Writing from the vantage point of the Texas–New Mexico boundary issue, Mark J. Stegmaier provides definitive analysis of the dispute settled by the last great accord on sectional issues between North and South—the Compromise of 1850. Considering the crisis’s overall implication for the Civil War, he meticulously examines Texas and New Mexico documents, U.S. government records, maps, newspapers—particularly reports by Washington correspondents—and collections of personal letters. In addition, he introduces a revisionist analysis of roll-call voting in the U.S. Congress and Texas legislature.
Stegmaier recounts how, with the support of Southern radicals, Texas attempted to extend its jurisdiction despite opposition from New Mexicans and U.S. political leaders. Threatened by military occupation, New Mexicans countered by seeking free-state status, while Presidents Taylor and Fillmore committed U.S. forces to defend the territory against a Texas attack.
A major contribution to our understanding of the great dilemmas facing the republic in 1850 . . . a wealth of rich detail that illustrates the tremendous complexities of law making in those days. —Reviews in American History
Never before has anyone dealt so thoroughly with the central issue of the Texas–New Mexico boundary dispute. . . . With a depth matched by no other scholar, Professor Stegmaier discusses events in Austin and Santa Fe as well as in Washington. Most importantly, he illuminates the relationships among the actors and actions in the three capitals. —William J. Cooper, Jr., Boyd Professor, Louisiana State University
A marvelous achievement . . . astonishing. Dealing with one of the great crises of the American experience, Stegmaier . . . convincingly carries his point . . . that it was only over the boundary dispute that violence could conceivably have erupted. —Craig Simpson, author of A Good Southerner: The Life of Henry A. Wise of Virginia