Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Two Armies on the Rio Grande: The First Campaign of the U.S.-Mexican War

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Two Armies on the Rio Grande: The First Campaign of the U.S.-Mexican War

Article excerpt

Two Armies on the Rio Grande: The First Campaign of the U.S.-Mexican War. By Douglas A. Murphy. Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2015. Pp. [xii], 320. $45.00, ISBN 978-1-62349-189-5.)

In Two Armies on the Rio Grande: The First Campaign of the U.S.-Mexican War, Douglas A. Murphy argues that first campaigns are essential for understanding the way that wars progress. Murphy maintains that the initial campaign of the U.S.-Mexican War was very much "a shared creation" between Mexico and the United States (p. 9).

The book begins with a discussion of the contest between Mexico and the United States over the Rio Grande boundary in 1845. The United States was in the process of annexing Texas as the twenty-eighth state, and each side had begun gradually moving troops toward the disputed river boundary. Mexico maintained that the Treaties of Velasco (1836), which had ended the Texas War of Independence, were invalid because General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna had signed them under duress. The Mexican government even went so far as to outlaw the signing of treaties in such a manner. President James K. Polk and the United States claimed that those treaties were valid, thus making the U.S.-Mexico border the Rio Grande once the annexation of Texas was complete. Murphy argues that in order to overcome American ambivalence about annexation, Polk required an outbreak of hostilities on the Rio Grande to gain both public confidence in annexation and the ability to push Congress to pass a declaration of war. Murphy's analysis leads ultimately to General Zachary Taylor's occupation of Matamoros, but along the way he does a careful study of the first significant bouts of the campaign, Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma.

The book purports to study both sides but emphasizes the movement of Taylor and the American army over the Mexican Army of the North. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.