Soldiers of Fortune

Front Cover
Broadview Press, 2006 M06 2 - 272 pages

A romance of America’s nascent imperial power, Richard Harding Davis’s Soldiers of Fortune recounts the adventures of Robert Clay, a mining engineer and sometime mercenary, and Hope Langham, the daughter of a wealthy American industrialist, as they become caught up in a coup in Olancho, a fictional Latin American republic. When the coup, organized by corrupt politicians and generals, threatens the American-owned Valencia Mining Company, Clay organizes his workers and the handful of Americans visiting the mine into a counter-coup force. Written on the eve of the Spanish-American War, Soldiers of Fortune casts the young American as the dashing, hypermasculine hero of the new military and economic. A huge best-seller, the novel did its part to push the nation into war against Spain, and stands as one of the most important texts in the literature of American imperialism.

The appendices, which bring together primary materials by writers and politicians such as Rebecca Harding Davis, Theodore Roosevelt, Jose Martí, Mark Twain, Herbert Spencer, and others, address such issues as social Darwinism, masculinity, and ideas of Anglo-American superiority.

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Contents

I
7
II
9
III
33
IV
37
V
39
VI
225
VII
226
VIII
227
XIX
239
XX
241
XXI
243
XXII
244
XXIII
245
XXIV
248
XXV
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XXVI
252

IX
228
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XI
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XII
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XV
232
XVI
235
XVII
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XVIII
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XXVII
255
XXVIII
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XXIX
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XXX
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XXXI
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XXXII
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XXXIII
265
Copyright

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Page 258 - ... our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.
Page 246 - The poor enjoy what the rich could not before afford. What were the luxuries have become the necessaries of life. The laborer has now more comforts than the farmer had a few generations ago. The farmer has more luxuries than the landlord had, and is more richly clad and better housed. The landlord has books and pictures rarer, and appointments more artistic, than the King could then obtain.
Page 254 - In 1898 we could not help being brought face to face with the problem of war with Spain. All we could decide was whether we should shrink like cowards from the contest, or enter into it as beseemed a brave and high-spirited people ; and, once in, whether failure or success should crown our banners. So it is now. We cannot avoid the responsibilities that confront us in Hawaii, Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines.
Page 246 - ... civilization. This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial. It is well, nay, essential, for the progress of the race that the houses of some should be homes for all that is highest and best in literature and the arts, and for all the refinements of civilization, rather than that none should be so. Much better this great irregularity than universal squalor. Without wealth there can be no Maecenas. The "good old times
Page 257 - ... it to its future federal relations. Her star and her stripe may already be said to have taken their place in the glorious blazon of our common nationality ; and the sweep of our eagle's wing already includes within its circuit the wide extent of her fair and fertile land. She is no longerto us a mere geographical space — a certain combination of coast, plain, mountain, valley, forest and stream.
Page 261 - Darkness have been furnished with more light than was good for them or profitable for us. We have been injudicious. The Blessings-of-Civilization Trust, wisely and cautiously administered, is a Daisy. There is more money in it, more territory, more sovereignty, and other kinds of emolument, that there is in any other game that is played.
Page 246 - good old times" were not good old times. Neither master nor servant was as well situated then as today. A relapse to old conditions would be disastrous to both — not the least so to him who serves — and would sweep away civilization with it. But whether the change be for good or ill, it is upon us, beyond our power to alter, and therefore to be accepted and made the best of. It is a waste of time to criticise the inevitable.
Page 246 - To-day the world obtains commodities of excellent quality at prices which even the preceding generation would have deemed incredible. In the commercial world similar causes have produced similar results, and the race is benefited thereby. The poor enjoy what the rich could not before afford. What were the luxuries have become the necessaries of life. The laborer has now more comforts than the farmer had a few generations ago.
Page 245 - The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us today measures the change which has come with civilization.
Page 261 - Christendom has been playing it badly of late years, and must certainly suffer by it, in my opinion. She has been so eager to get every stake that appeared on the green cloth, that the People who Sit in Darkness have noticed it — they have noticed it, and have begun to show alarm. They have become suspicious of the Blessings of Civilization. More — they have begun to examine them. This is not well. The Blessings of Civilization are all right, and a good commercial property; there could not be...

About the author (2006)

Brady Harrison is Associate Professor of English at the University of Montana. He is the author of Agent of Empire: William Walker and the Imperial Self in American Literature (University of Georgia Press, 2004).

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