To the editor:
I take exception to some misstatements and omissions in John Bond’s “Harsh history” letter of May 29. He states: “Mexicans have a moral right to U.S. citizenship because the United States by aggression grabbed about two-fifths of Mexico. … In the peace treaty the United States did pay Mexico a paltry $15 million.” He neglects to say what considerations Mexico gave up for that $15 million.
Specifically: Old Rough and Ready, Gen. Zachary Taylor, in February 1848, in the president’s doghouse and poorly supplied with about 4,000 green recruits and 750 with any combat experience, marched on Buena Vista, Mexico, and found Mexican Gen. Santa Ana with 20,000 troops. Taylor ordered a bayonet charge by a rookie Kentucky regiment, backed by double canister grapeshot by his light artillery. That sent the Mexican Army reeling into defeat. The resulting peace treaty for “a paltry $15 million” conceded certain lands and made no mention of unborn Mexicans’ moral rights to U.S. citizenship. Old ways die hard.
In 1892, Frederick Jackson Turner, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, following the admission of Washington State into the Union, reminded us, alas, the American frontier, wild and woolly in the shaping of our character, was gone after a 285-year run that started with the Jamestown settlement in 1607. With no more frontier, we would have to adjust the horizon of our thinking. European frontiers had closed centuries prior. Over there, in some places, illegal border crossings were discouraged by gunfire. It is only one possibility of man. Whatever happened to the old saying, “Good fences made good neighbors.”