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My Town EGR: Aquinas College professor publishes book on Mexican American War | Arts & Culture

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My Town EGR: Aquinas College professor publishes book on Mexican American War
My Town EGR:  Aquinas College professor publishes book on Mexican American War

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- Dr. John C. Pinheiro, associate professor of history and director of Catholic studies at Aquinas College, has published a book detailing the religious history of the Mexican-American war. Missionaries of Republicanism: A Religious History of the Mexican-American War has been published by Oxford University Press.

With Latino immigration and border disputes currently in the national spotlight, Pinheiro believes it is important to look back and understand the impact of the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. Manifest Destiny, the 19th-century belief that the expansion of the U.S. throughout the American continents was both justified and inevitable, and American republicanism both relied heavily on anti-Catholic civil discourse. When the Protestant United States went to war with Catholic Mexico, anti-Catholic rhetoric became a factor in every major argument for and against the war.

In his book, Pinheiro traces the rise to prominence of this discourse, which began in the 1820’s and culminated into the Mexican-American War.

“I hope that readers can see some of our current questions about immigration in a different light, with more background,” said Pinheiro. “I hope this book can help individuals understand the power religion can have in shaping decisions.”

Pinheiro’s book has already received high praise. The blog, “Religion in American History,” recently listed Missionaries of Republicanism: A Religious History of the Mexican-American War as one of 35 books that are a must read for 2014. Joel H. Sibley, author of Party of Section: The Rough and Ready Presidential Election of 1848 calls Pinheiro’s book, “a groundbreaking achievement.”

According to Thomas S. Kidd, professor of history at Baylor University, “In this much needed history, John Pinheiro vividly illuminates the interplay between race, religion, and politics during the Mexican War. ‘Missionaries of Republicanism’ is essential reading for understanding the mindset of antebellum America.”

Pinheiro also wrote the book Manifest Ambition: James K. Polk and Civil-Military Relations during the Mexican War, and has written numerous articles in academic journals regarding this topic.

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