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It is surprising how little attention is given to the idea of expansion in general, and the war with Mexico specifically, in the platforms of American political parties between 1832 and 1848. With Texas, Oregon, Manifest Destiny, and the Mexican War defining the period, I expected to find these subjects being addressed in the party platforms. It is only after the fact, the Mexican- American War that the parties mention the new territories. More prominent are statements concerning constitutional questions: limited government versus large scale internal improvements, and slavery. They generally feature praises of the various candidates. Below are planks that address expansion and the war with Mexico. One plank, the #6 plank in the 1848 Whig platform, is over-board in its description of Taylor’s virtues. If you are interested in reading it a link is provided in the source reference.
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Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Institute, WV
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“There is more selfishness and less principle among members of Congress than I had any conception of, before I became President of the U.S.”
James K. Polk
Sourced from: http://www.presidential-power.org/quotes-by-presidents/james-polk-quotes.htm, accessed 11/9/2019
Three documents are key to understanding how Mexico was able to achieve independence from Spain. These same documents attempt to join the fractured society under the most inclusive umbrella possible. Mexican society featured groups that often held interests that were in opposition to the goals of the other groups, or to the cause of the nation. There was little consensus on what form of government was desirable. While independence was achieved, it initially resulted because loyalists realized that Spain could no-longer maintain control over the colony and that they would have to face the masses of creole, castes, and Indians alone. It would be left for the new government of Mexico (whatever form that would take) to deal with the nation’s many deep divisions. At the moment of independence, The Mexican Empire was declared a constitutional monarchy. Mexico’s challenges were extensive. Understanding Mexico’s actions in 1846 are only possible in the context of 1821.
The first two links are very quick reads.
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DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,
DELEGATES OF THE PEOPLE OF TEXAS,
IN GENERAL CONVENTION,
AT THE TOWN OF WASHINGTON,
ON THE SECOND DAY OF MARCH, 1836
When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted; and so far from being a guarantee for their inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression. When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted Federative Republic, composed of Sovereign States, to a consolidated Central Military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the ever ready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.
“Texas Declaration of Independence, 1836” History Now, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-now/spotlight-primary-source/texas-declaration-independence-1836, Accessed Oct. 26, 2019.
Our visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna was the first time we experienced the interior of a European Cathedral. We were awestruck. It is hard to describe the magnitude of everything I sensed, including sacredness, the expression of culture, and weight of history. We have visited others since, and the experience is the same. Although I had read about the symbolism of cathedrals, I did not grasp their beauty (even the less ornate ones) until I had visited one. This is a selection of pictures we took during our visit to St. Stephens. I hope you enjoy.
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Colonial Eras to Independence
Once I began studying the Mexican American War, it became apparent that my original writing plan (Mexican- American War: Part 2/ Research and Writing Plan) would not provide an understanding of the conditions that existed in Mexico and the United States in 1846. If the purpose of this history is to identify the factors that contributed to the war’s outbreak, execution, and outcome, I needed more than a superficial understanding of each nation’s history immediate to the outbreak of war. 1846 did not emerge from the abyss, disconnected from previous events. Until I took on this project, I had not studied this subject in significant detail. Every class I have had seemed to examine other events from the period in detail while rushing past the Mexican American War. We examined the War of 1812, the Era of Good Feelings, Jackson, Indian wars, and the growing slavery divide. We talked about Manifest Destiny.
Attention given the Mexican American War, as the subject, seemed parenthetical and disappointingly simplistic. Always the same narrative: the greedy US attacked its weaker neighbor. Manifest Destiny, and racism, emboldened Euro- Americans to assume a righteous speciality, justifying its blatant land grab. A Jacksonian puppet (but tyrannical) president James K. Polk, engineered the conflict, manipulated information, over-ruled his military leaders, and condemned his nation to a coming Civil War. Texas and Oregon are usually given some attention. Polk bullied and manipulated his way to settlement with Britain over the Oregon boundary. Americans migrated to Texas (mostly illegally), ignored Mexican authority, rebelled, and asked the US for statehood. A plea that was rebuffed for a fear that admitting a new slave state might cause a civil war. While the narrative contains truth, I think it is quite problematic and begs many questions. I will begin with basic questions that are consistent throughout the period, and then expand upon those questions as my research continues. It is important to understand that this is not an attempt to victim blame Mexico for the war. I am not looking for victims or heroes. The purpose is to understand how Mexico and the U.S. arrived at 1846. In this post I will examine the questions in the historical context of the period to 1821.
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One of the more fascinating things we noticed on our trip to Ireland was the many stone ruins. Everything from castles and churches to farm houses and barns. We visited several preserved/ restored structures but we did not have an opportunity to explore any of the ruins. These are ten of the ones I was able to photograph from the bus. There were many others I was not able to photograph. I have identified them by their approximate location, usually the section of road we were traveling. I would be grateful if any of my Irish friends could help identify the ones I have not, or correct any miss-identifications.
Between Galway and Moher
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