University of Rhode Island
Mentor: Dr. Julia Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies
Re-thinking Jose Marti in exile (1881-1895)
Known as the “Martyr and Apostle” of Cuban Independence, poet Jose Marti (1853-1895) has been studied by many scholars because of his revolutionary political ideas and nationalist views. It was his hope to see Cuba free of Spanish rule and also to aid other young Latin American republics in their development as independent nations. Prior to Marti’s exile in New York (1881-1895), his writing had been primarily poetic literature. During and after this exile period, his writing became more political and revolutionary. He was devoted to one cause: a free Cuba. All of his writings promoted Latin American nationhood, but it was his political writing that motivated the Cuban exile community in the United States in its struggle against colonial oppression. He dedicated himself to this revolutionary project until his death.
This study reevaluates Marti’s work during exile, including Nuestra America and Patria, to explain how he influenced Latin Americans’ changing ideas about national identity in this period. It asks how did his writing provide a blueprint for Latin Americans, especially Cubans, to govern themselves and change their political systems? Specifically, it focused on three aspects of Marti’s nationalist thought: 1) anti-imperialism (the economic and political threat to the late colony by spreading United States influence), 2) political autonomy and Marti’s vision of political organizational systems and national movements and 3) Marti’s vision of independent cultures in Latin America, especially Cuba, and his hope that they could craft their own unique national identities.