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Donald Trump And The Mexican War

May 28, 2020

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While reading some military history today about the Mexican War two quotes jumped off the pages.  They were made in 1847 and 1848 and yet both resonate in 2020.

Gideon Pillow (pictured above) was a staunch ally of President Polk.  He was appointed by Polk as a major general for Winfield Scott.  Pillow had no skills and proved to be inept.  (Just like the person who is pictured alongside Pillow.) What Scott wrote about Pillow, however, caught my attention at once.

“He was the only person I have ever known, who was wholly indifferent in the choice between truth and falsehood, honesty, and dishonesty–ever as ready to attain an end by the one as the other, and habitually boastful of acts of cleverness at the total sacrifice of moral character”

Hmmm……….who does that sound like?

The other major general in the Mexican War was Zachary Taylor.  As Sidney Blumenthal writes in A Self-Made Man there was hatred for Polk from his generals.

In November when a false rumor of Polk’s death reached Taylor in his camp, he wrote a friend, “While I regret to hear the death of any one, I would as soon have heard of his death if true, as that of any other individual in the whole Union.” 

There are always so many interesting slices of history to discover and be amused about in books.  Blumenthal is a masterful researcher and writer and his volumes on Abraham Lincoln, from which these quotes come, are well worth the purchase and time reading.

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