Mexican War - Essay Example

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Relations between the two countries had been strained for years before actual hostilities came to a head and fighting occurred, mostly due to the annexation…
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Summarize the issues and events of the Mexican War. What did the United s achieve as a result of the war you chose? The Mexican War was an event between the United States and the country of Mexico which started in 1846 and ended in 1848. Relations between the two countries had been strained for years before actual hostilities came to a head and fighting occurred, mostly due to the annexation of Texas in 1845 (Heidler and Heidler 47). Also at hand were the issues of land known as California and New Mexico, considered holdings of Mexico at the time and desired by the United States (“U.S. History: Pre-Columbian to the New Millennium”). It was a point of fact that Mexico was becoming quite nervous about the number of Americans migrating into California, since they had no desire to go through another annexation such as Texas had been (Heidler and Heidler 48) It was also the belief of most politicians at the time, including President James K. Polk to achieve Manifest Destiny which stated that it was the wish of God to have all of the land under one government, from the Eastern coast of the Atlantic Ocean to the Western Coast of California (Heidler and Heidler 143). Between the wish to have the land of Texas under the flag of the United States, as well as the philosophy of Manifest Destiny, the United States declared and entered a war with Mexico in order to gain new land to add to the United States and achieve the dream of a coast-to-coast United States.
Though Mexico and the United States had never been friends, the annexation of Texas in 1845 was a major blow to Mexico. Upon learning that Texas had, in fact, been annexed, Mexico banished the American ambassador and cut all diplomatic ties to the United States (Mintz, Moores, and Moores). Though the attempts made by Mexico to retake Texas in 1842 had been unsuccessful, they still refused to recognize the authority of Texas as a separate nation, holding out the hope that they could indeed retake the country (as it was then thought of) that had originally been part of Mexico (Mintz, Moores, and Moores). The United States offered Mexico $5 million to recognize the border of Texas as the Rio Grande River, rather than the Nueces River 130 miles northeast(Mintz, Moores, and Moores). The United States also offered up to an additional $5 million for the territory of New Mexico, and an additional proposal offering up to $25 million for the land of California (Mintz, Moores, and Moores). The Mexicans refused any and all offers due to their anger over the loss of Texas (Mintz, Moores, and Moores). Despite attempts to preserve peace, it was soon felt that war was the only option.
President Polk was not a man to sit back and wait for events to happen; he was a devout and true believer in Manifest Destiny, and felt (along with many other Americans) that Mexico stood in the path to the great nation of the United States stretching from shore to shore (Davidson and Stoff 363). To that end, Polk ordered an attack along four different paths that would wound Mexico deeply (“U.S. History: Pre-Columbian to the New Millennium”). Under the orders of Polk, General John Fremont took soldiers into California and captured the Mexican “presidio” (garrison) in Monterey, successfully conquering the upper half or “Alta California” for the United States (“U.S. History: Pre-Columbian to the New Millennium”). General Stephen Kearney fought and captured Santa Fe, New Mexico in August of 1846, before going on to Southern California and capturing the Baja Peninsula in the name of the United States in early 1847 (Davidson and Stoff 366). California briefly declared itself a second republic, as Texas had done, before it was brought into the protection of the United States.
General Zachary Taylor rode to the Rio Grande River and engaged Mexican troops, defeating Mexican General Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista in February 1847 (Davidson and Stoff 366). General Winfield Scott made his way directly into Mexico City, where troops fought to the last man at Chapultepec, much as men of Texas had at the Battle of the Alamo (Davidson and Stoff 366). Unfortunately, just as with the men of the Alamo, the fought was lost, and the American army stationed itself in the capital of Mexico. The Mexican government, surrounded by American troops, had little choice but to choose the path of peace.
The American wish of Manifest Destiny was realized by Mexico signing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which gave the United States the land of Texas, as well as the land of California and New Mexico, all except for a small strip that ran along the southern border of present-day Arizona and New Mexico (Davidson and Stoff 366). Mexico did not leave the war with total losses, for the United States paid $15 million for the previously mentioned lands as well as agreeing to respect the rights of Spanish-speaking people living in either territory (Davidson and Stoff 366). The war had been short, just over two years, and the United States had achieved their dream of Manifest Destiny, finally in control of a coast-to-coast land.
Mexico retreated south of the Rio Grande River to lick their wounds. They had lost all territories inside the United States, including Texas, which they had for years insisted still belonged to them. The United States celebrated Manifest Destiny and achievements, while Mexico mourned over the loss of lands and power north of the Rio Grande.
Works Cited
Davidson, James West, and Michael B. Stoff. The American Nation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1998. 363-366. Print.
Heidler, David S., and Jeanne T. Heidler. The Mexican War. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006. 47-48; 143. Print.
Mintz, Stephen, John Moores, and Rebecca Moores. "Westward Expansion: The Mexican War." Digital History. University of Houston, 10 Jan 2012. Web. 11 Jan 2012.
“The Mexican War.” U.S. History: Pre-Columbian to the New Millennium. Independence Hall
Association, 2011. Web. 11 Jan 2012. Read More
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