Category: U.S. History

Ramsdell House: Ceredo, West Virginia

Exterior 2

Z.D. Ramsdell House

Back in May, Mrs. Present and I traveled to nearby Ceredo, WV for a sneak peek of the recently restored Ramsdell House. Many of the objects displayed were found in the home. Please enjoy the pictures. I have a bit of history concerning Z.D. Ramsdell, his house, and the town of Ceredo at the end of the post. Links to more information on Eli Thayer, Ramsdell, and Ceredo are also provided.

Mexican- American War: Part 3B/ Revolutionary Legacy of the U.S.

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Mexico and the United States moved from their colonial experiences into revolution on very different roads. Those experiences imparted important legacies on each nation. Legacies that provided challenges to and offered promise for life as independent nations. Because the United States and Mexico were both new nations, understanding their colonial and revolutionary legacies is critical to understanding the actions that brought them to war in 1846. This post continues my examination into those legacies, focusing on the revolutionary legacy of the United States. A similar post examining the revolutionary legacy of Mexico will follow.

4th of July

4th of July

Happy Independence Day! God bless the USA!

Mexican- American War: Part 3A/ Colonial Legacy

Mexico and the United States share historical experiences. Both nations experienced periods of colonization, revolution, and independence. However, the experiences of each nation through these periods differ greatly. A cursory examination of these experiences helps to understand how each nation benefited, or suffered, from the legacy of those experiences. My aim is to understand the trends that brought each nation to war in 1846. I am not establishing blame, justifying actions, proclaiming heroes, or identifying villains.

History Nugget #13: June 2019

“Something was said which drew from General Taylor the expression of views which greatly surprised me. They were to the effect that California and Oregon were too distant to become members of the Union, and it would be better for them to be an independent government. He said that our people would inhabit them and repeated that it would be better for them to form an independent government for themselves. These are alarming opinions to be entertained by the President of the United States.”

An excerpt from James K. Polk’s diary entry of Monday, March 5, 1849. Polk is relating a conversation between himself, President Zachary Taylor, W.W. Seaton (the Mayor of Washington D.C.), and Robert Winthrop (former Speaker of the House of Representatives) conducted during a carriage ride after Taylor’s inauguration.

Nevins, Allan (ed). Polk: The Diary of a President 1845-1849. New York: Capricorn Books, 1968. p 389.

Mexican- American War: Part 2/ Research and Writing Plan

Context is key to understanding a historic event, and contextualizing a complex event is a challenge. Where do you begin? Too far removed and the history will lack nuance. Too close and the history may present the event as particular when, in fact, it reflected a larger trend. Because the United States and Mexico were both new countries at the war’s outbreak in 1846, an overview of each nation’s colonial history is necessary. From there I studied each nation’s early history, looking at political, economic, and social developments. I examined the domestic concerns that animated people in both countries. Abolitionists in the U.S. fearing the expansion of slavery, or Mexican elites facing potential revolution and ethnic unrest. Or leaders in both nations fearing political adventurism in the continent’s undeveloped vastness. Concerns not unfounded. They were rooted in experience, in history.