Eagles and Empire: The United States, Mexico, and the Struggle for a Continent

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Eagles and Empire: The United States, Mexico, and the Struggle for a Continent

Author: David A. Clary
Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 624
Cover Price: $ 30.00

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A war that started under questionable pretexts. A president who is convinced of his country’s might and right. A military and political stalemate with United States troops occupying a foreign land against a stubborn and deadly insurgency.

The time is the 1840s. The enemy is Mexico. And the war is one of the least known and most important in both Mexican and United States history—a war that really began much earlier and whose consequences still echo today. Acclaimed historian David A. Clary presents this epic struggle for a continent for the first time from both sides, using original Mexican and North American sources.

To Mexico, the yanqui illegals pouring into her territories of Texas and California threatened Mexican sovereignty and security. To North Americans, they manifested their destiny to rule the continent. Two nations, each raising an eagle as her standard, blustered and blundered into a war because no one on either side was brave enough to resist the march into it.

In Eagles and Empire, Clary draws vivid portraits of the period’s most fascinating characters, from the cold-eyed, stubborn United States president James K. Polk to Mexico’s flamboyant and corrupt general-president-dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna; from the legendary and ruthless explorer John Charles Frémont and his guide Kit Carson to the “Angel of Monterey” and the “Boy Heroes” of Chapultepec; from future presidents such as Benito Juárez and Zachary Taylor to soldiers who became famous in both the Mexican and North American civil wars that soon followed. Here also are the Irish Soldiers of Mexico and the Yankee sailors of two squadrons, hero-bandits and fighting Indians of both nations, guerrilleros and Texas Rangers, and some amazing women soldiers.

From the fall of the Alamo and harrowing marches of thousands of miles in the wilderness to the bloody, dramatic conquest of Mexico City and the insurgency that continued to resist, this is a riveting narrative history that weaves together events on the front lines—where Indian raids, guerrilla attacks, and atrocities were matched by stunning acts of heroism and sacrifice—with battles on two home fronts—political backstabbing, civil uprisings, and battle lines between Union and Confederacy and Mexican Federalists and Centralists already being drawn. The definitive account of a defining war, Eagles and Empire is page-turning history—a book not to be missed.

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Background Information

Manifest destinty was the view that America's domination of the North American continent from sea to sea was the manifest intention of God. James Knox Polk was the eleventh president of the United States, leading the country during the Mexican-American War. After making himself dictator of Mexico, Santa Anna lost Texas in the War for Texas Independence and later much more in the Mexican-American War. John C. Fremont was an explorer of the American West and the first Republican nominee for president in 1856. Christopher "Kit" Carson was famous guide and explorer in the early American West. The bastion of the Alamo in San Antonio was defended by a small band of Texans against Mexican general Santa Anna during the Texas Revolution. All the defenders died.