A Brief History of the Mexican American War

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Document A
President Polk (1846)

The grievous wrong perpetrated by Mexico upon our citizens throughout a long period of years remain undressed, and solemn [claims] treaties pledging her public faith for his redress have been disregarded. A government either unable or unwilling to inforce the execution of such treaties fails to perform one of its plainest duties.

Instead of this, however, we have been exerting our best efforts to propitiate her good will. Upon the pretext that Texas, a nation as independent as herself, thought proper to unite its destinies with our own, she has affected to believe that we have severed her rightful territory, and in official proclamations and manifestos has repeatedly threatened to make war upon us for the purpose of reconquering Texas. In the meantime, we have tried every effort at reconciliation.

The cup of forbearance had been exhausted even before the recent information from the frontier of the [Rio Grande] Del Norte. But now, after reintegrated menaces. Mexico has passed the boundary of the US, has invaded our territory, and shed American blood upon American soil. She has proclaimed the hostilities have commenced, and that the two nations are now at war.

Document B

Miguel Barragan, Dispatch on Texas Colonists (October 31, 1835)

For a long time the ungrateful Texas colonists have made fun of the national laws of Mexico; disregarding the fact that Mexico gave them a generous welcome and kept them close to our bosom; dispensing to them the same-and even more-benefits than to our sons.

Everytime we have had internal agitation they have thought the Republic weak and impotent to control their excesses. These have multiplied intensely, producing insults again and again against the whole of our National Arms. To the Texas colonists, the word MEXICAN is, and has been, an execrable word. There has been no insult or violation that our countrymen have not suffered, including being jailed as “foreigners” in their own country. All this has reached the point where the flag of rebellion has been raised; the Texans aspiring shamelessly to take over one of the most precious parts of our land. Accomplices to this wickedness are adventurers from the state of Louisiana who foment disturbances and give necessary support to the rebels. The civilized world will not delay in pronouncing the judgment they deserve for this infamous and detestable conduct. The Supreme Government knows its duties and knows how to execute them. The Government believes that not one Mexican worthy of his country will favor the treason of foreign rebels, but that if such a misfortunate exists, the power and duty of punishing him lies in your hands. God and Liberty!

Document C
Charles DeMorse Gives a Texan’s View of the War with Mexico (1846)

At last we have a real “sure enough” war on hand: something to warm the blood and draw out the national enthusiasm. It seems that the “Magnanimous Mexican Nation” has at last come out of its chaparral of wordy diplomacy, treachery, meanness and bombast, and concluded for a little while, quickly with the though- an opportunity to pay off a little of the debt of vengeance which has been accumulating since the Massacre of the Alamo.

We trust that every man of our army, as he points his rifle and thrusts his, bayonet, will think of his countrymen martyred at the Alamo, Goliad, and at Mier, whose blood yet cries aloud from the ground for remembrance and vengeance, and taking a little closer aim or giving a little stronger thrust, will give his blow in his country’s cause and an additional “God Speed.”

Document D
"The Patriots Getting Their Beans" (1845)

[pic]

James Polk's supporters in the 1844 presidential campaign to collect support from him for their political causes. Polk sits on a throne seemingly oblivious to the chaotic scene while Andrew Jackson stands behind saying: "That's right Jemmy, Non Committal. By the Eternal you're a chip...
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