A Continent Divided: The U.S.--Mexico WarA Continent Divided
As one of the world's finest repositories for materials relating to the U.S.--Mexico War (1846-1848), The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries is proud to announce that hundreds of newly translated and transcribed documents relating to the war are now available online for the first time.
The web site A Continent Divided: The U.S.--Mexico War is a unique entry in this field of study because it presents the conflicts from both the U.S and Mexican point of view.
"Almost all of the material written in English focuses on the American experience," said Sam Haynes, director of UTA's Center for Greater Southwestern Studies. "We digitized and translated 500 Mexican broadsheets that provide a great window into what the war was like for the Mexicans."
A Continent Divided features maps, letters, diaries, broadsides, and photographs. One newly digitized diary recounts the experiences of a man stationed in U.S.-occupied Mexico City after the war and dealing with guerrilla warfare in the city.
The site is cosponsored by UTA Libraries and the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies with support from UTA's College of Liberal Arts and the Summerlee Foundation of Dallas.
"This is an extraordinary opportunity for teachers, students, and scholars to access original documents and images not available anywhere else, " said Rebecca Bichel, dean of UTA Libraries. "A Continent Divided reflects years of work with our collections and we are committed to continually adding to the site."
The U.S.--Mexico War was fought over disputed borderlands after the United States annexed Texas. "It was the most advantageous war ever waged by the United States," Haynes said. "It established the U.S. as a continental power, gave us access to Asia through California Pacific ports, and gave us ownership of the California gold mines, discovered shortly after the war."
The war also intensified the debate of the expansion of slavery in the U.S. and was a battlefield training ground for young men who later because influential leaders during the Civil War: Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, and Zachary Taylor.
On the Mexican side, the loss of the lands that now make up the Southwestern United States were seen as a "national humiliation." "Mexico had been a deeply divided country, but out of this national trauma came a new sense of Mexican nationalism that they wanted to embrace and defend," Haynes said. "This war reached across borders and became a continental conflict, not just a national conflict."