Mark Twain and war
When Mark Twain was born in 1835, the United States was relatively free of impending war, having won its indepe ndence in 1776, and having established itself as a dominant force in the West e rn Hemisphere after the War of 1812; but during his life, extend i ng into t he twentieth century t o ]QlO , his country would fight three wars--the Mexican War ~ the Civil War, and t he Spanish-American War--and would r esolve the original war against the Indians by 1890. Duri ng the last year of t he Mexican War when a telegraph wire was str ung to Hannibal, Missouri, Mark Twain at the local ne ws paper office was gi ve n charge of the extras with news from t he front; so the impor ta nce of his job as circulation manager with the respon s ib ility of distributing news hot from t he battlefield spurre d him to endeavors that won for him plaudits and success. In 1861 Mark Twain served briefly as a second lieutenant with the Hannibal volunteers to help Governor "Claib" Jackson (Claiborne Fox Jackson, governor o f Missouri, 1861-1865) repel the Union invader. Then 26 July 1861 he traveled westward through Indian territory with his br other Or i on who had been appointed Territorial
Secretary of Nevada. Since he was in the West until 1866, Ma r k Twain, as miner and a newspaper reporter, was in a p o sition to be fully cognizant of the Indian Wars~ Later hi s observations of war were extended when he lived in Europe and when he traveled around the world. Because he k new Rudyard Kipling, Henry Morton Stanley, and Winston Ch urchill, who himself became famous during World War II, a nd because he met many heads of state, his experiences enc ompass much of world affairs of his lifetime (18 35-1910) . Painel in his biography of Twain details the author's various activities.2 Since war entails . many facets within a country, the milieu of Mark Twain's time affected attitudes and procedu res. A review of this background may help to explain ~n part Twain's response and attitude toward the various armed conflicts which he learned of or was associated with.