The Mexican-American War, Were We Justified?

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The Mexican-American War was a war between the United States and Mexico which lasted from April 1846 to February 1848. It stemmed from the United States' annexation of Texas in 1845 and from a dispute over whether Texas ended at the Nueces River (Mexican claim) or the Rio Grande (U.S. claim). The war was the most devastating event in Mexican history, where Mexico lost the modern day areas of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Montana. The Mexican-American spawned out of land lust. The idea of Manifest Destiny and the promising lands of California, which were coveted by many European nations, led to a war of greed. Even Abraham Lincoln, then a young Congressman, and Ulysses S. Grant, the future Civil War victorious commander and U.S. President, believed that the invasion of Mexico was not justified.

Mexico had rejected a $15 million cash-for-land deal offered by the US. The area included what now covers the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Utah. This territory was Mexican, but only nominally; control over the area was slight, and open to intrusion. Irritated at the rebuff, the US struck back in1845 by annexing Texas, a territory long disputed and fought over by both countries. Mexico responded by severing diplomatic relations. U.S. President Polk further provoked Mexico by moving troops south to the Rio Grande, a river that historically was considered well within Mexico. U.S. and Mexican troops skirmished across the river, leading Polk to declare to Congress on May 11, 1846, that “…the cup of forbearance has been exhausted,” and that “American blood has been spilled on American soil.”

(Source: Eisenhower’s So Far From God, pages 49-55)

The U.S.-Mexican War is the pivotal chapter in the history of North America. It is the war that sealed the fates of it's two participants. For the United States, the War garnered huge amounts of territory and wealth, bootstrapping the fledgling democracy onto the world...
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