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Unformatted text preview: Mexico Mexico T ex as In d ep en d en ce (1 8 3 5 – 1 8 3 6 ) In 1835 Texas seceded from Mexico. Santa Ana came to Texas to protect Mexican interests. He won a major, brutal battle at the Alamo. (He ordered all the male survivors of the siege executed, including Davey Crockett.) But he was captured at the battle of San Jacinto and agreed to independence for Texas in exchange for his own freedom. In spite of Santa Ana’s agreement with Texas president David Burnet, Mexico never did ofﬁcially recognize that Texas was independent. Actually two treaties regarding Texas independence were signed that April in 1836, one public and one secret. The public treaty stipulated: a. Santa Ana would not take up arms against Texas. b. He would not persuade other Mexicans to do so. c. All hostilities would immediately cease. d. The Mexican army would withdraw across the Rio Grande. e. Prisoners of war would be exchanged. The secret treaty stipulated: a. Santa Ana would be released and transported to Veracruz. b. In return he would prepare a Mexican cabinet to receive a delegation from Texas so the Lone Star Republic could be formally recognized as independent of Mexico. Needless to say, these treaties were not well received in Mexico. In fact, the legislature promptly enacted a law which stated that no agreement made by a captive Mexican president is binding. So no peace delegation from Texas was ever received. And no recognition of Texas independence was ever extended. Texas was de facto independent from Mexico from 1836 to 1845. This was not because of any US support, which was not given, although the US formally recognized Texas in 1837. Texas was left independent of Mexico, because of Mexico’s internal problems which left her unable to muster the necessary resources, political and military to take Texas back. Santa Ana was driven from ofﬁce in disgrace. • In 1838 the French invade Mexico demanding $600,000 in reparations for damage done to the property of French expatriates during the wars of revolution and the chaos that followed. • The Mexican government did not respond promptly and the French blockaded Veracruz. • No settlement could be reached and the French invaded. • Santa Ana leads the ﬁght and drives the French back to their ships, but lost a leg in the process. • The French accept a $600,000 payment and Santa Ana thereby regains face. Fallout of T ex as I n d ep en d en ce This is not to say that the US wasn’t interested in Texas. There were plenty of people in Washington who would gladly have annexed Texas. The problem in the US was that annexing Texas would: a. provoke war with Mexico. b. upset the balance between slave and free states. But in 1844 James K. Polk was elected president on a platform that included annexation of Texas. Not to be upstaged, outgoing president Tyler, after the election but before the inauguration, introduced a measure as a joint resolution of congress favoring annexation. It passed both houses–manifest destiny was underway. M E X I C A NAMERICAN WAR It actually started as a border dispute. Was the border of Texas the Nueces River or the Rio Grande? Half of what is now New Mexico and Colorado lay in the claim. Not to mention that it includes the important cities of Santa Fé, Albuquerque, and Toas. As part of the annexation resolution Polk decided to support the full Texas land claims. W ar The US sent an envoy to Mexico in 1846 to negotiate for Texas. Secretly, the envoy was to negotiate for not only Texas, but everything west of Texas to the Paciﬁc Word got out, the envoy was rebuffed, and Mexico prepared an army to head north for war. Unfortunately, the general decided to use the army for a coup instead, and Polk, sensing the weakness prepared to strike. Since he knew his cabinet were opposed to war unless there were Mexican agression, Polk had already sent Gen. Zachary Taylor deep into the disputed territory, spoiling for a ﬁght. It came on May 9, 1846. The spin doctoring was incredible. Polk went before Congress seeking a declaration of war with a speech that included this:
We have tried every effort at reconciliation. The cup of forbearance had been exhausted even before the recent information form the frontier of the Del Norte. But now, after reiterated menaces, Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory, and shed American blood on American soil. She has proclameined that hostilities exist, and that the two nations are now at war. The resolution of war was rushed quickly through Congress. There was signiﬁcant opposition, but Polk managed it well. A young Illinois representative by the name of Abraham Lincoln almost ended his political career opposing this war. But remember, Mexico was in political turmoil at this time. As a result of the coup, there is a caretaker government. Given the state of affairs, the Mexican president, Paredes, felt he had only one option. He called back from exile, the man who ﬁnally liberated Mexico from Spain in 1829, who fought the Texans in 1836, and who lost his leg repelling the French in 1838, Antonio López de Santa Ana. The US planned a three pronged attack. Gen. Steven Kearny, with 1500 men, marched out of Ft. Leavenworth Kansas toward Santa Fé. Gen. Zachary Taylor, with 6000, marched out of Corpus Christi towards Monterrey. And Gen. Winﬁeld Scott, with 10,000 men, sailed to Veracruz to invade central Mexico. Kearny was almost unopposed. In Santa Fé the Mexican commander simply surrendered. So he left a garrison to hold Santa Fé and sent a group south to Chihuahua. He marched on to California, only to discover that the regional commander had surrendered to Admiral Sloat and Col. John C. Frémont. Taylor had more trouble. He had a hard ﬁght for Monterrey. Santa Ana engaged him at Buena Vista. They fought to a stalemate, but Santa Ana claimed victory and simply marched back to Mexico City. The real war was Scott’s. He bombarded Veracruz at a great loss of civilian life. He met Santa Ana and outmanoeuvered him near Jalapa. And he went on to take Mexico City in bloody fashion. • The war ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 ceding California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and most of New Mexico. • Santa Ana became president after the US withdrawal and sold the rest of New Mexico to the U.S. in the Gadsden Purchase. $10,000,000 for 30,000 sq. miles. This contributed to the revolt of Ayutla which overthrew him in 1854. ...
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- Fall '09
- The Land