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About the Show

Program Description

The War That Transformed a Continent

The U.S. Mexican War (1846-1848) tells the dramatic story of a war in which Mexico lost almost half of its national territory to the United States.  This national Emmy Award-winning documentary series explores the events surrounding the conflict between two neighboring nations struggling for land, power and identity.

Part One
In the 1820s, Mexico is suffering in the aftermath of a devastating war for independence from Spain.  To the north, the United States is expanding its territory at a pace that alarms the Mexican government.  Tensions mount when Texas breaks free from Mexico in 1836 and is later annexed by the United States.  In 1846, U.S. and Mexican troops clash over a border dispute in Texas, and war explodes.  President Polk orders the U.S. Army and Navy to conquer the Mexican territories of New Mexico and California.  When Mexico refuses to surrender, Polk turns his attention to Mexico City.

Part Two
Former Mexican President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna returns from exile to unite Mexico against the U.S. invasion.  President Polk decides to open a second front against Mexico and strikes deep into Mexico’s heartland.  Santa Anna is unable to turn back the invaders and a dramatic battle for Mexico City ends when the capital finally surrenders on September 14, 1847.  A few months later, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ceding all of the states of th present American Southwest to the United States.

This four-hour series, produced in English and Spanish, is a production of
KERA-Dallas/Fort Worth.


Film Credits

Directed By
Ginny Martin

Written By
Rob Tranchin

Senior Producer
Paul Espinosa

Produced By
Andrea Boardman
Ginny Martin
Rob Tranchin

Narrated By
Bruce DuBose

Edited By
Ginny Martin

Principal Photography
Ginny Martin
Allen Moore


Music By
John Bryant and Frank Hames

Sound Design By
David Rosenblad

Principal Researcher
George Stone

Associate Producers
Rocío Barajas
Gila Burciaga Espinoza
Rick Leal
Victor Payan
Thérèse  Powell

Unit Manager
Joe Bellotti

Graphic Design
Bob Perrenot
Todd Doane


Series Produced In Association With Once TV, Mexico City

Series Producer
Executive Producer
Sylvia Komatsu

A Production of

KERA Unlimited

Dallas Fort Worth Denton

©1998 North Texas Public Broadcasting


"The U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848)" Advisers

R. David Edmunds

Mario T. García

Deena J. González

Richard Griswold del Castillo

Sam W. Haynes

Robert W. Johannsen

Robert Ryal Miller


David M. Pletcher

Miguel Soto

Ron Tyler

Josefina Zoraida Vázquez

Jesús Velasco-Márquez

David Weber



The U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848) and its accompanying educational materials were made possible by grants from the following:

  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • The Meadows Foundation
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Public Broadcasting Service
  • Arthur Vining Davis Foundations
  • The Summerlee Foundation
  • California Council for the Humanities, a state program of the National
  • Endowment for the Humanities
  • Texas Council for the Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • The Priddy Foundation Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas
  • Summerfield G. Roberts Foundation
  • Houston Endowment Inc.
  • The U.S.-Mexico Fund for Culture, a joint initiative of the Bancomer Cultural Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and Mexico’s National Fund for Culture and the Arts
  • The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation
  • Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation
  • Still Water Foundation, Inc.
  • Dr. & Mrs. Francis McGinnis
  • Nevada Humanities Committee, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Mr. & Mrs. Jenkins Garrett
  • J.A. “Tony” Canales