On 21 October1869, one year after the start of the first Cuban War of Independence, Marti was arrested and incarcerated by the Spanish government for seditious activities; he was 16 years old. Shortly thereafter, theSpanish authorities deported him to Spain, where he was allowed to pursue a law degree at the University of Saragossa – in hopes that this would awaken his loyalty to the Spanish metropole.
Uponreceiving his degree in Civil Rights and Canonical law in 1874, Jose Marti embarked on a short, but brilliant career as a writer, a journalist, a diplomatic consul to several Latin-American countries,literary critic, and, always at the forefront, a political agitator for Cuban independence.
Jose Marti lived in New York from 1880 to 1895 and came to admire many of the values of North Americansociety, particularly the freedoms accorded to all citizens by the Constitution and the ingenuity and work ethic of Americans. Yet, he vehemently opposed the plans to annex or purchase Cuba that werebeing considered by such prominent men as US Navy Admiral Alfred T. Mahan, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt.
Jose Marti’s polemics against both Spanish colonial abuses and Americaninterventionism were often brimming with references to the “manliness” of the Cuban freedom fighters. In a letter to the editor of the New York Evening Post, dated March 25th 1889, Marti rails againsta jingoistic article in the Philadelphia Manufacturer which characterized Cubans as weak-willed:
…because our half-breeds and city-bred young men are generally of delicate physique, of suavecourtesy, and ready words, hiding under the glove that polishes the poem the hand that fells the foe - are we to be considered …an "effeminate" people?. . . These "effeminate" Cubans had courage enough, in...