Tuesday, August 22, 2006

U.S. Annexes New Mexico: Taking by Force What Cannot Be Secured Through Diplomacy

On this date in 1846, General Stephen W. Kearney, on orders from the U.S. government, proclaimed New Mexico a territory of the United States. Thus began the Mexican War, a monumental landgrab justified by Manifest Destiny. When it was over the United States held dominion over California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico, and by the time gold was discovered in California it was American gold. The rationalization of Manifest Destiny -- that we wanted and needed this resource and it was obviously ours by right -- is apparently one that still operates in some circles. Those people (dark skin, a different religion) have it, and we want it, and we're going to get it, and the end will justify the means.

This is just one of the many stories I regretted not including in The American Story. The hardest things about writing? It isn't not knowing what to include, it's deciding what to leave out. No doubt some readers will find expendable stories in the book, minor historical footnotes that could have made room for more weighty accounts. Ah well. Connsider this blog entry, on the publication date of The American Story, to be Addendum #1.

the above editorial cartoon is from the Library of Congress. Best Blogger Tips
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