Book review: Mormon Battalion shaped much of the history of the United States

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  • jimhale Eugene, OR
    Oct. 14, 2012 3:41 a.m.

    It is well to note the positive aspects of the journey of the Mormon Battalion. It is appropriate to mention the role of the Prophet Brigham in bringing the Battalion into being.

    But it should also be made clear in any such book that the Mexican War, of which the battalion's journey was a part, was overall an act of aggression against the people of Mexico. As argued at the time by Abraham Lincoln, President James K. Polk "lied us into war". Then he forced the US Army to go beyond the disputed border and send the Marines to "the halls of Montezuma" - over the objection of the general in the field.

    With US cannons trained on the Mexican legislature in Mexico City, Mexico was forced to agree to "sell" us the Southwest.

    The Mormon Battalion was blessed to avid conflict. The Church was blessed for their efforts.

    But the Mexican War itself was a travesty.

  • Stephanie Abney Mesa, AZ
    Oct. 13, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    “RationalPlease,” I reviewed this book. Yes, you'll find the book to be very accurate. Chapter 2 gives an account of the events you refer to. However, as you probably realize, only so many words are allowed in a book review. I didn’t include the details explaining Jesse C. Little’s visit to Washington, DC, as a representative of the church, to ask for assistance in their move west. Nevertheless, the Mormons in Mount Pisgah who were the first approached by Captain James Allen were unaware of this and were suspicious of his motives. It wasn’t until Allen took the 160-mile trip west to Council Bluffs and met with Brigham Young that things turned around. President Young did see this both as an opportunity to assist the church and for the church to do a great work for the nation. Once President Young became a strong advocate of the battalion, the people began to fill the ranks. I simply chose to tell it quite briefly from the perspective of the Saints, which is also documented in the book. I hope you’ll read the book. You seem to be someone who enjoys history.

  • RationalPlease Spanish Fork, UT
    Oct. 13, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    This review suggests the long-standing bias that the saints being altruistic when the US military came begging them to support the war with Mexico, even though the nation was kicking them. There may have been individuals who felt that way, but the idea of the Battalion was Brigham Young's--not the federal government. He sent representatives to Washington DC to lobby the war department to organize this group--and he suggested many more than the government finally allowed. Ever the pragmatist, he saw this as a way to help finance the initial western migration, as pointed out in this review. I hope the true genesis for the battalion is outlined in the book, and that the suggestion of the bias is in the reviewers mind, not in the authors.