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was a Pacific power. Another chapter, xii., describes the fiscal legislation of Polk's administration. In three chapters, xiii. to xv., the causes, progress and outcome of the Mexican War are discussed. Chapter xviii. is on Isthmian Diplomacy and the beginnings of a Panama Canal policy. Chapters xvi., xvii., xix. and xx. survey the territorial adjustment made necessary by the annexation of New Mexico and California, and the consequent Compromise of 1850.
Within this stirring period are such hotly contested questions as the responsibility for the breach between Tyler and the Whigs; the real boundaries of Texas under Spanish and Mexican rule; the progress of negotiation for the annexation of Texas; a very important discussion of the Slidell Mission of 1845; the responsibility for the Mexican War; and the origin of the Wilmot Proviso. Upon all these questions, Professor Garrison brings to bear the results of the most recent scholarship, especially of that band of active investigators in the archives of Texas and Mexico, of whom Professor Garrison is one. Differing in many ways from the conventional view of the period, the author fortifies himself at every step with specific references to sources; and his conclusions are likely to be accepted by the future historian as reasonably explaining both the annexation of Texas and the Mexican War.
this volume it has been my principal aim to describe the expansion of the United States westward from the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean, in such a way as to indicate the real forces which gave it impulse, and how they actually worked; and especially to show how it was affected by, and how it reacted upon, the contemporaneous sectionalizing movement which finally ended in the Civil War.
The task has not been easy; for in the use of most of the available material it is necessary to make allowance for the point of view. The historian can never forget that his function lies not simply in reproducing the distorted pictures left by contemporaneous politicians, or even poets and philosophers, but in correcting them. The truth at its best will be bad enough, and good enough at its worst. Nothing more nor less can enter into the ideal of the conscientious writer with a just conception of his office; he must “paint the thing as he sees it," but ever mindful that the permanent value of his work lies in presenting "things as they are." There is no period of American history that requires more in
sight to understand the whole complex of historical facts and relations, or more artistic power to body it forth in faithful and impressive coloring. But such qualities are rare, and the standards are by no means invariable.
I wish to make grateful acknowledgment to President David F. Houston and Professors William J. Battle and Lindley M. Keasbey of the University of Texas, and especially to the editor of this series, Professor Albert Bushnell Hart, for valuable criticisms and suggestions; to Judge Bethel Coopwood of San Antonio, Texas, for the tracing from which the map of Spanish Texas was engraved; to Dr. Jesse S. Reeves of Richmond, Indiana, for copies of the unprinted passages of the Slidell correspondence; and to Dr. James W. Fertig, Secretary of the Chicago Historical Society, for a type-written copy of that most essential document for the study of the period with which I have had to deal, Polk's diary.
GEORGE PIERCE GARRISON.