The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

window on the world through which they could view a foreign land and
culture" (p. 144). The war had a dramatic impact on previous American
parochialism; the nation would never be the same with peace.
But the war also had a more direct effect on the nation's outlook. It
proved a number of things, among them that a republican government
could effectively fight and win a war with citizen-soldiers, mostly volun-
teers, who provided the mainstay of the armed forces. Further, it
showed that West Point Academy graduates were, indeed, well-trained
commanders and military strategists. Their success in military terms
stifled criticism of the Academy as an elitist institution that posed a
potential danger to the nation's republican government. Finally, it
proved that a popularly elected republican system could best a military
dictatorship.
Although visions of chivalry and romance permeated the war, espe-
cially in the armed forces, typified by the conduct and deportment of
generals Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor, the war was not without its
dark side. A deep-seated racism was widely shared; American superi-
ority, racially speaking, was never questioned: it was paramount. Deeds
of gross misconduct and rapacity tarnished the escutcheon of honor.
And opposition to the war on the political front was never stilled, but
such criticism was muted by the argument that the war was "an instru-
ment for the achievement of higher moral results" (p. 288).
Johannsen has probed deeply in researching this important new di-
mension, which gives a fuller understanding of the Mexican War. His
highly readable narrative, rich in detail, thorough in analysis, is sea-
soned with illuminating insights. Texans will find his treatment of
Texas-Mexican borderlands literature of more than passing interest.
University of Southern Calfornia DOYCE B. NUNIS, JR.
The Southern Baptist Holy War: The Self-Destructive Struggle for Power
within the Largest Protestant Denominatzon in America. By Joe Edward
Barnhart. (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1986. Pp. x+273. Pref-
ace, epilogue, notes, index. $16.95.)
The Southern Baptist Holy War is the best analysis yet written of the
family feud now raging among Southern Baptists. Joe E. Barnhart,
professor of philosophy and religion at North Texas State University, is
eminently qualified to write such a book. A graduate of Southern Bap-
tist Theological Seminary and Boston University with a degree in phi-
losophy, Barnhart brings to the study not only an intimate knowledge
of Baptist life from the inside but also the perspective of an outsider.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/. Accessed November 23, 2014.