The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909

Book Reviews and Notices.

American Diplomacy Under Tyler and Polk. By Jesse S.
Reeves, Ph. D. [The Albert Shaw Lectures on Diplomatic His-
tory, 1906.] (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press. 1907.
Pp. ii, 335.)
Besides the lectures indicated by the title of this volume, it
has two chapters which contain matter not included in the lec-
tures. One of the two deals mainly with Commander Macken-
zie's report on his visit to Santa Anna at Havana in July, 1846;
and the other is a reprint of an article by the author of the book
on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo from the American Histori-
cal Review for January, 1905.
Dr. Reeves has given a clear and rational survey of his sub-
ject in pleasing contrast with the mass of controversial literature
passing for history which has been written in relation to it. It
is plain that he has striven to maintain the judicial attitude
throughout; but there is some question as to whether he has not
been too confident of his conclusions as to Polk's motives, and
whether he has not in fact occasionally misinterpreted the evi-
dence or forced his inferences. He does not accept the partisan
contemporary view-too common still-that Polk made himself
the wicked agent of the slave-holding interest to extend the area
of slavery. To him, Polk is simply the intriguing and unscrupu-
lous expansionist, who deliberately planned and accomplished the
seizure of California at the cost of an unnecessary and bloody
war against a power that was too weak to make effectual resist-
ance.
In the preparation of the book, the larger part of the sources
available in the United State has been used, including the manu-
script materials in the archives of the Department of State at
Washington, the Library of Congress, the Lenox Library, and that
of the Chicago Historical Society, and especially the nidispensable
diary of Polk, but only that small fraction of the correspondence
of the Republic of Texas with its own charges at Washington
which has already found its way into print. Nothing has been
drawn from the documents in the English and French archives.
More than half the book is taken up with the annexation of
Texas and the Mexican war. The author describes it as dealing
"principally with the questions of boundary," and remarks that

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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101048/. Accessed July 14, 2014.