The U.S.-Mexican War of 1846 marked the first time that the young American nation engaged another republic in battle. Though it allowed the U.S. to seize control of vast expanses of the Southwest from Mexico, the war divided the nation at the time and has since been viewed by many as unjust and mercenary.
Historian Amy S. Greenberg looks at the origin, outcome, and lasting repercussions of this often overlooked conflict in a discussion of her new book A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Marked by false starts, atrocities, and daring, back-channel negotiations, the U.S.-Mexican War paved the way for the Civil War more than a decade later and launched the career of Abraham Lincoln, then a new congressman.
The war was populated with intriguing characters: James K. Polk, the dour president committed to territorial expansion at any cost; Henry Clay, the aging statesman and frustrated presidential hopeful with one last great speech up his sleeve; Lincoln's forgotten 1840s archrival John Hardin, whose death opened the door to Lincoln's rise; Nicholas Trist, the gentleman diplomat who broke with his president to negotiate a fair peace; and Polk's wife, Sarah, whose shrewd politicking was crucial in the Oval Office.
A leading scholar of Manifest Destiny, Greenberg is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History and Women's Studies at Penn State University. Among her books are Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire and Cause for Alarm: The Volunteer Fire Department in the Nineteenth-Century City.
The event is co-sponsored by the Kansas City Museum and the Latino Writers Collective.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.