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Mexico-United States relations: The Mexican-American War (1846-1848)

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The IHR Library holds a wealth of resources for the history of Mexico-United States relations, covering the period succeeding the Mexican-American War up until the twentieth century. A range of sources, such as, treaties, diaries, autobiographies and letters, are included in English, Spanish, Portuguese and other languages. 


Following the ongoing reclassification project for the Latin American collection and the upcoming Mexico-U.S exhibition, some interesting volumes have been discovered within the library’s holdings. This blog post marks the first in a series that will focus on the IHR Library’s holdings of material concerning the history of Mexico-U.S relations, beginning with the Mexican-American War.

The Mexican–American War, also known as the Mexican War, or Intervención estadounidense en México (American Intervention in Mexico), was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the United Mexican States from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory in spite of its de facto secession in the 1836 Texas Revolution.

The first work being highlighted in this blog post is the Memoirs of José Francisco Palomares by José Francisco Palomares. 

These memoirs date from 1846 to 1848 and the library’s copy is translated from the manuscript in the Bancroft Library by Thomas Workman Temple II. In this first-person narrative, Palomares recounts one of the many military campaigns he launched in California during the 1800s against indigenous people.


Correspondence between the Secretary of War and General Scottmessage of the President of the United States, transmitting the correspondence between the Secretary of War and Major General Scott, with the accompanying documents, in compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 17th instant.

This 63-page document dates from the outset of the War in April 1848 to November 1846, and details the correspondence between the Secretary of War, W.L. Marcy, and Major General Scott.


The Websters : letters of an American army family in peace and war, 1836-1853 by Van R. Baker.

This work offers information on life in the Army and the practices of the War Department, and focuses on the correspondence between Lucien Webster, a career army officer, and his wife Frances Smith. It contains a series of letters and memoirs that provide firsthand accounts of the Mexican-American War.


Chronicles of the gringos : the U.S. Army in the Mexican War, 1846-1848; accounts of eyewitnesses & combatants, edited, with introd., commentaries, and notes, by George Winston Smith & Charles Judah.

This work assembles the eyewitness accounts and letters written by the Gringo (American) soldiers and those close to them. It delves into what happened behind the scenes during the Mexican-American War, such as the daily life of the soldiers, their view of Mexico and its people and how they viewed each other.


For more information on the IHR Library’s holdings on Latin American and United States history more generally, please refer to the following guides:

United States History in the Institute of Historical Research Library

Mexican History in the Institute of Historical Research Library

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