Amy S. Greenberg is the George Winfree Professor of History and Women's Studies at Penn State University, where she has taught since 1995. She is the author of five books, including A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico (2012), which received awards from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Western History Association, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, multiple works on the history of U.S. territorial expansion, and, most recently, an award-winning biography of a little-known early female power broker, Lady First: The World of First Lady Sarah Polk (2019), Greenberg has received major fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and American Philosophical Society, among others; is the winner of Penn State University's George Atherton Award for Teaching; and was named a top young historian by History News Network. She is currently at work on a study of dissent in nineteenth-century U.S. imperialism.
It's all too easy to take the current territorial boundaries of the United States for granted, but as this talk will make clear, there was nothing "Manifest" about the current shape of the nation either for expansionists who demanded the annexation of Cuba, Canada, Central America, and the entirety of Mexico, or for the many Americans who believed the United States large enough before the remarkable territorial acquisitions of the 1840s. This lecture will return contingency to its rightful place in the process of U.S. empire building.