We Take Nothing by Conquest, Thank God

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“We Take Nothing By Conquest, Thank God,” is a chapter in Howard Zinn's, History of the People. Zinn makes the point that the Mexican-American War was agitated by President Polk, and that the newspapers of the time falsely represented people's opinions of the war even though it was very unpopular among U.S citizens, and the army itself. In the night of his inauguration President Polk confided in his Secretary of the Navy that one of his main objectives was to acquire California. Then Polk incited the war by sending American soldiers into what was disputed territory that was controlled by the Mexicans. The American government had given Mexico no choice, but to fire the first shot and so the war was started. At the same time the Democratic Review became famous saying that it was “Our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions,” in order to inspire more people to join the volunteer army to fight in Mexico. At the same time the New York Journal of Commerce stated that, “The supreme Ruler of the universe seems to interpose, and aid the energy of man towards benefiting mankind. His interposition...seems to me to be identified with the success of our arms...That the redemption of 7,000,000 of souls from all the vices that infest the human race, is the ostensible object...appears manifest,” in order to justify the Mexican-American War in the eyes of their readers. Zinn's inclusion of this chapter in order to describe the time period of the Mexican-American War was in order to show the true reality behind it. The fact that the United States gave Mexico no choice but to begin the war. At the same time Zinn uses this to show the negative feelings towards the war that spread throughout the United States. William Lloyd Garrison declared his wishes for the defeat of General Scott's army, in The Liberator, stating “We wish him and his troops no bodily harm, but the most utter defeat and...
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