Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mexican American War Character: General Stephen Kearny

     I command the United States Army in the West. I had the honor of winning New Mexico for the United States during the war in Mexico. The high point for me was taking the city of Santa Fe. I wanted to conquer but not to kill. I sent word that if the people didn't fight us we wouldn't fight them. We marched into Santa Fe with our bayonets and knives out, hoping that we would frighten the residents, so they wouldn't fight us. And they didn't. We raised the American flag and fired our cannon in glorious salute to the Unites Stated of America. Apparently this has a strong effect on the town's women because many of them let loose a "wail of grief," as one of my officers described it. The sound of their crying rose above the noise of our horses as we rode along.
     Stephen Watts Kearny was an antebellum frontier officer renown for his participation in the Mexican American War. Kearny attended Columbia University for two years and then joined the New York Militia to participate in the War of 1812, which set course to his military career. After the War of 1812, Kearny was assigned to the western frontier where he went on copious expeditions keeping detailed journals which included interactions with Native Americans. Kearny organized a regiment of dragoons which eventually became known as the U.S. Calvary; he was also appointed commander of the Army's Third Military department, responsible for protection and maintaining peace with Native tribes. In the 1840s, Kearny left a legacy behind, escorting travelers involved with the Oregon Trail, which became an official government policy. In Santa Fe, New Mexico Kearny's Army of the West took control of the area without a single drop of blood. On his way towards California the Battle of San Pasqual took place in which his troop retreated; he was later assisted by Stockton; the Treaty of Cahuenga ended the Mexican American War in Alta California.
     The Kearny Code, named after Stephens Kearny, was essential to the newly acquired territory, New Mexico, because it established law and government. The code was promulgated on September 22, 1846 and submitted to Congress attached with the Organic Act to creating the Territory of New Mexico The provisions remain mostly unchanged in contemporary times and the promulgation consist of three parts. The Bill of Rights granted rights to all people; however, it did not distinguish from citizens and noncitizens. Laws were usually verbatim derived from Missouri statutes.

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