Essay about THE MEXICAN WAR
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THE MEXICAN WAR
The war between Mexico and America started in 1846 and ended in 1848. “The war was the first that was fought by the US on foreign land. The US had a great interest in expanding its territory at the time under the presidency of James K. Polk” (Van 43). He had a belief that the United States’ destiny was to spread its territory to occupy the continent and extend until it reached the Pacific Ocean. The US resulted to provoking Mexico when their attempts to buy the Mexican land had failed. On the other hand, as at the time of this war, Mexico was unprepared militarily and it was highly divided politically. The war was caused by a border dispute along Rio Grande between the USA and Mexico. As a result of being weak and being defeated several times by the US, Mexico lost about a third of its land. The land which Mexico lost to the US as a result of the war included almost the whole of present-day Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and California.
I believe that the war between Mexico and the Americans was started by the USA because of the need to expand their territories and the superiority attitude which they had at the time. The cause of the war and the events that unraveled before during and even after the war show the determination that the leadership in the US at the time shown towards making sure that they occupied most of the land that had previously been owned by the Mexicans. It is quite clear that Mexico got involved in the war only because it had interests in protecting its territory from invasion by the Americans. Mexico tried to defend its territory throughout the war although it didn’t stand any chance against the American military that had a strong advantage in terms of the equipment that they had and the artillery and resources that it had on its disposal. Except for a few threats, the Mexican government never tried to provoke the US government in any way but only attacked when it felt that it was in real danger of losing its territory to neighboring America. The United states was reluctant to accommodate Texas in its union after independence mainly due to the political interests of the North that were against the addition of a State that was considered to be a slave state.
Besides, the reigning government in Mexico was giving warnings against annexation attempts and was in support of border raids and giving threats of war at the same time. “In April of 1846, US soldiers under Zachary Taylor’s command and who were inside the disputed zone were attacked by Mexican cavalry where around a dozen of the US soldiers were killed. Also, Mexican soldiers laid siege in the Rio Grande to a fort that belonged to America. This prompted General Taylor to request for reinforcements” (Lewis 56). The American soldiers had an advantage because they had more superior artillery and riffles enabling them to emerge winners over the Mexicans. This shows that the attacks by the Mexicans were provoked by the interference on their territory by the American military. They defeated Mexicans in the battles of Resaca de la Palma and Palo Alto because the Mexican army was weak and did not possess sophisticated weapons as compared to the American army. As a result of these battles, the congress in the US was told by Polk that America the patience that America had with Mexico had been exhausted. President Polk who greatly supported the ceding of parts of Mexico to expand the American territory was looking for a reason that would make the American congress support his ideas on attacking Mexico and taking over huge parts of the country a mission in which he succeeded.
War was declared by the congress on 13th May, regardless of it being opposed by Northern lawmakers. The Mexican government did not at any one time declare war against the United States officially. The population of Mexican citizens in the northern side of Rio Grande as at the time that the war began was about seventy-five thousand. This ensured that the resistance faced by the US was minimal as they conquered the lands. Commodore Stockton and Col.Kearney led the US forces in conquering the lands. Besides, in the September capture of Monterrey Taylor also faced minimal trouble in his advancement. Mexico faced a huge amount of losses and this forced them to seek help from Antonio Lopez, who was a standby general known as a strongman with charisma who had been exiled and living in Cuba at the time. He reached an agreement with president Polk to end the war in terms that would be in favor of the United States on condition that he was allowed to go back to Mexico.
However, he double-crossed President Polk on his return as he immediately took control of the army in Mexico and led to war with the Americans. “In 1847 February the Mexican army that he was leading lost the battle of Buena Vista and they were forced into withdrawal suffering heavy casualties under the hand of the American army” (Benham 112). However, this did not deter the general from assuming the presidency in Mexico in the month that followed the defeat. At the same time, General Winfield Scott led the American troops in the takeover of the city of Veracruz. After this takeover, the US army proceeded to Mexico City Following the route that had been earlier used by Hernan Cortes in his invasion against the Aztec empire. This prompted a spirited resistance from the Mexican army in Cerro Gordo and other areas of Mexico. However, the Mexicans were defeated every time that they tried to put up a resistance. “A successful siege was laid by Scott in 1847 September to Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City” (Arndt 76). In the clash, ninos heroes who were part of cadets in military school refused to surrender and opted for suicide instead. Attacks that were in the form of guerilla warfare continued on the supply lines of the Americans even after the war had come to an end.
The Mexican government at the time was considered to be hostile to the US which made it hard for any negotiations between the two governments to take place. The resignation of Santa Anna gave a chance for the formation of a new government that was ready for negotiations. “The war between Mexicans and Americans was ended by the signing of the treaty of Guadalupe in 1848 February. The terms of the treaty were the establishment of Rio Grande as the border between Mexico and the US instead of the Nueces River” (Perez & Palacios 109) The treaty also required Mexico to recognize Texas annexation by the US, and an agreement was reached for the sale of California and its territory which was in the north of Rio Grande. California was sold to the US for fifteen million dollars in addition to assumed claims of specified damages. Some promises were made to the citizens of Mexico in the areas that were ceded which included being given citizenship to the US in the future as their territories became states. There was also an assumption of debts that were owed to the US citizens by Mexicans by the US government to the tune of 3.35 million dollars and a promise that residents in the ceded areas would be guarded against the American Indian raids. Therefore, at the end of the fight, the Americans were hugely victorious and achieved their aim based on the reasons that they had provoked Mexico to achieve.
The war between Mexico and America was as a result of annexation attempts by the US on some parts of territories that fell on Mexican land and control. The US felt entitled to take over and control these lands but Mexicans were not eager to allow this to happen on their watch. Attempts had been made to get the lands diplomatically by president Polk which failed and frustrated him to provoke the Mexican government to war and take over by force. The president succeeded in his attempt which ended up in war which was costly to the Mexicans and profitable to the Americans.
Arndt, J. S. (2012). The True Napoleon of the West: General Winfield Scott’s Mexico City Campaign and the Origins of the US Army’s Combined-Arms Combat Division. Journal of Military History, pp.76.
Benham, H. W. (2012). Recollections of Mexico and the Battle of Buena Vista: Feb. 22 and 23, 1847. Hard press Publishing, pp.112.
Lewis, F. F. (2010). Trailing Clouds of Glory: Zachary Taylor’s Mexican War Campaign and His Emerging Civil War Leaders. University of Alabama Press, pp.56.
Perez Allison, A. N., & Palacios, A. A. (2019, August). The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the US Mexico Border: Text and Map Analysis Assignment. In Congress of the United States of America, 2019,” Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Raw text, 1848 February 2″, https://doi. org/10.18738/T8/SHLESE, Texas Data Repository Dataverse, V1, pp.109.
Van Evera, S. (2013). Causes of war: Power and the roots of conflict. Cornell University Press, pp.43.
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