To the Halls of the Montezumas

The Mexican War in the American Imagination
Johannsen, Robert W.
Date published: 
January 1988

For the romantic generation of Americans in the mid-nineteenth century, the Mexican war was a grand exercise in self-identity: it legitimized the young republic's convictions of mission and destiny to a doubting world. This book examines the war's place in the popular imagination of the era. The Mexican War was the first American conflict to be widely reported in the press, as well as the first to be waged against an alien in a distant, strange, and exotic land. For mi d-century Americans, the author shows, the war provided a window onto the outside world, promoting an awareness - if not an understanding - of a people and a land unlike any they had known before. Drawing on military and travel accounts, newspaper dispatches, and a host of other sources, the author recreates the mood and feeling of the period - its unbounded optimism and its patriotic pride.