By Paul Foos
The Mexican-American conflict (1846-1848) came across americans on new terrain. A republic based at the precept of armed protection of freedom used to be now going to battle on behalf of appear future, looking to triumph over an surprising country and other people. via an exam of rank-and-file squaddies, Paul Foos sheds new gentle at the conflict and its influence on attitudes towards different races and nationalities that stood within the manner of yank expansionism. Drawing on wartime diaries and letters now not formerly tested by way of students, Foos exhibits that the event of squaddies within the struggle differed extensively from the confident, patriotic picture trumpeted via political and armed forces leaders looking recruits for a volunteer military. Promised entry to land, monetary chance, and political equality, the enlistees as an alternative discovered themselves subjected to strangely harsh self-discipline and harrowing conflict stipulations. therefore, a few squaddies tailored the rhetoric of occur future to their very own reasons, taking for themselves what were promised, frequently by way of looting the Mexican geographical region or committing racial and sexual atrocities. Others abandoned the military to struggle for the enemy or search employment within the West. those acts, Foos argues, in addition to the government's tacit reputation of them, translated right into a extra violent, destructive number of show up future.
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Extra info for A Short, Offhand, Killing Affair: Soldiers and Social Conflict during the Mexican-American War
S. Army. Father Rey was ﬂuent in Spanish and was murdered by guerrillas in early 1847. S. Army was Father John McElroy, a Jesuit priest and missionary in Maryland. McElroy and Rey’s appointment raised storms of protest from nativist elements in the Democratic Party, but Polk and the Washington Union managed to downplay these tales of Jesuit conspiracies. ’’ 46 McElroy had served similar ministries in the past, as an itinerant priest to Irish Catholic laborers along the Chesapeake and Ohio canal diggings.
Oﬃcially forbidden, but winked at by the oﬃcers, ‘‘the illicit trade in whiskey to the soldiers is carried on by blacks, at the time employed in repairs on the fort. . ’’ The slaves sold the whiskey at a 100 percent markup. 30 Ballentine adapted to wartime service better than most; he saw combat in some of the most grueling battles of the war and produced a remarkably detailed and sensitive account of his experiences. An experienced soldier, he was able to weather the hardships of army life in peace and war.
The volunteer was not impelled by the same motive to enter the service as the regular soldier. He volunteered not with a view to pecuniary gain and the hope of pecuniary reward. It was not mere employment that he sought. He was actuated by a diﬀerent spirit. He volunteered because he felt it to be his duty as a citizen and a patriot to enter the public service. He went because he was emulous of distinction. 5 The Meaning of Militia Organization in the Republic Republican theory and tradition had celebrated volunteer militias and armies since Roman times, as the symbol and bulwark of popular govern33 c i t i z e n s ’ m i l i t i as ments.
A Short, Offhand, Killing Affair: Soldiers and Social Conflict during the Mexican-American War by Paul Foos