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Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers
Unformatted Document Text:  Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers 4 steadfastly boosting local commerce, he took a special interest in Democratic politics and in the Asiatic trade that was fueling the growth of the Pacific Northwest. His business promotion helped him to become a protégé of Sen. John H. Mitchell, a Republican. Barrett lobbied for government postings to Kanagawa and then Osaka, Japan, site of powerful U.S. shipping interests, but instead he was offered the job as consul to the relative backwater of Siam, a quiet kingdom in Southeast Asia. Assuming the post in 1894, he became the nation’s youngest diplomat. While Worcester was returning to the obscurity of life in Michigan as an assistant professor of zoology and curator of the University Museum, Barrett was making a name for himself as a swashbuckling minister, cultivating court and consular society but also taking care to build a reputation for manly activity. He took up hunting, shooting a five- and-a-half-foot-long jaguar in swamp grass and killing a python with a jungle knife. 3 He also took to wearing a small silk American flag folded about three inches wide to show one red and two white stripes and a few stars diagonally across his shirt. “It distinguishes me from the rabble,” he noted. “[It] shows plainly that I am the representative of the great republic.” 4 Barrett laid to rest any doubts about the power of that flag in 1896, when an assault on a U.S. consular employee in remote Chiang Mai inspired the young plenipotentiary to call in the gunboat Machias, the first such visit by a U.S. man-of-war to the port. The threat behind the naval show was defused by skillful management of the symbolic vessel by Barrett, who invited Siamese officials aboard the ship, honoring them with artillery salutes ranging in magnitude to 21 guns for the Prince. All night, every night, the Machias kept a spotlight trained on the Stars and Stripes above the United States legation grounds. 5

Authors: Vaughan, Christopher.
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Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers
4
steadfastly boosting local commerce, he took a special interest in Democratic politics and
in the Asiatic trade that was fueling the growth of the Pacific Northwest. His business
promotion helped him to become a protégé of Sen. John H. Mitchell, a Republican.
Barrett lobbied for government postings to Kanagawa and then Osaka, Japan, site of
powerful U.S. shipping interests, but instead he was offered the job as consul to the
relative backwater of Siam, a quiet kingdom in Southeast Asia. Assuming the post in
1894, he became the nation’s youngest diplomat.
While Worcester was returning to the obscurity of life in Michigan as an assistant
professor of zoology and curator of the University Museum, Barrett was making a name
for himself as a swashbuckling minister, cultivating court and consular society but also
taking care to build a reputation for manly activity. He took up hunting, shooting a five-
and-a-half-foot-long jaguar in swamp grass and killing a python with a jungle knife.
3
He
also took to wearing a small silk American flag folded about three inches wide to show
one red and two white stripes and a few stars diagonally across his shirt. “It distinguishes
me from the rabble,” he noted. “[It] shows plainly that I am the representative of the great
republic.”
4
Barrett laid to rest any doubts about the power of that flag in 1896, when an
assault on a U.S. consular employee in remote Chiang Mai inspired the young
plenipotentiary to call in the gunboat Machias, the first such visit by a U.S. man-of-war
to the port. The threat behind the naval show was defused by skillful management of the
symbolic vessel by Barrett, who invited Siamese officials aboard the ship, honoring them
with artillery salutes ranging in magnitude to 21 guns for the Prince. All night, every
night, the Machias kept a spotlight trained on the Stars and Stripes above the United
States legation grounds.
5


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