The Mexican War Book Review Your Name/ Course Number / Instructor Name /Introduction Karl Jack Bauer (born 30 July 1926 in Springfield, Ohio ” died 17 September 1987 in Troy, New York . The son of Charles August Bauer, an engineer, and Isabelle Fairbanks, Jack Bauer attended Harvard University , where he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948. He went on to graduate study at Indiana University , where he earned his M.A. in 1949 with a thesis on “United States naval shipbuilding programs, 1775 -1860” and his Ph.D. degree in 1953 with a dissertation on “United States naval operations during the Mexican W ar.” On 18 August 1951, he married Dorothy Sargent, wit h whom he had three children, Eric, Neil, and Anne. K. Jack Bauer, a naval historian and a professor of history at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, died Sept. 17 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy, N.Y., of complications from a heart attack. He was 61 years old and lived in Brunswick, N.Y. Dr. Bauer, a native of Springfield, Ohio, and a graduate of Harvard College, received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University.
He served as an archivist at the National Archives and as a historian with the United States Marine Corps and the Navy. He joined the R.P.I. faculty in 1965. Dr. Bauer wrote and edited several books, including works on naval vessels and a biography of President Zachary Taylor. The Mexican -American W ar (1846 -1848) marked the first U.S. armed conflict chiefly fought on foreign soil. It pitted a politically divided and militarily unprepared Mexico against the expansionist – minded administration of U.S. President James K. Polk, who believed the United States had a manifest destiny to spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. A border skirmish along the Rio Grande started off the fighting and was followed by a series of U.S. victories. W hen the dust cleared, Mexico had lost about one -third of its territory, including nearly all of present -day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.The Mexican War Book Review The Mexican American War ultimately expanded the new nation to the coast of the Pacific. It was essentially a war about land grabbing, Mexico at the time ha d control over the Southwest and California and at the same time European settlers from the Midwest and East Coast were travelling westward because of manifest destiny. Manifest destiny was an ideal during the nineteenth century were settlers from the olde r regions of the US believed that expansion westward was inevitable and just. More and more reasons were beginning to pile up on why manifest destiny and settling west of the Mississippi was a good idea. For one thing, int the heads of laborers and farmers of the East and MidWest, the land beyond the Mississippi represented wealth. Word about the California Gold Rush and Nevada Silver Rush were spreading and people wanted to live out the American dream, in their mind settling for a low paying and tedious jo b was not reaping the benefits of the land of the free, the land that was created from great sacrifice and unforgivable bloodshed. Manifest destiny was exercising the rights that were established and fought for by the founding fathers and the Treaty of Gua dalupe Hidalgo promised just that. By the end of the Mexican -American War Mexico handed the Southwest over to the United States and the nation expanded its size significantly, comparable to that of the Louisiana Purchase earlier in the century. K. Jack Bau er is the author of the book and was a well -versed historian, professor and author. His emphasis was on military history in the realm of the United State Marine Corps and the US Navy. He was a smart and educated man, graduating from Harvard and receiving h is masters and doctorates from Indiana University. He was a naval historian and was a professor of history at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Mexican War was one of the severalbooks that he wrote and detailed the politics that encompassed the war t hat gave the US the power of the West. In Chapter one titled Imperial America speaks about the preliminary steps and political climate that led to the start of the Mexican – American War. When the United States established their independence in the eigh teenth century after fighting with England the colonists had to establish a new way for them to become a united front because the colonies beforehand functioned as miniature nations. For an example the New England region was a trading and fishing based eco nomic society with Puritan values. The Middle colonies were referred to as the bread basket’ and were known for their wheat production and urban metropolises that were developing like New York City and Philadelphia. This was also a mecca of different grou ps of people making it the most diverse in the colonies. The Southern States were agrarian as well but profited off of the African slave labor for cotton production. Once independence was established the different colonies had to find for a way to find uni ty amongst themselves, this was unsuccessful which lead to the outbreak of the Civil War. This war ended in The South not getting their wish in annexing and having to belong to the US. This theme of annex is apparent in the Mexican -American War when Texas wanted to cede from Mexico. This being because the Mexican government was not benefitting the people of Texas so they wanted to function as their own entity. When Texan -Americans, disenchanted with Mexican rule, established a government on the American mod el there was no unanimity among Americans as to the desirability of adding the Lone Star to the celestial cluster on the blue field (Bauer 2). 1 Americans were hesitant to allow for Texas to enter in the relatively new union because of their lack of loyalt y for the United States. Texas always seemed as if they were on the border of threatening to cede from the US, aproblem they were already suffering with the South and was haphazardly solved through the Civil War. Chapter Two is titled The Failure of Gr aduated Pressure gets into the details of the negotiation and the war concerning it. President Polk was the president at the time and was very hands on with the conflict at hand. There were many differing opinions and stances concerning the Mexican forces and Polk had to assume the role of a mediator so that a goal could be accomplished without upsetting the Mexican side too much. Rumors emanating from Mexico City indicated that the newly installed government of General Jose Joaquin de Herrera would be wil ling to negotiate if it could do so without appearing to bow before American pressure (Bauer 16) 2 . Mexico’s new government was rumored to be negotiating with United States which was threatening Mexican power and wealth was being threatened because if the Mexican government were to decide to give into American pressure of relinquishing their territories they would lose money and power and would appear subservient to the quickly growing nation. The tension led to the eruption of the Mexican -American War, tha t lasted to years and was resolved in 1848 with Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo stating that the Southwestern land belonged to the United States and no longer Mexico. The strengths of the book are that explains the build up to the war efficiently. It explains the previous politics of both countries concerning the land that was being sought after by both. The weaknesses of the book were that it did not explain the Mexican perspective as well as the American one which would have been interesting because it were to make it well rounded. The author did document their research very well because at the end of each chapter there are documentations of the research and footnotes concerning the information. The author does use primary sources becausehe is very knowledge able about the subject, This book was written for the popular audience not the scholarly because it has relatable terms and summarization that makes it easy for an interested reader to partake in. Assessment The Mexican -American War altered the face of the United States in a highly Beneficial manner, but also set the country on a course towards the costliest war of its history. That the Civil War could have been prevented makes it even more tragic, and, by ext ension, the effects of the Mexican -American War even more harmful. Also, the war’s Benefits have a bit of a zero -sum flavor: although there are no doubt economies of scale involved, anything economically or otherwise that the United States gained from poss essing California and New Mexico came at expense of lost potential for Mexico. A more rigorous inquiry along this line of thinking is far beyond the scope of this thesis, however. Conclusion The average of the indices for the seven Just War criteria gives a figure of -1.42, placing the Mexican -American War in between Slightly Unjust and Moderately Unjust on the Just War Index. Given the fact that all of the criteria save two rated as Mode rately Unjust or lower, and that only one (Proportionality of Means) rated on the just side of the scale, an overall assessment of Moderately Unjust is probably more accurate. Moreover, the criteria were each weighted equally, which is arguably inapprop riate in the context of the Mexican -American War. Given the war’s long -term and excessively negative implications, Proportionality of Means and Right Conduct (the next highest evaluation) are the least significant criteria, asthey do not speak to either t he war’s origin or the manner in which it was resolved. This is just nuance, however; no matter how you interpret the numerical results (with their attendant subjectivity) it is clear from this paper’s argument that the Mexican -American War was unjust, qua litatively and quantitatively. Grant’s statement is confirmed. And yet, none of it can be undone, so what is the point? Well, the Mexican – American War provides a far more relevant lesson to the United States of today than its temporal distance might otherw ise suggest. The characteristics ascribed to James K. Polk and his war policies ” arrogant, uncompromising, cunning, Puritanical ” describe how much of the world views American hegemony, particularly in response to the unilateralism that has informed Ameri can foreign policy since 9 -11. It is true, as suggested earlier, that moralism in a world so dominated by the realpolitik and competing national interests can be misplaced. But that does not mean it has no place. For the manifest injustice of the Mexican – American War was not disregard for Mexico and the taking of her land ” it was the immorality displayed by a country that knew better. That espoused better. That the world writ large expected better from, and still does. The lesson is that immoral national c onduct enflames baser instincts, embrace of which can create a fire of unintended consequences that burns uncontrollably. The fire created by the Mexican – American War almost consumed the United States. Its embers remain hot Primary Sources ‚· Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant ‚· Laidley, Theodore. Surrounded by Dangers of All Kinds: The Mexican War Letters of Lieutenant Theodore Laidley (1997) excerpt and text search‚· Polk, James K. The Diary of James K. Polk During His Presidency, 1845 -1849 edited by Milo Milton Quaife, 4 vols. 1910. complete text vol. 1 ; complete text vol. 2; complete text vol. 3 ; complete text vol 4 ; also Abridged version by Allan Nevins. 1929, online ‚· Ramrez, Jos© Fernando. Mexico during the War with the United States. (1950), 165pp, firsthand account of life in Mexico City during the war. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1Bauer, Jack K. The Mexican War 1846 -1848 . Macmillan, 1974. 2K. JACK BAUER. The New York Times , The New York Times, 1 Oct. 1987, www.nytimes . com/1987/10/01/obituaries/k -jack -bauer.html.