Bolton, Herbert Eugene (1870–1953)

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Bolton, Herbert Eugene (1870–1953)

While teaching at the University of Texas from 1901 to 1909, Herbert E. Bolton was awakened to the role of the Spanish in Texas history. He became an important early twentieth-century voice in the promotion of the non-Anglo history of the United States and the importance of inter-American relations, which he felt would lead to a comprehensive understanding of the history of the Americas. Although historians agreed that his ideas were new and creative, he never developed an Americas school of historians. The history of the Spanish Borderlands remains primarily regional history. Many historians have agued that the Americas do not have a common history.

Over the years Bolton taught thousands of students and his Americas approach had a positive impact on them. Some of them included John Francis Bannon, S.J., A. P. Nasatir, Lawrence Kinniard, George P. Hammond, John Caughey, Mary Ross, and J. Manuel Espinosa. These students and others went on to promote the study of the Borderlands and Latin American history through publications, teaching, archival work, and positions in the U.S. State Department, where they had a positive impact.

Through the influence of Bolton, the study of the Spanish Borderlands continues to flourish. The study of the history of the Americas has evolved into the study of the history of the Atlantic world.

See alsoBorderlands, The; Hispanics in the United States; United States-Mexico Border.


Bannon, John F., ed. Bolton and the Spanish Borderlands. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964.

Bannon, John F., ed. Herbert Eugene Bolton: The Historian and the Man. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1978.

Hanke, Lewis. Do the Americas Have a Common History?: A Critique of the Bolton Theory. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964.

Magnaghi, Russell M. Herbert E. Bolton and the Historiography of the Americas. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998.

                                       Russell M. Magnaghi