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tv   Lectures in History Mexican- American War  CSPAN  October 5, 2022 1:52pm-3:04pm EDT

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♪ ♪ ♪ mid co-, along with these television companies support c-span 2 as a public service. little about it. it's considered one of the more we are going to cover the mexican american war today. this is a war a lot of americans think they know it is little bad. it is considered one of the more embarrassing ways in american history. there's reasons sometimes americans don't like to talk about it. my own mother, even though i've lectured on the mexican american war your for eight years and still rudnick are books about it still thinks i studied american america's for a law we claim that confusion a little years back. when i'm going to do is not take us through battle by battle in the war but look mainly at the causes of the war and then a little bout of the war itself and then the consequences. but i kind of
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want to cover a big summary right up front and say that so this war was in the 18 40s and it was consequential for both countries, and of the causeway in disputed territory and down in texas, that's where american texas troops mexican corruption april of 1846 on two years variation the mexican cession, the cession of 1940 -- new mexico was much larger than the modern state of new mexico. so it included nevada and new mexico and utah and most of arizona and parts of wyoming and parts of colorado. so that's about a third of mexico. so we'll look at that. we'll look something at that area first but to do a little bit of background let's talk about andrew jackson that's the color a presidential portrait of andrew jackson an illustration and talking a little bit about jacksonian democracy. so we haven't talked about jacksonian
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the moccasin much yet. we are kind of coming out of the era of good feelings and we talked about the market revolution but jackson when he was elected president, he had won the popular vote in 1824, but lost the presidency in the electoral college and the house of representatives. and so he ran for office in a sense for four years in the name of democracy and popular democracy. jackson was the first populist president in american history. and he imagined himself as a jeffersonian in, favor of the yeoman farmers and in favor of liberty, but he's quite a bit different than jefferson, and jefferson thought he was a little wacky, i think. so jackson thought that it wasn't at the house of representatives that was the most democratic branch of the american government it, was actually the executive branch. even though the executive is one person and his argument was that the president is the only person in the u.s. government elected by all the people. congressmen are elected by districts, the supreme court disappointed, the senators were appointed by state legislatures in those days. so this was his principle of governing. the majority is to govern. majority ruled, and other words. numbers matter a lot to jackson. if the majority want something, they are going to get it. so in the name of democracy, for instance, if you have a lot of americans are hungry for land, and want to be yeoman farmers, or maybe want to be planters in the south, then it's gonna be jackson, when the name of the majority, is going to sign indian removal treaties and forcibly remove indians from the southeast.
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there is a lot of land there for those farmers. if americans think the bank of the united states is an elitist institution and not good for democracy, then he is going to destroy the bank of the united states, even if it hasn't expired yet under the law. if he thinks the majority don't like the u.s. government funding internal improvements like roads and bridges, he is going to veto those bills. these are the kinds of things he's gonna do in the name of the majority. i want to say that i think promoting within his party this kind of view is going to help lead to the mexican american war. i think it's the fruit of this kind of majority aryan democracy. one of his early critics was winfield scott, who ends up being probably the most important general, and at least the best military mind in the early to mid 19th century in the united states. winfield scott is later the one who came up with the plan for the civil war, for the union side. when fields guy also is going to come up with the amphibious land -- during this war. he also happen to be a member of the opposition political party, the whig party some more on that later but scott thought that early on, as he calls it here demagogues broke the constitution early in the times of jackson, jacksonian democracy, for scott, was an ideology. this belief that somehow numbers know best. that minority entries don't matter. that means 51%, the 51 can run over the 49 in other words. so, jackson's first principle then was about power, claiming that for democracy. when he had opponents, when they finally coalesced into another party to oppose his democratic party, they called themselves the whig party. do you member edmund burke? the whip? brics party? how do we describe the whig party? they are the constitutional monarchy, anti monarchy, by taking the name whig party, jackson's opponents said that he is more like king
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andrew than a democrat. he might say he's doing it in the name of the people, but the way he rules is more like a king. so when the supreme court said, it was unconstitutional for georgia to extend its laws over cherokee territory, jackson said, i don't care. the supreme court has no way to enforce that. georgia just went ahead, and jackson went ahead with the indian removal. jackson, it was under jackson in 1827 the democratic republican party, the only party left really after the war of 1812 renamed itself the democratic party. there, they had a cultural party, they were the party of the farmer, we talk about some of the stuff last time with the market revolutions. these are the people, more nervous about those market revolution changes. they were the democratic party. jackson, it's figurehead at least, his protegee was a man from tennessee name james tate polk, who is the point man in the house of representatives when it came to the -- in the 1830s. his opponent louis henry, do remember henry clay from the compromise? known as the great
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compromiser. clay is a planter, a slave owning planter late jackson. he thought a better idea was a diversified economy. he is like the new alexander hamilton. by the way, he will live to a ripe old age, unlike hamilton, it's clay versus jackson. clay, as i mentioned the last time we met, ran for president several times and
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lost every time, he would say things like, i'd rather have integrity and remain honest then become president. he lost, i don't know what that says. anyhow, that was the case with clay. clay is leading the opposition. clay is leading the opposition. let's take a look than at territorial growth, and try to connect it to democracy and get into some of those background of the mexican american war. in 1819, the united states and new spain at the time had drawn borders between american and spanish lands. spain had undisputed possession of california, of new mexico, new mexico, again, including those modern u.s. states of nevada and utah and arizona, parts of wyoming and colorado. and then there is a
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revolution in mexico in 1821. so now, mexico declared itself an independent republic, it was governing itself. meanwhile, in the west, farther north, the united states and england were both laying claim to the oregon territory. if you want to imagine the modern states of idaho, and washington, an oregon, but also british columbia, up to the end of the southern panhandle of alaska, that is the oregon territory. they were sharing. which is fairly rare. that is a jointly occupied oregon territory. if either one of them was gonna no longer want to jointly occupy and draw borderline somewhere, they had to give the other one a years notice. the mexicans living in new mexico and in california depended on american trade for manufactured goods.
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the governments depended on that trade for revenue. the mexican officials there. there is very lose control, if any, between those places and mexico city where the government was. what's spain had believed, and then later mexico, in order to control what they called the northern frontier, what becomes the u.s. southwest, that's so
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far from the capital, they needed to settle what they
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called, quote unquote, civilized hispanic people there. what that meant was that white spaniards, white mexicans,
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or indians who had embraced catholicism and agriculture. so, they invited immigration by anybody of european ancestry, including americans. all you had to do was to emigrate, declare yourself catholic, and you had to come with a couple hundred acres of land, and eventually more. it's a pretty good deal for some people who don't have land or who are looking for a new start. there was, let's get to a picture of it, there was, in the northern mexican frontier in texas, lorenzo de zavala, de zavala was a physician. he was a tejano physician a mexican tejano. in the northern frontier, the mexicans living in those places had particular identities that were attached to being mexican, we're also very different. okay, so the regional identities really matter here. in california, we have the california's, in new mexico we had the nuevomexicanos, in texas it is the tejano. he was a tejano physician. either early 1830s he is so concerned about american immigration into the northern mexican frontier that this is what he wrote, quote, he said, an englishman will become a mexican in mexico city, and the mexican will become an englishman in london. the same will not occur in the case of
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the colonies, he means the northern frontier. those places will necessarily make up an entirely diverse nation, it would be absurd to expect them to renounce their religion, their customs, and deeply held convictions. what will the results be? he asked. they will not be able to subject themselves to the military regime and the ecclesiastical government that unfortunately have persisted in mexican territory despite the revolutions, despite the new constitution's. they'll invoke the institutions that should be governing the country, the want them to not be a lie, and illusion, but a reality. whatever military chief tries to intervene in civil transactions, they will resist, they will triumph. influenced by the united states alone my alter the character of mexican government for the better, de
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zavala thought. combined with the constant flow of american migrants into mexico, what he called, this is his words now, quote, what he called the american habits of liberty, thrift, work, the austere religion and customs, their individual independence, the republicanism, all of those that bring the triumph of liberty to mexico. and so, by 1836, there were only 30,000 hispanics living in new mexico, about 3000 in california. about 4000 in texas. the governor in, new mexico, governor manuel armijo complained to the mexican government. he would say, look, our citizens are beset by what he called, barbaric tribes. they were left with no protection. the we -- are poor, only survive thanks to trade with the americans. the americans start looking at the sparsely populated land and see the potential for agriculture and mining. that is gonna figure into the manifest destiny sentiment that these lands ought to become u.s. territory. that the americans would use the land better than the mexicans were using it, not only that, they were ordained by divine providence to do so. i talk about texas for a moment, these terms here. the tejanos in texas, they are the mexicans living in texas. the texians are the white americans who have migrated, they're bringing with them their black slaves. the texans later, that's the u. s. state of texas. we talk about texans. when we have the state becomes part of the united states, we have the texans. i saw a license plate their day in town that said texian, i assume that is an old republican living in town here. by 1823, there were 3000 americans in texas. the next year, the new mexican
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government started encouraging american colonization. they thought it was the best way to bring in manufactured goods. there is virtually very little governmental or trade connection with mexico city. they gave a generous land grants to men called impresarios. in 1826, one of those impresarios led a revolt against mexican rule. and the tejanos and stephen austin, an impresario, led the fight against the rebel and put down the revolt. what happened was, american allegiance of those texians started waining over the 1820s and 1830s, especially after mexico close the border
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to immigration. and also outlawed slavery and forbade further introduction of slaves. by 1834 the number of americans living in texas had doubled anyways. by 1835, there is about 1000 americans crossing the border into mexico per month, into texas. by 1836, there's 30,000 white americans in texas, 5000 black slaves, and about 4000 tejanos. meanwhile, the president in mexico city, santa ana, was consolidating power, and touched off a number of rebellions and six or seven mexican states, texas is one of those rebellions, in the united states, we know that as the texas revolution. this time,
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austin joined the side of the rebels. and who as i said, it was a liberal, he was opposed to the dictatorship of santa ana sided with the americans and even help texas, the texas republic, write its first constitution and served as its first interim, as its vice president. but i santa ana was pretty successful at first, defeating the americans at the alamo and then the americas in texas decided to declare the independence. they elect a rebel leader, sam houston as a president and, it's houston's army that defeated santa ana and. by defeating him on the battlefield, they forced santa ana to sign a treaty represent recognizing the independence of the new republic of texas. this
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is 1836. don't confuse it with the mexican american war ten years later. that's the texas revolution. so texas, the republic of texas was not recognized by mexico. mexico did not ratify the treaty that santa ana signed under duress after having been defeated. so this is the republic of texas and at first they don't have any desire to enter the union. they're just another republic. it's like jefferson's dream of that north american continent of six or seven republicans, all governing themselves, but no not all under one government. so that's 1836 then. back a little bit to the territorial growth. so here is, here is where the push for territorial growth is coming from in the united states. politically, it's coming from the jeffersonian site. first of the republicans, really the democratic republicans, we've been renamed themselves the democratic party in 1827, and they're the agricultural party. and their sense, they do not have a sense like the whigs do that wealth can be created through innovation and division of labor. you've got to pull it out of the ground or you have to grow it. that means that
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always inevitably means an agrarian empire that's always going to mean more land, whether it's in the southeast, from the indians, award becomes a southwest, from mexico. so first you you come to the louisiana purchase, opposed by the federalist party. then comes the push for texas annexation, which we are going to talk about in a minute. it is a new whig party which is inheritor of the federalist, they're going to oppose that. and then the whig party is going to pose the war itself. and then they are going to pose for the most part the joint session of territory. so is there whigs on the hamiltonian side of things, had had a dream of more of a way nation-state which would consolidate itself by being smaller and building infrastructure so that everyone could develop a common identity and not spreading from sea to shining sea. so that's the difference so politically the expansion issue for the most part in the democratic party and the anti expansionist were in the whig party by the 1840s. but there's more to life than politics, thank god, and the hears the nonpartisan factors. evangelization is one. so we talked about anti-colonialism and the reform is a little bit already, and the evangelicals. and they wanted to spread the gospel as they see up to asia. most of the end of evangelical presidents also think that the catholics of mexico and a christian and they need the real bible and they need the real gospel, and they want to bring that to mexico, but the count because it's a closed, it's a closed country to the missionaries. so they have a little bit of interest in expanding territory because to them at also means expanding the gospel. then there is a commercial reasons. if someone in the northeast wanted any kind of new territory at all, it would be the west coast. if
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you think of the maritime and commercial interests and having access to the pacific and, you think about the reasons the europeans had left europe in the first place in the 14
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hundreds, looking for routes to trade in china and in east asia. so the maritime trade, commerce, and finally this sense of mission, this mission that had transformed from just an errant into the wilderness of self government to spreading self government and maybe that's with a mission. and this, this all ties together and in this sense that there was, that american said of themselves, that there was something exceptional about john winthrop that new england them. that old city on a hill idea that we talked about with colony was going to be a city on a hill and an example to the world and the world with cleanup exact and have self government and a christian commonwealth etc.. that's transformed by this time into the sense that the mission of the united states is just to spread republican governors, representative government. most
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people nowadays would use a democracy and republicanism as synonyms, but they would have used the word republicanism still quite a bit. and so, what was it about the americans that was so exceptional?? the people promoting this rhetoric in the 18, beginning in the early 18 40s, especially as the americans started considering texas annexation, talked about anglo-saxon's. so they didn't talk about the term white, usually, although did, but they are talking more about anglo-saxon. wasn't anglo-saxon? anglo-saxon's, they said, were superior by virtue of your few things. they were superior because they were protestants. and that was a religion of free people, so they said. they were superior politically because of the republican government, the representative government. so in most cases they're not giving those later 19th century arguments for racism that are viewing biological supremacy somehow. so dear white, anglo-saxon protestants. and
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republican government was safest with them. they had created it, they could promote it, and many of them believed that republican government could even be found in the pages of the bible. and so the more catholics emigrated to the united states, the more they try to draw the distinction between catholics, who they said were incapable of democratic government, because they served the pope in rome before they served their own country, trying to draw a distinction between those catholics and the protestant americans and republican in republican government was safe just in the hands of protestants. so they are opposing the westward movement of catholics, for instance, in catholic immigration. so this is the high point of the anti catholicism in the united states that resulted in 1836 in the burning of the charleston convent outside of boston, convent as school. and then in 1844, in a series of deadly
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riots in philadelphia, where the philadelphia, whether pennsylvania merged militia even had to be called out and cannon were used to quell the rioting and the burning of catholic churches and burning of irish catholic neighborhoods there in philadelphia. two sets of riots. that 1844. that's an election year. it's also the that texas annexation is being considered, finally, by the united states. texas had been independent for about ten years. and they are not sure they want to be part of the united states, but there is some americans who would like to be so and some texians so that the election year in 1844. and considering texas annexation because the whigs general seemed to oppose it, a democratic journalist wrote an article and coined the term, manifest destiny. manifest destiny is a slogan that incorporates all that religious rhetoric and political rhetoric and mission rhetoric about expansion. it all becomes wrapped up in manifest destiny. so it's got that anglo-saxon and anti catholic rhetoric embedded deep within it. it's not just about territory, in
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other words, it's about who's going to occupy the territory. so, this is how he commented. he said, our manifest destiny to overspread and possess the whole of the continent, which providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self government entrusted to us. he goes on to talk about or multiplying millions and all the people that providence is, this is a synonym forgotten. so this is how they are talking about god. providence's gods unfolding plan, manifest means that destiny of the united states has been made manifest. it's obvious. it would be difficult to miss it is what they're trist arguing and what the are whigs doing that by a voicing opposing texas and of the annexation is standing in the way of the obvious god given destiny of the united states to expand westward. that's what this article is about. so this
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is in, written in 1845, right after the election. but manifest destiny becomes just a handy slogan to refer not just to west for westward expansion, not just to expansion of territory connected to the united states, but connected to it is this sense that somehow, to quote some of the people of the day, the americans are the chosen people and they are going to drive the canaanites off the continent, right? there the new chosen people, chosen by provinces providence to occupy this, territory and they have all the right stuff that's needed and the self government the republican government and the right religions and they're the ones at the others are going to shrink before this. so that's manifest destiny. this is what the united states looked like in 1844, the year that's a very consequential election. texas claimed boundaries all the way up, all
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the way up into wyoming. as far as mexico was concerned, if there was an independent republic of texas, and they hadn't recognized it, it was just this area here. but when texas was seeking to enter the union, these are the borders it claimed. so this is a huge, disputed, disputed area in texas. the question, all these questions of territorial expansion came to a head in the presidential election. so texas wants to enter the union. sure the united states an exit? there's a lot of issues that might cause a war with mexico. mexico had promised that it would. mexico still claimed it as a state. and then there was the slavery question. it was very large. well, maybe you're divided up, then sudden you have 12 pro sliver senators instead of two. and in the meantime, in the meantime, great britain secretly approached santa ana and
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promised that if mexico annexed, you know, recognized texas independence, and then britain will ensure that mexico could hang on to california and new mexico. so the british, who were the biggest empire in the world at that time and getting larger, and the real enemy of the united states in the 19th century, as far as most americans were concerned, they are in the mexico to. which brings us to the oregon territory. should the u.s. press its rights to the oregon territory? should they give notice and then figure out a treaty. the democratic supporters that you are coined the phrase that as far as we know was never uttered by james james k. polk himself, aka young hickory, and that was 54.40 or fight. that means 54 degrees and 40 minutes latitude. 54.40 or fight. the implication is the americans want all of the oregon territory. how do like that for haggling? i'm having a yard sale in another month. i'm
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looking forward to the haggling. it's the best part. and also selling things that i got for free. that's the other good part, in another sense, right? so 54 40 or fight. is that a bargaining tool? is it haggling? or does polk really want the whole thing? polk doesn't really say. the election really instead becomes a referendum on the annexation of texas. sure the united states annexed texas or not? if you think it should, you vote for polk. paul talked about the reannexation of texas. believed or at least purported to believe that texas had been part of the louisiana purchase. that was an old argument the americans had. the only difficulty was was that. stephen austin's own maps had shown that it wasn't. but other than these little problematic things like the fact that it had not, there's this sense that maybe some of it was, all of it was, part of the louisiana purchase and, that's
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what he means by reannexation. john quincy adams, who the democratic hated because he had been elected president instead of jackson back in 1824, he's the one who had drawn up that tweet in 1819 between mexico and the united states. so they blamed him for giving it away, in other words. so if you want to annex texas you vote for polk. polk from tennessee. known as young hickory. this is about polk, maybe i, might be wrong about this, but i think he may be the only president we've ever had with a mullet. [laughter] if you oppose texas annexation or are ambivalent about it, you would vote for henry clay that you. and so it's a play versus polk. clay never really comes out against texas annexation, but he never comes out in favor either. polk won by less than 1%, just about 38,000 votes, and it was new
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york state that tipped the balance for polk. he takes out his referendum on texas annexation. but it's a very close election election. in fact, had anti slavery purists not left the whig party clay probably would have won because new york would have swung to polk. maybe there's a lesson there for third-party -- i don't know. but maybe that's for another day, to talk about that. so the whig party kind of splitting a little bit about the slavery, hands the democrats the election. three days before polk took office in 1845, texas entered the union via treaty. so while from some standpoints texas is part of the mexican -- from other points standpoint is not. it enters the union a few days before polks takes office. but the war certainly is going to confront texas annexation. and
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it enters the union claiming those very extensive orders. so as far as polk is concerned you've got to put all troops all the way down to the border, which is the rio grande, not the nueces river farther north so polk is going to press that claim. the president of mexico at the time was a man named jose herrera. and herrera made an attempt for peaceful solution and even considered the british offer once he heard of it once, he learned of it, but it's santa ana and other opposition parties who portrayed him for doing so, portrayed him as weak and portrayed him as unpatriotic. willing to sell part of the country willing to get rid of texas. sell california to the americans, which americans of in trying to purchase the 1820s in the time of jackson. they push for war with united states over texas annexation, even as herrera invited the diplomat from the new polk administration to talk about mexican american relations in texas and in california. one
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mexican president invites in a diplomat to come and meet. so polk took office in 1845, march of 1845. is he really going to ask for all of oregon? the english aren't sure, his own supporters aren't sure. in april of 1846 polk terminated the joint occupation of oregon. that meant the british were either gonna have to go to war for their territorial claims because polk claimed oregon all the way to 54:40. or they were gonna have to negotiate. they are angry, they don't like polk, they call the americans overbearing and aggressive, ruled by the whim of the mob. that is a strike that democratic sentiment we talked about. but, they end up settling and they settle at 49. poke signs are right at the
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49th parallel, which is the current border between canada and the united states. he takes half, in other words. what about the southern border? that's april of 1846, the polk administration had sent a man called john seidel to talk to herrera in 1845. there is political instability, and volatility in mexico, that prevented any meeting from occurring. there was a coup against herrera, there was a monarchical plot as well. went through 14 presidents between its independence in 1846, none were elected. so, americans saw that political instability is a liability across the border. so in january of 1846, would poke decided to deal, what's poke decided to do is send american troops into the disputed territory. that's january of 1846, there's mexican troops there, now there's american troops there, and it's within the matter of time before they run into each other. so he has positioned american troops there. a new mexican president
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have come in. parade this, who refused to meet with slight al. the pope -- that's the end of the effort at diplomacy. you have to understand what the diplomacy is, he is there to buy california outright and negotiate a border. real goal you should remember through the whole war is to purchase california. new mexico is gonna come in the bargain between texas and california, he really wants california. almost immediately as oregon negotiations come down, hostilities broke out, april 25th, 1846, there is a clash, a small skirmish, really, in the disputed territory. there between the rio grande and the
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rio nueces, let's get to the map here. this territory here. when polk learned of it, about a week and a half later a week, week and a half later, he comes a message to congress that says, quote, mexico has passed the boundary of united states, it has invaded our territory and shed american blood on american soil. so, that is the quotation from polk war message. she has proclaimed hostility. the two nations are at war. what's polk is saying, he is going to congress, because of the constitution and asking them to declare war on mexico. he is saying, there is already a war, you just have to declare it. you just have to declare. there's already a war. john c calhoun, fellow democrat from south carolina is gonna lead --
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what calhoun doesn't like as when he sees the abuse of executive power. his overriding concern is that the executive of the u.s. government might intervene in terms of the institution of slavery, calhoun is from south carolina. that is his overriding concern. any kind of abuse of executive power he is nervous about. primarily, it's the whig party that spikes against the declaration of war, argues against it, what they are going to do is an opposition party. they turn out and up like the federalists, who remember, in the war of 1812, they look treacherous by the end, the tree looked pretty good. the federalist party kind of died because its opposition to the war. they don't look like that. they are going to be the opposition party, they are going to attend a vote for money for the troops, some of them are gonna vote for the declaration, they are gonna argue against, they usually vote in favor of it. that is gonna be their story during the war. more complicated than that, but as it usually might be. one
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of those wigs was somebody who ended up being a one term congressman because he opposed the war. have you ever heard of abraham lincoln? sounds familiar? do any views cash? he's on the five. so, lincoln challenged polk and said, he said, look, if you allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, i'm quoting him, whatever he shall deem and that's this area to repel an invasion, then you allow him to do so whenever he may think is necessary. you will say, i don't think the canadians are invading, you'll say, well, i think they are. we're going to invade them first. so, lincoln is very concerned about that executive abuse of power as well. so, he challenged polk he called polk a liar, he said, i want you to take me to the spy, and show me where the american blood was spilled. and then we will find out if it's really in mexico or in texas. he gets this name, spotty lincoln, which was derogatory at the time. that is going to be his
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nickname. he's gonna go back to illinois, for all he knows, he's in wheaton with politics and just be a corporate lawyer for the railroads for a while in illinois. calhoun, as i said, was an opposition also. calhoun's point, it's a little skirmish, do you have to have a whole war over? you're gonna invade the country, et cetera. the skirmish becomes the pretext for the war. his biggest problem politically, both of his generals, zachary taylor, in the north, and winfield scott who's going to lead the invasion of central mexico, both of them are wigs. in a democracy, it really helps to be popular if you want to be elected president. and really, the only way to be that popular at the time, at least, for the whigs, who are the minority party, have a northeast power base, is to be a general of some kind. they only ever elected to people president,
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both were generals. polk it sure, one of these or both of these want to be president. scott had actually tried for the whip nomination in 39, he think that it. you know scotts a wig. taylor says, i'm not a wig, i've never been awake, i have no interest in politics, i don't want to be president. who wants to be president? can you guess which one of these two guys run for president in 1848? >> zachary taylor. >> yeah, taylor, the one who said he never do in 1 million years. but, polk doesn't know this, yet here's a challenge for polk, everything he sees, he sees everything through a political lens, which means that he wants them to be victorious, but really really victorious, they might -- that kind of fame. he wants them to do the job, he actually tries to undercut them in the field. the way the volunteer army works, this war is gonna be fought by the regular army, which is quite small, but in
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large during the war. the professional army. volunteers, who are drawn from new volunteer companies or statement to companies governors of the states of those militias and volunteer units choose the colonel to go over the regiment. the men elect their own captain. all the way up to colonel, the states determine rank in the volunteer part of the army. which means if you're governor as a whig, guess what your colonel is gonna be? you have two choices, one is wrong. he's going to be whig, if he's a democrat, you can have a democratic colonel. polk appointed 14 voluntary generals during the, war everyone is from his party, the democratic party. one was his law partner, gideon. who is a disaster. also disaster in the civil war, maybe more than that in a later lecture. he's gonna have to build an army from the ground
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up. let's start with taylor. taylor is the one who is positioned, who is positioned here. his job is supposed to be leah defensive line between the northern frontier and the united states. polk hopes that mexico will see reason and sue for peace, the war will be over, they'll get california, call it a day. that is the first part of the war. taylor's opinion is that there is no way to invade mexico from the north, it would be doomed by the great distances and by deserts. so, the army's job is just, you know, don't look too far, head set up a defensive line south of the rio grande. if you do that in northern mexico, that will make conditions favorable for peace, taylor thinks. after a couple of battles, he crosses into mexico, lays siege to madam morris, where the mexican troops are entrenched. after negotiations, they take their
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arms, the mexicans take their arms, they take their artillery, they leave madam, morris taylor leaves without firing a shot. his main objective was the city of monterrey. that was strategically located, heavily fortified, controlled by northern mexico, -- that's where the first really big battle of the war is going to be. it is going to be fought house to house, it is going the urban fighting, four days of heavy fighting and in september of 1846. finally, the mexican general request an arm assist, taylor is under orders not to sign an armistice, and to take this city and destroy the mexican army. he defies orders, finds an armistice. he's writing secret letters, they get leaked into the press saying things like, i don't know why we're doing this. this
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land is useless anyways. this makes polk think that he is already thinking about the 1848 election. he is criticizing poke when he's in the field. in letters, they were supposedly leaked to the press. whenever anything leaks, it's not really a leak, it's more you turn on the faucet, it's not a leak. his army captures monterrey, but the mexican army leaves. taylor become sort of a hero back in the united states. then, in november, he moves north of a place called buena vista in mexico. he sets up his headquarters in the meantime, in the meantime, new mexico and california had falling quite easily to american troops. the governor of new mexico, as the americans were coming, he got on his horse and left. he decided, enough is enough, they take new mexico without firing a shot. there is a revolt in new mexico during the war, there is a revolt near los angeles during the war. by the
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end of the summer new mexico in california, you're pretty solidly in american hands. that first part of the war seem to go really well for the united states. in the meantime, taylor is just there, he is waiting near one of vista. it seems the mexicans are not gonna treat for peace, so polk goes to winfield scott and says, you need to draw plans for an invasion of central mexico. the united states is gonna have to take the capital. so, scott is now gonna be in charge of that invasion for central mexico. he takes a lot of his invasion force from taylor, which makes taylor thinks that scott wants to run for president. taylor doesn't have enough troops to do anything now. they hate each other as much as they hate poke. are you with me so far? this might not be an overseas war, but it does prove the lie in that myth that politics stops at the water's edge and
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more time it never has. i don't know that it ever will. it certainly didn't in the mexican american war. so, scott is supposed to invade central mexico and march overland to mexico city, he needs the troops. he takes them from taylor. taylor is very unhappy about this, but here is what happens. one result, one result of the fall -- mexican frontier, is that he is overthrown, the mexican president overthrown in another coup. he is replaced by santa ana. santa ana chooses another president, only to take back the presidency from him a little while later. in the meantime, amid this mexican domestic fighting, santa ana faced taylor in what became the most famous bottle of the war, it is the one you need to remember for your exam,, that
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is the, now you're writing, that's the battle of buena vista. in late february of 1847. the battle of buena vista. it is early february, taylor is feeling pretty sure that santa ana won't attack. he decides to move on his own with his mostly volunteer army about 4500 troops. he decides to move southward. santa ana gets word of this, gets intelligence of this, and advances against him somewhere between 15 and 18,000 soldiers. he is determined to finish off taylor's army. skirmishes ensue on february 22nd at the base of the mountains there. the next morning, mexican soldiers are
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clashing with americans throughout the whole day. taylor's only choice is to find a very defensive battle against the larger mexican force. the americans are still holding the battlefield by sunset. taylor's men hunker down and wait for the dawn. it seems obvious that they are gonna be wiped out the next day, but there is a couple of things that have happened. one is that by not winning the mexican soldiers morale have been so shattered by their inability to break the american lions that santa ana's army had quietly retreated during the night. so, they leave the field. there is also political disputes and fighting back in mexico city that santa ana has to go address. for americans, this became the most famous battle of the war and they counted a victory. what's the battle of new orleans was to andrew jackson, in terms of his popularity and leveraging him to be able to be more famous and become president, the same thing happens with taylor in the battle of bonavista. it also made him politically untouchable by polk, now you
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can't criticize america's big war hero. that's february of 1847, the battle of buena vista. the very next month is juan winfield scott makes his amphibious landing down here in vera cruz, the overland route to mexico city. the u.s. navy bombarded the city for several days before they landed. they landed in amphibious assault vehicles, built in the same area of louisiana where they were later built, similar crafter later built for the d-day invasions during world war ii. they land on the coast. they weighed ashore. after bombarding the city, there is not much fighting, they take vera cruz pretty easily, and scott heads inland. santa ana later said in his diary, he, said, quote we have no one but ourselves to blame for this disaster due to earn
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interminable inviting. why isn't there a larger mexican army in vera cruz that day. there is three mexican armies clashing with each other near the capital of mexico city. so that allows the americans to get a beach head. he starts emerging in london in april. there to mexico city by september 14th. so, think of this worn a couple, maybe three phases than. no the first phase, that's in the north, the northern frontier that the united states is gonna annex at the end of the war. that's pretty much wrapped up over the summer. although, there is a lot of constitutional quandary's an interesting stuff going on there, how does a republican engage in military government? who is in charge in california? two branches of the service, a third guy, john fremont, they are gonna bicker over who is really in charge in california. there is gonna be court marshals in a big mess
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over that. there is a lot going on. militarily speaking, it has pretty much come down by the end of the summer by 1846. that's the first phase. the second is really this overland invasion, which goes from april to september, just a few months in 1847. but the americans don't depart until the summer of 1848. there is a long period of occupation and military government in mexico cities by american military governors, trying to use local civilians to govern, and mayors, and that sort of thing. that is part of the war, we don't have time in this class to go into. scott's plan is this. he is going to take the national highway on into mexico, on into mexico city. his first meeting with santa ana is the kind of battle
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that would normally end any other war. that is the battle of cerro gordo, at the passive cerro gordo on april 18th in 1847. it's been about a year since the war started. but despite not having high ground, despite fighting in another country's territory, scott's army is victorious, santa ana retreats from the field. i can't remember if this is the battle where the americans came away with one of santa ana's legs are not, get a false leg, prosthetic leg, he always carried a few extras, as you can imagine. so, there are sometimes weird trophies in wartime, due to atrocities there is even weirder trophies but i don't know we'll have
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time to talk about today. it may have been cerro gordo, i'm not sure. well, scott passed on to occupy the city of puebla. puebla, mexico is one of the, i think, the most beautiful cities on the continent, i haven't been then a couple of decades. but it is a wonderful place. he is occupying puebla in may, on may 15th and 1847. and, here is the way the army works in those days. if you sign up, if you signed up as a volunteer, a long term enlistment to you is about six months, which is barely enough time even to train. interrupted, like the idea was that virtuous men would sign up for military and wartime, but you wouldn't have a large standing army when it's not wartime because a large number of men under arms is not only expensive, which grows the size of the central government, it increases its power, and authority, and strength, and likelihood that it will be abuse it, but also,
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you wouldn't have those under arms because armies are an republican places. you have to take orders, someone else is telling you when they get, up what to do all the time. the americans prior to the 20th century, they bristles of that sort of thing. the idea was, in wartime, you'd volunteered a virtuous defensive home and heart and there would be enough volunteers. after the war, you go down to a tiny army. if you need a big army general, or you get a big army again. it goes down. what happens that puebla is most of the volunteers, those who had signed up for a year, it's done. scott sits in puebla all summer long because he doesn't have enough troops to advance with. you know they watch the clock they go home, they are done. as far as they are concerned, they have done their service, they've done their duty, that is what happens in puebla. scott is there for a long time and in the summer. he leaves by august. the path to mexico city is now more heavily guarded
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than before. santa ana had retreated from cerro gordo, had gone in mexico city. the generals have decided, the mexican generals have decided to give it one last stand. they do. so, one option for the americans is to send a division to flank the mexican army at caribou scow by cutting across these lava beds. and not young engineer named robert e. lee finds the path across these lava beds. they are relatively unguarded pass to mexico city, no one it seems has found a path through them before. at least not invading armies, clearly. they're relatively unguarded. that is one possibility. to do. marching across a lava bed. taking the small village of contractors and attacking from the rear. that would split the mexican forces. that is the american plan to take a mexican city. august 19th, an american
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division marches across the lava beds, they fought earlier in the day, they are gonna fight later in the day, the same day, the battle of cherub a skull, one of the bloodiest of the war. at churubusco, the americans faced a battalion called the -- or the st. patrick's battalion. this was a battalion composed of former american soldiers, some who deserted before the war, some who deserted during the war. irish immigrants, german immigrants, st. patrick was on their flag, on the battalions flag. they know that if they get caught, they are going to be executed as traitors. they have been lured with broadsides from santa ana that said, how can you attack your fellow catholics and defend the country that is burning our
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churches back in the united states and burning our neighborhoods in the united states? so santa ana is well aware of the anti catholic rioting in the united states and trying to lure american soldiers out of the army and into his army. coming with that is gonna be some -- a good bit of land. that is a pretty good lore to. so the leader of the st. patrick's was from clifton, iowa. that's in the west of ireland in galloway where college students go every year to go across ireland. it's the biggest little town, i shouldn't call us the biggest little town, it's the only town, really, near ofany real size. there is a sand patricia street there, there used to be a little monument to john riley. last time i was there, someone had taken it. there was just a marvel block. here a monument to john riley once stood, i guess, maybe they need a new sign, maybe they replaced it since last time i was there.
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anyway, the san patricio's become heroic in mexico, they become traitors in the united states. when scott catches them, he's gonna hang 27 of them. john riley who had deserted. -- branded with a d on his cheeks for deserter and then let go, he continue living in mexico, people say they know i don't know if anyone really knows. there is a couple good books on john riley. that's churubusco and contrasts on august 20th. rather than advance on the capitol, scott decides to offer armistice to santa ana. the american diplomat, trust that was his name, he did in mexico city for quite a while now. he thought, maybe that will give peace a chance to work, give a treaty a chance to work without having to go into the city of mexico itself. he hopes that having the threat of the capital occupied by a foreign army, mexicans might negotiate
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a peace making that final badly -- battle unnecessary. santa anna, however, is a little bit smarter than that, and he was determined to use the law of hostilities to strengthen his positions. he had lost cannon, and he had lost ammunitions, you lost a third of his army. this reminds me of another point when santa ana had outsmarted the americans. he was actually in exile in cuba, not the last time, he is next on cuba in the beginning of the war. poke comes up with the scheme to talk to santa anna, if he can get santa anna back into mexico, sent to animals and sell him california. so, he hopes -- help santa anna i get back into mexico. santa anna says, i can't believe you really believe that. he builds up an army and goes to war against the americans. so, that is what happens during the armistice. the armistice lasts a few weeks, negotiations breakdown in early september, hostilities ensue. first, the
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americans take a palace like structure overlooking mexico city. that is gonna have to be taken before they take the capital, it's on high ground. after a day-long fight on september 13th, americans take the palace. santa anna's army flees the capital, scotts army marches triumphantly into mexico city. they raise the flag, the american flag, over the national palace of mexico. following two or three days of looting by mostly volunteer american troops, the occupation of mexico city begins. that is in september of 1847, there is a military government by the united states of mexico from september 14th, the date of the taking of mexico city, all the way until june of 1848. so,
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this is a famous painting by carl nebel, of scott's army marching in the capital. let me pause here for a moment and ask for questions before we talk about the treaty and wrap this up. i'll get your exams and papers back to you as well. questions about taylor, scott, san patricio, the war? wonderful. you know, i picked this class because our most talkative class. yeah. did you know that? yes, brendan? wait for the, there you go. >> do we know how many members that were in the san patricio battalion? >> the right question is, do i know? right? do i know? this is a battalion, i want to say of
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about maybe 100 to 200. i am just guessing. i do know that they saw in several battles, they fought very hard at cherebusco because they knew it was gonna happen when they got caught. it figures solidly into the anti catholic rhetoric. they spent all their time talking about how patriotic they are, and then there is a battalion of mostly catholic deserters fighting on behalf of mexico during the war. so they become, they become, they're well used by the anti catholic rhetoric. so it's more complicated than just religion issue, as you might imagine. but that's just my educated guess, i don't have an exact number. i'm not sure anybody would really know. so there's the rocks and large is the best book on that, right, in my
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opinion. but the robe's march. good question about the san patricios. in fact, so that you know, i just told, the death toll on the mexican side is going to be much larger because of the civilian deaths, particularly in varicose. on the american side, you're talking about in the very low thousands, between one and 5000 in the whole war, and almost all of its from what the american soldiers call the vomito or yellow fever. the combat deaths are very low. this was marks the civil war. we just wrapped. were you in the civil war class, right, last semester? so you start talking about over 100,000 men clashing in one battle in the civil war. here we're talking about you, know, five, the biggest battle, the place -- is 5000, it's 15,000. that's just dwarfed by the battles a couple of decades later, a decade and a half later in the civil war. so these are also on a much smaller, much, much smaller scale in this war. treaty
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deliberations are going on all the while. finally, on february 2nd, this treaty is signed at guadeloupe hidalgo, mexico's most sacred shrine for the lady guadeloupe. it has passed up north to the united states. and here's a complicated issue. polk had already fired the man, trust, who negotiated to be. so pollack has to decide whether he takes a piece or not. once the united states stood in control of these mexican cities, members of polk zone democratic party, prominently, and also many members of his own cabinet, our top pushing him to take what they call on mexico. so they call it the all-mexico movement. so let's push into january and all into february to take all mexico. and the one thing, the important thing, the arrival of the treaty does is take the steam out of that. because in the treaty, the united states agrees to pay mexico 50 billion dollars so
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it's not clear where that money ever ended up or if it ended up anywhere, for that matter. $15 million for california, and then the mexican sasha is going to become that mexico cession is going to become that northern mexico for the. polk had come blamed all along that this was not a war of contests conquest, this was a war that was fought by that debts were owned by mexico to americas, and treaty obligations were not being followed. that there was a clash on american soil, so these were all the claims that polk made. the anti-war folks had said this was a war to spread slavery. so particularly the passive fits and the abolitionists were very vocally anti war. >> some of them are anti catholic. that made them ambivalent and that's one of the things i did in the missionaries and republican book, talk about that. for more for the most part they're against the war because i think it's going to spread slavery. so northern congressman in
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polk's own party at the beginning of the war had challenged to to put his money where his mouth is and signed into law a proclamation that in a territory gained from this war would not allow slavery. and polk won't do it. this is a david willmott, and that becomes known as the wilmot proviso, something else i think is worth writing down in your notes, the wilmot provider. it never passes congress. but it becomes famous, becomes famous because it breaks open the slavery issue in the middle of this war. ulysses s grant who fought in this war said i will and in the time in his diary he writes i would have come to mexico as a private if i could come no other way. after the civil war, and in retrospect, he later in his memoirs called the mexican american war one of the most unjust wars ever waged by one nation against another.
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and what had come in between those two opinions was, you know, the young man who wants the glory on the battlefield, and now somebody who's just closed out the civil war with hundreds of thousands of american dead that grant was short in large part had to do is somehow with the fight over the institution of slavery. the mexican war opens that up, and it never really close it elicited thanks to the wilmot proviso. as it turns out though there's going to be no slavery in california, not legally, anyhow, and the is to do chanel savory. same in mexico, texas has already been annexed so in some ways slavery is not sent into these territories. but it does what the whet the appetite of the south you realize if the missouri compromise line stays at 30 6:30 as we talked about last week, if it stays there, there's nowhere to go but south. so you're going to have to go farther south or into the caribbean if you want to continue to expand slavery and create new slave states. the
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treaty, the treaty ending the war then, finally, is approved, ratified by the senate in march. it's then ratified by mexico not long after that, and the u.s. troops left in june. so the treaty of guadeloupe hidalgo netted the united states california, this is just this is altra california the california, new mexico, the state of new mexico. and recognized at the texas border at the rio grande. and in return the united states as a saint mexico $50 million in military will ended in june of 1848. any questions wrapping up our look at it a mexican american war? in 1848, in 1848, polk had pledged to serve only
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one term and he kept his promise. so zachary taylor runs against one of those democratic generals that polk had appointed, zachary taylor winds. it's going to be zachary taylor who is in charge at first until he died in office in 1850 of trying to figure out how to organize the mexican cession. a third of mexico has become part of the united states. immediately, there is the talk of civil war, possible disunion, what will be a slave state, what would be a slave state, how will california come in? new mexico and texas each claimed the same territory. well those two areas, the territory of new mexico in the state of california go to war? what's going to happen? so that's all going to, we'll talk about that next time. it is called a compromise of 1850 and it's going to be clay who comes up with the idea, but clay also dies in 1850. so but eventually there is going to be a compromise and there's kind of, they're going to be the sigh of relief, the missouri compromise
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that lasted 30 years over slavery. this one with the last 30 years, it doesn't last very long at all as it turns out. so there's at least home at that over that point. so taylor doesn't use his battlefield fame to become president. grant, lee, a lot of the other folks who were there to promote in the civil war on both sides have fought together in the mexican american war but they're going to fight against each other in the civil war about a decade and a half later. polk died at 1849 anyway, right after becoming president. and that's it. now, if there's no other questions, we'll stop there. i'll hand back your exams. and your papers. okay. let's do that. okay. >> american history tv, saturdays on c-span two. exploring the people and events that tell the american story. at 12:30 pm eastern, on the
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presidency, mark tapper, author and collections director at the george washington based on a national memorial talks about george washington's involvement with free masonry and its influence on its life and work. from his book a deserving brother. and at 4:45 pm eastern, cast members of the world war ii miniseries band of brothers reflect on the historical and cultural significance of the show, two decades after it aired. exploring the american story. watch american history tv, saturdays on c-span two. and find the full schedule on your program guide or watch online anytime at slash history. swamp >> -- it certainly was a swamp, was not the garden beaten. jonathan, what is it about that site that d


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