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U.S. Mexican War 1846-1848, Produced by KERA Television.

We seem to be obsessed with anniversaries. Having finished celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II, we are now in the midst of marking the anniversary of the Berlin Airlift and the beginning of the Cold War. Even the Spanish-American War, long one of America’s most neglected conflicts, has received some recognition for its role in establishing the United States as a global power.

Lost in this wave of remembrances is the Mexican-American War. This year marks the 150th anniversary of America’s victory over the Republic of Mexico. As a result of that victory, the United States acquired more than half a million square miles of land and the animosity of generations of Mexicans.

This four-hour documentary uses a format familiar to those who watched Ken Burns’ landmark series, The Civil War. The U.S. Mexican War 1846-1848 uses the commentary of leading historians in the field and multiple contemporary accounts to describe a war largely forgotten north of the Rio Grande and never forgotten south of it. Among the experts who seek to tell the story of the war is John D. Eisenhower, author of So Far From God, a successful account of the conflict.

The first episode sets the stage with a discussion of the tensions between the increasingly expansionist United States and the recently independent Republic of Mexico. The program then follows chronologically from President James K. Polk’s May 13, 1846, declaration of war to the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848.

The series’ greatest strength lies in the contemporary Mexican accounts—and several present-day Mexican historians’ analysis of them—that seek to explain what is known in Mexico as the Invasion of 1847. Too often the thoughts and deeds of the Mexican participants are forgotten or neglected in American accounts of the war. A thorough use of Mexican sources not only adds dimension to our understanding of the war but also sheds some light on the current state of modern Mexican-American relations.

The U.S. Mexican War 1846-1848, a production of KERA-TV for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).