Race and Religion in the Mexican War

Authored by: William H. Mulligan

The Routledge Handbook of American Military and Diplomatic History

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533805
eBook ISBN: 9781315817347
Adobe ISBN: 9781317813354

10.4324/9781315817347.ch33

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Abstract

Critical historical assessment of the United States’ wars has been slow to develop. Even those conflicts that were controversial in their own time, and nearly every pre-twentieth-century war was, have often been wrapped in patriotic sentimentality soon thereafter by historians, both popular and academic. From George Bancroft through the consensus school of the post-WWII era, dissent and controversy in all aspects of American society became brief footnotes or at best minor distractions from a triumphal, patriotic narrative. The emergence of the new military history in the last 30 years or so, as well as the willingness of American historians to explore the darker recesses of our past have helped develop a more analytical approach to U.S. history generally and military history in particular. While traditional approaches are still used profitably and well by scholars, other historians now concern themselves with the broadest possible context when studying military conflicts as well as studying the military when not actively engaged in war. They also look to the experience of enlisted personnel, civilians caught up in conflicts, and other long neglected groups.

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