Filibustering (Nash, 1998)

Gary B. Nash et al., eds., The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society, 4th ed. (New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 1998), 484
The failure to acquire new territory from Mexico legally did not discourage expansionist Americans from pursuing illegal means. During the 1850s, Texans and Californians staged dozens of raids (called “filibusters”) into Mexico. The most daring adventurer of the era was William Walker, a 100-pound Tennessean with a zest for danger and power.  After migrating to southern California, Walker made plans to add slave lands to the country. In 1853, he invaded Lower California (the Baja Peninsula) with fewer than 300 men and declared himself president of the independent republic of Sonora. Although eventually arrested and tried in the United States, he was acquitted after eight minutes of deliberation.

Back Walker went, invading Nicaragua two years later. He overthrew the government, proclaimed himself to have been elected dictator, and issued a decree legalizing slavery. When the Nicaraguans, with British help, acted to regain control of their country, the U.S. Navy rescued Walker. After a triumphant tour in the South, he tried twice more to conquer Nicaragua. Walker came to a fitting end in 1960 when he was captured and shot by a Honduran firing squad after invading that country.
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