The Gulf of Mexico was referred to as the American Mediterranean. Influence in this area would secure dominance of the interior valley, and access to the Pacific through Panama, hence mastery of the dominant commercial route to the Indies.

Cuba was the key as a base on the way southward to the slave empire of Brazil, the prospected area for the expansion of the plantation system.

The Southern US and the Caribbean:

The United States
circa 1854:

The Ostend Manifesto Table of Contents
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Last modified: November 21, 1997