September 6

Nationalism and Hemispheric Affairs

Ohio senator Thomas Corwin.  A former governor and congressman, Corwin delivered one of the most stunning speeches in the history of the Senate, when, in 1847, he said that he desired a Mexican victory in the Mexican-American War. The Mexican cause, he argued, was the just one in the conflict.
Today's class will focus on the Mexican-American War.  You can begin by going through this time line, to get a sense both of the key events of the conflict and the other main events of the time.  The packet reading, an excerpt from Thomas Hietala's book, emphasizes the importance of political and ideological disputes in understanding the American response to the conflict. After class, the lecture notes will be posted.


                Hietala, Manifest Design, sourcebook pages 37-78. Here are some reading notes.


          We have three short documents for today. Begin with the O'Sullivan.

John O'Sullivan and Manifest Destiny
Wilmot Proviso
Thomas Corwin

CAUCUS QUESTION for next time: The historian Reginald Horsman has argued that race played the key role in understanding the US decision to expand into Mexico. Hietala, obviously, disagrees. What is your opinion: how important is the fundamental racism of pre-Civil War American society in explaining the origins of the Mexican-American War?

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