| An integral part of history|
|A view to kill|
“”"Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him,--'I see no probability of the British invading us'; but he will say to you, 'Be silent: I see it, if you don't.'
|— Abraham Lincoln|
“”"For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory.
|— Ulysses S. Grant|
The Mexican-American War took place between 1846 and 1848, and was unsurprisingly a war between Mexico and the United States of America. It's also a strong candidate for the prestigious "Most Bullshit War in American History" Award.
Shortly after the US annexation of Texas, President James K. Polk offered to purchase Mexican land that had previously been claimed by the Texans. When the Mexicans refused, he moved US troops into the disputed area, provoking an attack which he then cited before Congress as an act of aggression. The resulting war ended with America seizing a huge tract of land from Mexico that now comprises multiple states including California, New Mexico, and Arizona.
This war doesn't really show up in media, nor is it often discussed. It's certainly not as popular as WWII. This is unsurprising, as it isn't exactly hard to argue that the US was the bad guy. A deliberately instigated war of conquest doesn't exactly fit with America's national image.
- 1 Origins
- 2 Domestic reaction in the US
- 3 Resolution and Aftermath
- 4 References
The first time Texas seceded from a nation to preserve slavery
Under the rule of Spain, Texas was only sparsely populated; after independence Mexico sought to increase the territory's non-native population in order to bring it under control. Mexico's sparse northern population left its frontier vulnerable to raids from Native Americans who stole livestock and sold them to the United States. The Mexican government began granting American families land grants in Texas, beginning a steady stream of American migration southward. As an additional incentive, Mexico permitted American farmers to keep their slaves even though Mexico itself had previously abolished slavery.
As the owner of a huge land grant, Stephen Austin became one of the most influential Americans in Texas, and he defeated several political pushes to ban slavery in Texas. He also led an unsuccessful attempt to make Texas an autonomous state within Mexico. As the Anglo-American population of Texas swelled, the Mexican government became concerned with the stability of the region. The situation became more tense after Mexico banned Texan slavery in 1829; the government hoped to contain the Anglo-American's anger by restricting further immigration from the United States. However, in an amusing reversal, American settlers either ignored or circumvented these laws and entered Mexico anyways.
Meanwhile, Mexican general Antonio López de Santa Anna overthrew the Mexican president and established himself as a dictator. He hoped to end the semi-independence of Texas. Stephen Austin retaliated by calling his fellow Texans to begin an armed revolt. At this point, the only thing the rebels truly wanted was a return to Mexico's federalist government and the autonomy of Texas. The main driving impulse both then and after was to force the Mexican government to re-legalize the institution of slavery.
Regardless, hostilities began when Santa Anna crushed and massacred the rebel defenders of the Alamo, creating a rallying cry for the white Texans and their allies. Disagreement set in among the rebels as to what their exact goal was; their assembly in 1836 eventually decided on full independence. The ensuing war resulted in Santa Anna's ultimate defeat at the hands of the Texan general Sam Houston; he was compelled to acknowledge Texas' independence. Texas won international recognition, but later agreed to be annexed by the United States.
The United States at this point also began to think seriously about acquiring California. California also received high levels of immigration from the United States, and Santa Anna's shenanigans even resulted in an abortive attempt at a declaration of independence. Division over a potential annexation of California caused divisions in the Democratic Party leading up to the election of 1844; James Polk came out on top, favoring annexation. Particularly important in his campaign rhetoric was the concept of Manifest destiny, the idea that white Americans were destined to expand across the entire North American continent.
The Neuces Strip dispute
Domestic reaction in the US
Opposition from the abolitionists
Resolution and Aftermath
The road to the American Civil War
- Abraham Lincoln's Warning About Presidents and War
- Pedro Santoni, "U.S.-Mexican War" in Encyclopedia of Mexico, Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, p. 1511
- DeLay, Brian (Feb 2007), "Independent Indians and the U.S. Mexican War," The American Historical Review, Vol. 112, No. 2, p. 3
- Jesús F. de la Teja, "Texas Secession" in Encyclopedia of Mexico, Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, 1403-04.
- Texas Revolution Britannica
- Stephen Austin Britannica
- Lack, Paul D. (1992). The Texas Revolutionary Experience: A Political and Social History 1835–1836. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 0-89096-497-1. p. 5
- Edmondson, J.R. (2000). The Alamo Story: From Early History to Current Conflicts. Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press. ISBN 1-55622-678-0. p. 80
- Baptist, Edward (2014). The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-04966-0. p. 266
- Chang, Robert S. "Forget the Alamo: Race Courses as a Struggle over History and Collective Memory." Berkeley La Raza Law Journal 13.Article 1 (2015). Print.
- 15 Facts About the Battle of the Alamo Minster, Christopher. ThoughtCo, January 25, 2019
- Roberts, Randy; Olson, James S. (2001). A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory. The Free Press. ISBN 0-684-83544-4. p. 98
- Republic of Texas Texas State Historical Association, archived.
- The Annexation of California from Mexico Study.com
- Mark R. Cheathem; Terry Corps (2016). Historical Dictionary of the Jacksonian Era and Manifest Destiny. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 139. ISBN 9781442273207