Essays on Cuban History: Historiography and Research

By Louis A. Pérez Jr. | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
Scholarship and the State: Notes on History of the Cuban Republic

The Cuban revolution of 1959 gave new impetus to historical works on Cuba. Older studies, previously out of print, reappeared to provide twentieth-century perspectives on the revolution. One important study to enjoy a second printing was Charles E. Chapman History of the Cuban Republic, first published in 19271 and reissued in 1969.2 For a generation of Latin Americanists, A History of the Cuban Republic served as the standard reference work on twentieth-century Cuba. For more than thirty years, it provided the point of orientation for all subsequent inquiries into the history of the republic.

The reappearance of A History of the Cuban Republic in 1969 met the renewed interest and wider market demands generated by the Cuban revolution. The original publication in 1927, however, was in response to and the result of North American policy needs in Cuba.

Inspiration for a history of Cuba originated with Ambassador Enoch H. Crowder. Originally appointed special representative of the president in Cuba, General Crowder arrived in Havana in 1921 with instructions to overhaul Cuban national administration. During the early years of his stay in Havana, Crowder exercised sweeping authority over the government of Alfredo Zayas, orchestrating major reforms and managing the affairs of state almost unilaterally through decree and ultimatum. By the early 1920s, Crowder had imposed on Havana a regimen of administrative integrity and public honesty. With the raising of

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