Lecture series to feature Stephen Kearny

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By Kirsten Laskey

Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny was man ahead of his time. In 1846, he was commissioned to lead the Army of the West in the American takeover of Mexico’s land in the Southwest and California, which added almost a third to America’s current territory.

While this achievement is controversial, it was also bloodless. Not a shot was fired during Kearny’s conquest.

Additionally, Kearny exercised modern principles by respecting cultural diversity and human rights in the Southwest. As military governor, he established a civil government, created the Kearny code, or a new legal system that incorporated existing Mexican law, including land grants.

Kearny also provided a bill of rights and guaranteed religious freedom.

Despite his accomplishments and diplomacy, Kearny has been largely forgotten. However, his great-great-granddaughter, Stephanie Kearny, is placing him back in the history spotlight.

She will be discussing her ancestor during the upcoming Los Alamos Historical Society lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Fuller Lodge.

Stephanie said she became interested in studying Kearny because of her family tie to the man. She explained she is named after him, plus her family has a portrait of Kearny and looking at him, Stephanie said she always thought, “He looked a decent man.”

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