Sunday, April 22, 2007

"A Glorious Defeat"

Timothy Henderson is Distinguished Research Associate Professor of History at Auburn University Montgomery.

He applied the "page 69 test" to his new book, A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States, and reported the following:
Page 69 appears in a chapter titled “The Problem of Texas,” in a section detailing Mexico’s “Law of April 6, 1830.” That law was Mexico’s most serious attempt to stave off the loss of its northern state of Texas, which since the 1820s had been rapidly filling with gringos who were showing considerable signs of unruliness. The law contained provisions that hoped to encourage non-U.S. immigration to Texas, to integrate Texas economically with Mexico, to outlaw slavery in the state, and to prohibit further immigration from the United States. Page 69 contains a portion of the explanation for why this effort failed dismally, leading inexorably to Mexico’s loss of Texas.

The loss of Texas wounded Mexican national pride in a way that made future compromise with the Texans or the Americans politically impossible. As such it was a key event leading to the 1846-1848 war with the United States. A Glorious Defeat attempts to explain the reasons for Mexico’s entry into that war. The political turmoil and the many frustrations that Mexico experienced between 1821 and 1846 — frustrations such as the inability to hold on to Texas — go a long way toward explaining why the Mexicans declined several opportunities to avoid war, even though it was clear to most realistic Mexican leaders that a war with the United States was not winnable. Page 69, then, does indeed contain a key component of that story.
Read more about A Glorious Defeat.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue