This fall, Stanford’s Center for Latin American Studies and SPICE released a new video lecture by Professor Will Fowler, a renowned expert on Mexican history who teaches at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. In the lecture, Fowler presents Mexican perspectives on the Mexican–U.S. War of 1846–1848 and the resulting Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which most Mexicans regard as the most tragic chapter in their history. Professor Fowler also reflects on the consequences of the war for Mexico and how the country remembers the war.
In Mexico, this war is usually referred to as “la intervención estadounidense en México” or “la guerra mexicano-estadounidense,” which translates into English as the “U.S. Intervention in Mexico” or “the Mexican–U.S. War.”
The video is an excerpt from a longer lecture that Professor Fowler gave on the Mexican–U.S. War of 1846–1848 for the Center for Latin American Studies on July 27, 2021. A free classroom-friendly discussion guide for this video was developed by SPICE Curriculum Consultant Greg Francis and is available for download here. The objectives of the video lecture and curriculum guide are for students to:
- gain an understanding of Mexico’s experience of the Mexican–U.S. War and the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo;
- examine what led to Mexico’s defeat in the war;
- discuss the consequences and legacy of the war from a Mexican perspective; and
- learn the importance of thinking critically about perspectives in their textbooks and classes.
Among the topics of Fowler’s lecture is the legend of the six boy heroes, or the Niños Héroes, that has become the main symbol and memory of the war in Mexico. The two most well-known depictions of the event are a mural on the ceiling of Chapultepec Castle and the Altar a la Patria (Altar to the Homeland) monument, more commonly called the Monumento a los Niños Héroes, both in Mexico City. The guide presents an activity that engages students in an examination of the Niños Héroes.
In addition, the guide engages students in a review of how their history textbooks treat the U.S.–Mexico War. After reading the textbook excerpt, students respond to these questions.
- According to the textbook passage, how did U.S. leaders and the general public react to the U.S. victory in the war?
- What was most surprising or novel to you about the textbook passage?
- Which actors does the U.S. textbook emphasize? How do these differ from the actors that Professor Fowler emphasized?
- Which perspectives does the textbook cover that Professor Fowler did not, and vice versa?
The video lecture and guide were made possible through the support of U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center funding under the auspices of Title VI, Section 602(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965.