The Mexican American War

The Mexican American War - The Mexican American War Origins...

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The Mexican American War Origins of the War The origins of the war can be debated endlessly, although most will affirm that the majority of the fault lies with The United States and its expansionistic tendencies. Manifest destiny was a popular doctrine that had been circulating in the US for some time. It involved the belief that Americans had a divine right to bring the western hemisphere under their influence because of their superior level of industry and culture. The western hemisphere was their domain, to be controlled by the US for the well being of all involved. Indeed, before and throughout the duration of the war there were some that actively advocated the annexation of all of Mexico, in the belief that Mexicans could never govern themselves for their own good. Although this philosophy never eventuated, it highlights the sheer arrogance of the American ethos is the attitude to the Mexicans. Manifest destiny was further encouraged with the election of Polk prior to the war. Polk was a confirmed expansionist; he was elected on the platform of bringing both Oregon and Texas into the union. He asserted that he received a mandate from the electorate, all be it by a small margin, to proceed with his antagonizing of the Mexicans. It was certainly Polk who initiated the commencement of the war, at least in terms of actual confrontation. Polk sent a contingent of American troops under the command of General Zachary Taylor into the now annexed Texas to guarantee its sovereignty. When Polk ordered Taylor into the disputed Rio Grande area, he effectively insured a war by stationing American troops on what the Mexicans held to their sovereign territory. Polk further encouraged the Mexicans to commence open conflict by leaving Taylor with precious few men in the face of a significantly larger Mexican force, inciting the Mexicans to try their hand against the Americans. It is commonly assumed that the Mexicans actually fired the first shot of the war by ambushing an American patrol in the Rio Grande area, although it is unknown as to whether this occurred on the Mexican or American side of the border. Although this directs guilt towards the Mexicans, they were left with little option other than to retaliate against the Americans for the border intrusions. The origin of this border dispute that lead to the commencement of the war was undoubtedly instigated by Polk with the annexation of Texas, resolved by congress in 1844. Mexico still considered Texas to be a breakaway province, and hence the annexation was considered to be an invasion of Mexican territory by the US. The annexation, in effect, transferred the border dispute between Texas and Mexico in to a US Mexican concern, in effect an undeclared war between the two nations. Despite the plea of innocence, Mexico cannot escape blame for the war.
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course HIST 002 taught by Professor Mcfarland during the Spring '07 term at Drake University .

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The Mexican American War - The Mexican American War Origins...

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