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John Pinheiro, Ph.D., Publishes Book on Mexican-American War

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 a Republicanism: A Religious History of the Mexican-American War” was released by Oxford University Press in March 2014.

With Latino immigration and border disputes currently in the national consciousness, it is important to look back and understand the impact of the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. Few people realize the degree to which Manifest Destiny and American republicanism relied on a deeply anti-Catholic civil discourse. As the overwhelmingly Protestant United States went to war with Catholic Mexico, anti-Catholic rhetoric became a factor in every major argument for and against war.

In his book, which he calls an “intellectual religious history,” Dr. Pinheiro traces the rise to prominence of this discourse that began in the 1820’s and culminated in 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 them understand the power religion can have in shaping decisions.”

Dr. Pinheiro’s book has already received high praise. The blog “Religion in American History” recently listed “Missionaries of a 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 Dr. 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.”