Causes Of The Mexican War Essay Research

Causes Of The Mexican War Essay, Research Paper Causes of the Mexican War The Mexican War lasted from 1846-1848 in the area now known as Texas. What began as several small disputes eventually led into an armed conflict

Causes Of The Mexican War Essay, Research Paper

Causes of the Mexican War

The Mexican War lasted from 1846-1848 in the area now known as Texas.

What began as several small disputes eventually led into an armed conflict

between the considerably new nations of Mexico and the United States. The

geographical and political disputes are the most likely causes of the war. These

causes of this war became significant, when the outcome gave the United

States a platform to become one of the most powerful countries in the world.

The first sign of problems between the two countries began when the

United States bordered Mexico after the Louisiana Purchase. “With these areas

now available, American settlers began to move into them, and from there, they

began to enter illegally the sparsely inhabited Mexican territories of California ”

Nardo pg 21. Mexico was unable to deal with these invaders at the time because

they were still dealing with their revolution, but after the Mexican Republic was

established Mexico realized that the United States expansion could be a threat.

Mexico had recently acquired its independence from Spain in the

1820’s and America in the later half of the 1700’s. These new nations had were

unfamiliar with solving their disputes without war. “Although the new

country had established democratic form of government, most of the former class

differences among its citizens still remained. Like Mexico the United States had

extremes of wealth and poverty ” Nardo pg 12. Mexico believed in equality for all

people even though they had differences in their social class. The United States

also believed in equality for all people, even though slavery was practiced by

American citizens. The differences in which each country ran itself caused a small

sense of tension.

To try and help situation between Mexico and the United States, a law

student named Steve Austin developed a proposal for the American settlers in

Texas problem. “Austin promised that the settlers would give up allegiance to the

United States and become Mexican citizens. They would convert to Catholicism

and obey Mexican laws ” Nardo pg 17. This idea backfired when the settlers in

Texas disobeyed Mexican laws. They were too used to having free religion in the

United States and refused to become Catholic. There were several armed revolts

in Texas to any enforcement of the Mexican law. These uprisings by the United

States settlers intensified their feelings toward each other.

The possibility of the annexation of Texas by the United States further

irritated the developing situation. The Mexican Army clearly outnumbered the

Texan Defense and slowly but surely Mexico would end the revolts in Texas.

Though with the help of the United States, Texas would be able to fight the

Mexicans. “Subsequently in the minds of those who believed that the United

States forced war on Mexico as part of preconceived plan forces had in time of

peace encamped in and marched across the territory below the Nueces claimed by

Mexico-though, for that matter, all Texas to the Sabine was so claimed, and

Mexico had announced more than once that entry of Texas into the Union was in

and of itself to be regarded as equivalent to a declaration of war ” Henry pg 28.

Similar feelings were also shared on the other side of the border. “President

Jackson, nearing the end of office, feared that to annex would mean war with

Mexico and an upheaval in domestic politics. Not until the day before he left the

White House would he even recognize the Republic of Texas” Meltzer pg 41.

Though the other reason that Texas wasn’t immediately annexed was a slavery

issue. The North knew that Texas would enter as a slave state. Even though this

was not want the North wanted eventually Texas was annexed. “For several years

the politicians, not yet ready to meet the slavery issue head-on, dodged any debate

on annexation. Texas did not stand still meanwhile. She attracted thousands of

settlers with more liberal offers of land than the United States would make.

Within a decade the Texan population had jumped to 142,000. And by now,

across the border, Americans were ready to act on annexation” Meltzer pg 40.

The annexation of Texas by the United States caused more dispute between

the two countries. The Sabine was established as the boundary between United

States Louisiana and Texas, but when Texas became part of the United States the

dispute over where the Texas and Mexico boundary would be. “While continuing

to deny the existence of Texas as an independent state and its power to annex itself

to the United States, and in no way abating the Mexican claim to everything up to

the Sabine, Mexico also asserted subsequently a lesser claim to the Nueces River

as a boundary line between the states of Tamaulipas and Texas ” Henry pg 18.

With this border set up the United States wanted to send troops to protect them

from the bordering Mexico. General Taylor was instructed to go on or near the

Rio Grande, while making sure not to cause annoyance with the Mexicans on the

east side of the river. “So doing, Taylor placed himself on the right, or south bank

of the Nueces ” Henry pg 20.

Now that Texas was a part of the United States, it would be increasingly

harder for them to defeat Texas. Though the Mexicans had some advantages.

“The United States was far wealthier and more highly populated, there were more

trained soldiers in the Mexican army than in the American. Mexican cavalry was

rated better than that of the United States by European observers, and cavalry

would be important in the theater of warfare across the border” Downey pg 64.

Eventually the United States would get fed up with the antics of Mexico. “United

States ships, visiting Mexican ports on legitimate errands, were delayed and their

officers insulted. In April, 1840 numbers of Americans and other foreigners living

in California were suddenly arrested, beaten, and thrown into prison” Downey

pg 79. The constant harassment of Americans led the United States to defend their

people and show that these action would not go unpunished.

The slave interest at the time could be an additional reason for the Mexican

War. The southern slave states had good reason to support the war. “This

interpretation maintains that the slave interest sought more territory for cotton

cultivation and for additional slave states to balance the northern free states in the

national legislature” Rappaport pg 35. The United States involving themselves in

the war would allow them to acquire Texas. Texas would be another place for

agricultural support. Furthermore, Texas would most likely join the United States

as a slave state. This would make the number of free and slave states equal.

Another possible reason for the Mexican War is to complete manifest

destiny and for freedom. By involving themselves in the war they were able to

obtain land and power. The idea in America was that the more land, the more

places to prosper. This idea caused America to expand at rapid rates. “No other

nation ever expanded so far and so fast in one generation as the United States.

The national frontier leaped from the banks of the Mississippi to the shores of the

Pacific” Meltzer pg 10 . It was also highly supported. “Many Americans,

Northerners and Southerners supported the war because they believed it was

America’s destiny to cover the whole northern if not southern continent”

Rappaport pg 44. America was bent on controlling New Mexico and California

one way or another to complete their manifest destiny dream. “An attempt at a

peaceful settlement was made by Polk in November, 1845, when he sent John

Slidell to Mexico City to try to buy California and New Mexico for thirty million

dollars. His mission failed” Downey pg 69. Several months later the United

States took action achieve manifest destiny and declared war on Mexico on May

13,1846.

No matter what the cause of the Mexican War was, this event helped to

secure America as a major power. Now that the United States stretched from

ocean to ocean his country would begin to thrive for centuries. It is believed that

the causes of the Mexican war were geographical due to the yearning of manifest

destiny. The idea of stretching across a continent would enough to cause the

United States involvement with Mexico. To annex Texas and gain all its

resources and power is another reason for the Mexican war. At the time the views

on reasons for becoming involved were of all sorts. “Some believed Mexico

deserved chastisement for not honoring valid American claims, rejecting John

Slidell, and for the mistreating of Americans living in Texas. Some thought

Mexico would so greatly benefit by an American military victory followed by

democratization of that country as to warrant war. Some were convinced that

American acquisition of Mexican territory would help to fulfill the divine plan that

fertile soil be in the hands of a superior people for its “beneficent utilization”.

Some were outraged by the Mexican attack on American troops on “American

soil” on May 9,1846” Rappaport pg 11. Issues like New Mexico, California,

slavery, and other less important reasons were all apart of causing the Mexican

War. The results of the Mexican War led America to gaining a few territories, but

the long term affect that it had on America can still be seen today.

Bibliography

Citation Page

Downey, Fairfax.Texas and the War with Mexico. New York: American Heritage

Publishing Co., Inc. 1961.

Henry, Robert. The Story of the Mexican War. New York: Fredrick Ungar Publishing

Co. 1961.

Meltzer, Milton. Bound for the Rio Grande; The Mexican Struggle, 1845 1850. New

York: Random House, 1974.

Nardo,Don. The Mexican-American War. San Diego: Lucent Books, 1991.

Rappaport, Armin. The War With Mexico: Why did it happen?. New York: Harper and

Row Publishers, Inc., 1974.