Lions of the West
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From Thomas Jefferson’s birth in 1743 to the California Gold rush in 1849, America’s Manifest destiny comes to life in Robert Morgan’s skilled hands. Jefferson, a naturalist and visionary, dreamed that the United States would stretch across the continent from ocean to ocean. The account of how that dream became reality unfolds in the stories of Jefferson and nine other Americans whose adventurous spirits and lust for land pushed the westward boundaries: Andrew Jackson, John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman, David Crockett, Sam Houston, James K. Polk, Winfield Scott, Kit Carson, Nicholas Trist, and John Quincy Adams. Their tenacity was matched only by that of their enemies—the Mexican army under Santa Anna at the Alamo, the Comanche and Apache Indians, and the forbidding geography itself.
Known also for his powerful fiction (Gap Creek, The Truest Pleasure, Brave Enemies), Morgan uses his skill at characterization to give life to the personalities of these ten Americans without whom the United States might well have ended at the Arkansas border. Their stories—and those of the nameless thousands who risked their lives to settle on the frontier, displacing thousands of Native Americans—form an extraordinary chapter in American history that led directly to the cataclysm of the Civil War.
With illustrations, portraits, maps, battle plans, appendixes, notes, and time lines, Lions of the West is a richly authoritative biography of America as compelling as a grand novel.
will and might, would agree to settle the border dispute at the Rio Grande and sell their western territories. Pursuing and destroying a retreating army did not seem to support that policy and that assumption. Arista and his army retreated past Fort Texas, renamed Fort Brown for Major Jacob Brown who had been killed, and the Americans followed, crossing the Rio Grande on May 18, 1846, and occupying Matamoros on Mexican soil. When news of the successes at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma reached
one time had been the capital of the northern province. The line Trist drew for a southern boundary ran from the mouth of the Gila River on the Colorado River to a place seven miles south of San Diego. The present boundary of Arizona and California with Mexico would be established in 1853 with the Gadsden Purchase. In return for so much territory, the Mexican commissioners had been told to demand thirty million dollars. In theory, Trist could have met that price given his original instructions
grandson was rebelling against going to school. Henry showed a certain tactical ability by refusing to start, and he met all efforts at compulsion by successful, though too vehement protest. He was in [a] fair way to win, and was holding his own, with sufficient energy, at the bottom of the long staircase which led up to the door of the President’s library, when the door opened, and the old man slowly came down. Putting on his hat, he took the boy’s hand without a word, and walked with him
whites as individual. Also, native peoples thought of ownership more in terms of the fruits of the land, the crops, the game, the herbs, the wood, not the dirt itself. Often whites who purchased land from Indians later felt they had been tricked, as native people returned to hunt there. Few whites understood that under tribal law, landownership was usually passed through the women of a family or village. There is evidence that some whites were taken in by Creek males who pretended to sell land
serve as scout and to supply meat for his unit. Crockett’s memories of his service in the Creek War were especially vivid, and years later he would recall the night patrols in hostile territory. “The moon was about the full, and the night was clear; we therefore had the benefit of her light from night to morning, and I knew if we were placed in such danger as to make a retreat necessary, we could travel by night as well as in the day time.” He was present at the battle of Tallushatchee and