The men who raised the banner of revolt at Yara, though great Cuban patriots, were nonetheless themselves men of wealth and spokesmen for the interests of the Cuban landowners in the eastern provinces. These men wanted a revolution that would eliminate Spanish domination over the island, but they also wanted to make sure that it was their class, the hacendado class, that controlled the course of the revolution and would dominate the scene once Cuba was liberated.
But from the first day of the war, the essentially conservative character of the insurrectional movement, headed by Céspedes, came into conflict with the aspirations of the popular classes, who flocked into the ranks of the Liberating Army. The Cuban lower classes, Negro and white, who made up the bulk of the revolutionary army, were fighting not only for the liberation of their country from Spanish tyranny, but also for reforms of many aspects of life in Cuba-especially for greater political power in the hands of the common people, and the abolition of slavery. Inevitably a conflict emerged between these two types of objectives.
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