In by the same kinds of problems

In a reading of sources regarding the U.S.-Mexican War, the reader is struck by certain portrayals of the U.S. and Mexico, the former as a powerful nation and the latter as underdeveloped, weak, and disorganized.These portrayals are apparent in both secondary and primary sources dealing with the war, for varying reasons in each case.In the primary sources, most of which are American (at least those used by researchers from the U.S.), the presentations of American greatness and Mexican weakness are closely tied with American chauvinism of the time period, which pervaded most writing and documentation.The secondary literature seems to have fallen victim to this pervasive chauvinism, echoing the idea that the U.S. was not plagued by the same kinds of problems as Mexico: political disorganization, spatial disparity, and varied (even dissenting) mindsets.The notion that Mexico lost the war to the U.S. because of political infighting is simplistic at best.Likewise, the assumption of U.S. unity and hegemony (or hegemonic interests/goals) may reflect a taking at face value of primary source material and also reflects an understanding shaped by modern points of view – a projection of today's ideas onto a war that occurred over 150 years ago.A positivist construction of a historical timeline has led to a chain of events leading up to a U.S. victory, showing the reader a sort of history written by the victor, rather than a real understanding of the events of the time or a very credible picture of life during the U.S.-Mexican War.
Dueling Eagles, co-edited by Richard V. Francaviglia and Douglas W. Richmond, is an attempt at a re-evaluation of the war, through the collection of various essays presented at a conference whose intent was to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the causes and effects of the war. This book (and the conference out of which the book grew) is a self-proclaimed re-evaluation because of its…