The Mexican War: A Justified Act of Self Defense or an Unjustified Act of Imperialism?

Topics: United States, Mexico, Mexican–American War Pages: 11 (1455 words) Published: November 28, 2014
Grade 11
“Was the Mexican War a justified act of self defence or an unjustified act of imperialism, and are there comparisons to the recently ‘ended’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?”  
Americans had one objective and that was to expand due to the belief in American superiority also known as Manifest Destiny, which was the creed that it was their destiny or predestination to expand. This became an obstacle to neighbouring empires due to Americas oppressive intentions. Mexico had won its independence from Spain, and they were now an empire.  America approached the new country about selling off Texas, but Mexico refused, to prevent invasion they invited Americans to settle Texas as Mexican citizens. The Americans became tired of the Mexican government, which was an autocracy. But the main causes of this war was the texan annexation and the boundary dispute. This then leads us to conclude that this war was an unjustified act of imperialism due to the fact that President James Polk strongly believed in the doctrine of Manifest Destiny and the fact that America took advantage of the Mexican struggle because of the mentality of ‘the ends justify the means’. As a result, we can see a sense of juxtaposition when comparing conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan to the Mexican War.  To begin, the manifest destiny doctrine was the first connection to unjustified imperialism. The whole idea of manifest destiny was that America had the right to expand and gain as much land as possible, thus believing in “from sea to shining sea”. The American government argued that it was their duty to expand through the rest of North America and that it was unavoidable. James Polk saw Texas and California as profitable land because of agricultural aspects and the transcontinental gateway, and that is when gaining the Mexican territory became the main aim. James Polk believed that Mexico did not deserve to have the land because it was such an advantage and Mexico struggled with obstacles within the empire. That was when Polk decided he was going to devote all his time into negotiations over California. America sought power and wealth for their increasing growth. Americans began moving into Texas to the point where there were more Americans than Mexicans. The Mexican government had feared a rebellion so they began to arrest immigrants reinstitute the property tax, increase tariffs on  shipped goods, and prohibit slavery. And that was when the Texans declared themselves independent. In 1836 the Texan government asked congress to annex Texas to the union. They were an independent nation because they won the war with Mexico and signed to Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. There was a disagreement over the border and how far it actually went when looking at the Nueces River and the Rio Grande River. This is when the idea of imperialism came into play. James Polk sent troops to Texas to protect the border near Rio Grande, which opposed the Mexican governments ideas of the border being at Nueces River. Then on July 7th 1848 The United States declared war on Mexico. As we can see, America used the aspects of imperialism in the sense of extending their power through diplomacy and military force. In the end, The United States did everything in their power to gain the territory regardless of the outcome.  Moreover, the American government took advantage of how weak Mexico actually was, which is another act of imperialism. Mexico had internal conflict considering it had just gained independence from Spain. Mexico has a minuscule population when compared to America. Also at this time, Mexico was still try to systemise itself now that it became its own empire. Mexico struggled with a population that consisted mostly of immigrants, civil predicaments pertaining to social obstacles, agricultural issues, and a deficient economy. Mexico did not stand a chance against America, and James Polk took that as an advantage and used the negative aspects against...
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