I Am America. Hear Me Roar. Flexing our muscles at Mexico! With the annexation of Texas by the government of the United States of America, war with Mexico seemed to be inevitable. Yet was it really? Historians then and today question Polks motives on declaring war, and whether or not blood had to be shed at all for us to get what we wanted. True, the war was one of aggression and territorial glorification between two relatively new nations who had fought and won their freedom from respective foreign nations and were perhaps equaled in pride and determination.
However, I do not believe that the U.S. entered into the ordeal entirely unprovoked, and anything provoked is likewise justifiable. Right from the start, the President of the United States, James K. Polk, took the stand that all of the U.S.s military and naval movements shall be strictly defensive, and that we will not be the aggressor upon Mexico; but if her army shall cross the Rio Grande and invade Texas . .
.surely we are bound to giver her (Texas) aid in her own defense. 1 Polk hoped desperately to settle matters peacefully, but was determined to have his way by war if necessary. And indeed it was Mexico, in open defiance towards the hated American government and army, that insighted the rebuke by U.S. forces. At the time, boundary rights were bitterly disputed between the United States and Mexico. As a country, our goal was to adjust a permanent boundary between Mexico and the United States.2 It appeared that whether or not the border was the Rio Grande or the Rio Nueces was the question most often fought over, and also that how could you tell if one party had invaded or killed on your land if they dont even recognize the same border as you do? Extremist militant Mexican leaders pushed the buttons of the U.S., until Polk had no chioce but to send in the troops and make a stand.
This all started following Texas break-away from Mexican rule. For nearly ten years the Republic of Texas was an independant country, and was recognized by many foreign nations. However, Mexico refused to acceptthe loss of Texas, considering it to still be Mexican territory that was simply under the temporary rule of a rebel government. So of course they wouldne accept the terms offered by the United States in the annexation of Texas in 1845. Congress doth consent that the . .
. Republic of Texas may be erected into a new state, to be called the State of Texas, with a republican form of government, to be adopted by the people of said Republic.3Instead of their ambassador, they sent threats of open war. Any attempts to forestall or persuade the Texans that joining the U.S. was a bad idea were immediately shot down, and on July 4 a Texas convention officially accepted the U.S. offer, and was soon after admitted to the Union. U.S. soldiers, under the command of Zachary Taylor, were then sent to be stationed in Texas along the east bank of the Rio (grande) del Norte, to protect the newly acquired land and people, and to patrol the borders.
Polk had given Taylor free navigation of the river and the privilege to deal with the Mexicans in any way he deems proper at the moment. Remember, that at this time Mexico is not our enemy, rather a new friend who we do not know whether or not we can trust yet. It wasnt until an overthrow in the Mexican government and the subsequent denial of U.S. offers to purchase California and New Mexico that hostility bacame palpable. Polk sent a Mr.
Slidell to deal with the negotiations and make demands. He was refused to be seen or heard by the Mexican leaders. As tensions mounted along the border, raids and small battles had begun. No one can doubt which of the two republics is responsible for this war: a war whcih any sense of equity and justice, and respect for the rights and laws of civilized nations, might have avoided . .
.4 The Americans had managed to build substantial fortifications, but were outnumbered nearly two to one. Still, in almost every battle of the war the Amerivan troops were victorious. It was quite a one-sided conflict. Another reason, perhaps the most important when looked at closely, for the collision in the U.S.-Mexican War was the struggle between two white governments out to determine which would have the priority in ruling the non-white populations of the continent. Rather, perhaps in a deeper introspection into the nature of the war, we would most likely see a war that was waged by both these governments together, on the one hand, against the whole dominated population on the other.
Even amongst ourselves, Congress and our nation was split, far from being united on the idea of waging war. Southeners favored was as likely to extend slave territory, while northerners opposed the war for the same reason. Two other issues complicated the matter. In the first place many American citizens had claims against Mexico for losses of property caused by the unsettled condition of the country. Mexico agreed to pay only part of the claims. The President also wished to acquire the vast region of California during his administration. He had tried in vain to purchase California, but Mexico had refused to sell its territory.
The refusal had added fuel to the flame, especially for those who wanted more land for the expansion of slavery. And of course antislavery New England opposed the war. California was the dark horse through this all, a chief subject in the war, but one that wasnt focused on because it was out of the way. The United States had a great desire for this land in California, and a fear of letting it slip into the hands of England or Mexico, giving them the upper hand over the Americans. We were a country that I feel was almost getting greedy, lax in a drunken stupor from our own invincibleness. A people that would stop at nothing and go through anyone to get what we want, and that elected Presidents that felt the same way.
The war with Mexico was definately necessary, but not at this time and maybe not in this way. However, we once again pulled out the victors and sent whichever party had stood up to us and failed this time home with its tail between its legs.