnation, xenophobia, cultural isolation, and reactionary politics. This dissertation contends that vibrant transnational links connected the South to the wider world through an analysis of the political and economic landscape of postbellum Louisiana, the 1884 New Orleans World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial, the Louisiana State Lottery Company, and Central America. An examination of Edward Austin Burke demonstrates that the era’s New South creed comprised a seminal transnational component.

This dissertation will explore how Burke became a central cog in Louisiana’s Democratic political machine and a leading American capitalist in Central America. As owner-editor of the New Orleans Times-Democrat and director general of the 1884 New Orleans world’s fair, Burke enjoyed a marvelous platform from which to broadcast his vision of a transnational New South that promoted Latin America as a market for southern-made exports and an investment opportunity for southern businessmen. The New Orleans exposition displayed technologies and products that shaped and at times threatened gender roles, racial hierarchies, class norms, local political dynamics, and imperial visions. Burke was also a key partner in the alliance between Louisiana’s Democratic government and the Louisiana lottery. The lottery, with its tentacles in Latin America and nearly every state of the Union, insured that no other Gilded Age political machine utilized national and transnational ties as successfully as Louisiana’s.

In the late 1880s, Burke began a near forty-year residency in Honduras, where he held diversified interests in the country’s railroads and real estate along with substantial mineral concessions. The major also actively supported numerous Honduran administrations, held five different high-ranking positions in government-supported railroads, recruited other foreign capitalists, served as intermediary when disputes arose between capitalists and Honduran leaders, and informally advised several presidents on matters ranging from infrastructure projects to American politics. Using American and Latino perspectives, this study demonstrates how the interplay between the U.S. South and Latin America was a defining variable in their respective developments.

Available for download on Thursday, May 28, 2020

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