Nicholas Philip Trist; biography of a disobedient diplomat
Brent, Robert Arthur, Department of History, University of Virginia
Younger, Edward, Department of History, University of Virginia
Abernethy, Thomas Perkins, Department of History
Mayo, Bernard, Department of History, University of Virginia
Nicholas Philip Trist was born at the dawn of the nineteenth centuryóa century that opened with the United States still struggling to make a permanent place for itself in the family of nations, and a century which closed with the United States in the vanguard of the powerful states of the world.
Trist was a part of that metamorphosis. While his own activities formed only a small part of the progress of his country, he did what he thought best to further the interests of the American democracy, despite the personal consequences to himself.
In Tristís life are reflected many of the great events that dominated the American national scene during the first half of the century. His exposure to the philosophies and political beliefs of Thomas Jefferson, followed later by intimate contact with Andrew Jackson, certainly played a major part in shaping his own ideals. When in later life he could reflect on the tragic personal aftermath of his Mexican mission in 1847-48, he must have felt sure that Jefferson and Jackson would have approved of his act of disobedience, even though that act may have denied to the United States a greater share of Mexican land.
Nicholas Trist led a full, and at most times an interesting life, and for that reason alone this has been a study which has not seemed without point. But when in addition one may reflect that it was by Tristís hand that American title to Texas was guaranteed, and that California and the Southwest were gained for his country, his labors seem even more worthy of chronicling. Too, an understanding of Trist may lead to a greater understanding of our country during; the period in which he lived.
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.
Thesis originally deposited on 2016-03-14 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:34:45.
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