Academic journal article Military Review

Defiant Peacemaker: Nicholas Trist in the Mexican War

Academic journal article Military Review

Defiant Peacemaker: Nicholas Trist in the Mexican War

Article excerpt

DEFIANT PEACEMAKER: Nicholas Trist in the Mexican War by Wallace Ohrt. 224 pages. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. 1998. $29.95.

It certainly would not happen today. The chief clerk of the US State Department conducts peace negotiations during an ongoing war. Later, after angering President James Polk and Secretary of State James Buchanan, he is recalled, not once but twice. However, he refuses to go home and subsequently negotiates a treaty that increases the country's size by two-fifths. This is the story of Nicholas Trist.

Author Wallace Ohrt wisely refrains from excessive detail in describing the Mexico City Campaign. He artfully describes the problems Trist encountered in dealing with the ever-touchy General Winfield Scott, who could never accept criticism lightly. After his and Trist's first "confusion," both men resorted to the pen to air their views. These exchanges are the book's more interesting features.

The heart of this work is the utter defiance Trist shows to Buchanan and Polk. Trist was concerned that the movement to take all of Mexico in the treaty was gaining steam. and his replacement would be under great pressure to do just that. Tri st had orders to push for a gentler. though still harsh, peace. …

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