James Silas Calhoun
First Governor of New Mexico Territory and First Indian Agent
Veteran journalist and author Sherry Robinson presents readers with the first full biography of New Mexico's first territorial governor, James Silas Calhoun. Robinson explores Calhoun's early life in Georgia and his military service in the Mexican War and how they led him west. Through exhaustive research Robinson shares Calhoun's story of arriving in New Mexico in 1849--a turbulent time in the region--to serve as its first Indian agent. Inhabitants were struggling to determine where their allegiances lay; they had historic and cultural ties with Mexico, but the United States offered an abundance of possibilities.
An accomplished attorney, judge, legislator, and businessman and an experienced speaker and negotiator who spoke Spanish, Calhoun was uniquely qualified to serve as the first territorial governor only eighteen months into his service. While his time on the New Mexico political scene was brief, he served with passion, intelligence, and goodwill, making him one of the most intriguing political figures in the history of New Mexico.
Sherry Robinson's excellent biography of James S. Calhoun is an important book on a key figure, providing an insightful and engaging account of his life and career. She shows how his political experiences in Georgia as well as his participation in the Mexican War informed his relations with New Mexico's Indians, nuevomexicanos, and territorial military commanders.'--David V. Holtby, author of Forty-Seventh Star: New Mexico's Struggle for Statehood
Robinson's biography of James S. Calhoun weaves a fascinating tale that engages national politics of the Whigs and Democrats, the complications of US Indian policy over newly acquired territories, and the cultural themes of gender, class, and the role of the press. She masterfully interconnects his life with the tumultuous early years of New Mexico's entrance into the United States and the resulting conflicts over statehood versus territorial status, military versus civilian control, and native New Mexicans versus Anglo Americans who claimed sovereignty over their land and lives. This riveting biography of Calhoun's storied life stretches from his early days in Georgia to his governorship and demise in New Mexico and the plains of Kansas, where he ultimately expired.'--Sandra K. Mathews, coeditor of A History of New Mexico Since Statehood
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