Despite his widespread fame as a reporter, Freaner’s greatest contribution to the United States came during a conversation with Nicholas P. Trist, negotiator of the peace treaty with Mexico. After Trist had passed along an outrageous proposal from the Mexican commissioners, he was recalled, but Freaner convinced Trist to ignore the order and begin a new round of negotiations. Trist resumed, concluded the war, and added California, Nevada, Utah, and other territory to a growing country. This acquisition was second in size only to the Louisiana Purchase and was a direct result of James Freaner persuading Trist to brazenly conclude a treaty when he had no authority to do so.
From the Halls of the Montezumas is a complete compilation of Freaner’s Mexican War reporting. Editors Alan D. Gaff and Donald H. Gaff have annotated the text with footnotes identifying people, places, and events, and also have added illustrations of key figures and maps. They supplement Freaner’s dispatches with biographical information that ranges from his early career to his journey to the gold fields of California and his untimely death at the hands of Indians in California in 1852.
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Published by University of North Texas Press