By Paul Foos
The Mexican-American conflict (1846-1848) discovered american citizens on new terrain. A republic based at the precept of armed safety of freedom was once now going to warfare on behalf of take place future, looking to triumph over an surprising state and other people. via an exam of rank-and-file infantrymen, Paul Foos sheds new gentle at the struggle and its influence on attitudes towards different races and nationalities that stood within the approach of yankee expansionism. Drawing on wartime diaries and letters no longer formerly tested by way of students, Foos exhibits that the adventure of infantrymen within the warfare differed notably from the confident, patriotic photograph trumpeted by way of political and armed forces leaders looking recruits for a volunteer military. Promised entry to land, fiscal chance, and political equality, the enlistees as a substitute came across themselves subjected to surprisingly harsh self-discipline and harrowing conflict stipulations. for this reason, a few squaddies tailored the rhetoric of take place future to their very own reasons, taking for themselves what have been promised, frequently by way of looting the Mexican nation-state 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, besides the government's tacit popularity of them, translated right into a extra violent, destructive number of occur future.
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Extra resources for A Short, Offhand, Killing Affair: Soldiers and Social Conflict during the Mexican-American War
A. ’’ 11 As a sovereign nation, born in military struggle, the young United States soon developed a centralized military structure, incorporating both citizens’ militias and ‘‘professionals’’ in the pay of the federal government. As early as revolutionary times Americans distrusted professional soldiers as corrupt, and their experience with an occupying British soldiery served to enshrine this distrust in political rhetoric. 12 In a war of resistance, fought on native soil and using guerrilla tactics, the volunteer and part-time soldier indeed served the republic well.
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. In the United States a consistent strain of political philosophy had borne this idea from Renaissance thinkers to the pamphleteers of the English Civil War, and through the American Revolution. Niccolò Machiavelli laid some of the groundwork for republican thinking about militias in L’arte della guerra.
Davis asserts that cultural changes obscured class warfare, and military discipline prevented democratic exchanges and class-speciﬁc organizations for the lower classes. But a variety of organizations incorporated military tactics, in a society that was increasingly being organized along lines of discipline and command. The prestige and patronage of oﬃcial volunteer militias was an enticement for men from all sorts of backgrounds. In the 1840s immigrant groups were quick to form volunteer militia companies, celebrating their right to bear arms and to display their active citizenship.