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 Texas : Features : Columns : All Things Historical :

JANE McMANUS STORM CAZNEAU

by Archie P. McDonald
Archie McDonald Ph.D.
Texans are worldwide famous for toughness and resilience.

One such tough Texan was Jane McManus Storm Cazneau, and likely most of us would never had heard of her save for the biography of Cazneau written by Linda Hudson, recently retired from teaching Texas history to students at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall.
Mrs. Hudson wrote a doctoral dissertation on Cazneau while studying at the University of North Texas, and it turned out so well that the Texas State Historical Association published it as Mistress of Manifest Destiny: A Biography of Jane McManus Storm Cazneau. The intriguing part is the "manifest destiny."

Hudson argues convincingly that Cazneau, not John Louis O'Sullivan, as previously credited, coined the term Manifest Destiny that justified (rationalized?) so much of U.S. relations with Mexico, Indians-really, any group or nation standing in the way of our westward march to the Pacific-and then beyond.
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Cazneau used that term in articles written for the New York Sun in the 1840s when tensions between the U.S. and Mexico over Texas ran high and hot. Cazneau, born Jane McManus near Troy, New York, in 1807, had by 1840 been married twice-and the alleged mistress of others-traveled to Texas as early as 1832, became a landholder and typical Texas developer-dreamer, and was back in New York City writing for one of that city's most prominent newspapers. That, alone, would have been an unusual accomplishment for women in that time, but the future held so much more.

Jane became the first and only female war correspondent during the war with Mexico, 1846-1848, which was also the first war during which correspondents traveled with deployed U.S. Army personnel. She also took part in secret diplomacy with Mexican officials.

After the war, Jane married William Leslie Cazneau, another Texas developer. They lived for a while in Eagle Pass, and then moved on to further activities in the Dominican Republic. Cazneau kept up her writing and adventuring until her death in 1878-on the move still.
© Archie P. McDonald
All Things Historical
>
March 11-17, 2007 column
A syndicated column in 70 East Texas newspapers
Distributed by the East Texas Historical Association. Archie P. McDonald is director of the Association and author of more than 20 books on Texas.

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