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Mexican War Essay. America's war with Mexico has been labeled, both then and since, an unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression and territorial aggrandizement. Using the documents as well as your knowledge of the diplomatic history of the years from 1836 to 1846, evaluate this assertion.

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Mexican war essay
Mexican War Essay

  • America's war with Mexico has been labeled, both then and since, an unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression and territorial aggrandizement. Using the documents as well as your knowledge of the diplomatic history of the years from 1836 to 1846, evaluate this assertion.


Manifest destiny
MANIFEST DESTINY!

  • A continuation of the belief that God has blessed America and that God is pleased with American institutions (freedom and democracy)

  • And He wants to see as much land as possible come under the influence of the American way


Tejas
TEJAS

  • Northernmost part of New Spain and then, after 1821, Mexico

  • Traditionally thought of as the land to the north of the Nueces River (Corpus Christi)

  • Both American and European cartographers of the time had fixed the southern boundary of Texas at the Nueces (source: The National Archives – www.archives.gov)

  • Sparsely populated



The treaties of velasco 1836
THE TREATIES OF VELASCO (1836)

  • After the Battle of San Jacinto, Santa Anna, a prisoner of the Texas army, signed two treaties at Velasco, Texas

  • Public Treaty

    • An agreement to end all hostilities

    • Santa Anna agrees to retreat to the south of the Rio Grande


The treaties of velasco http www tamu edu ccbn dewitt treatyvelasco htm
THE TREATIES OF VELASCO http://www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/treatyvelasco.htm

  • Secret Treaty

    • Santa Anna would be released immediately in exchange for his recognition of Texas independence

    • Both Texas and the Mexican government violated the treaties

    • Texas detained Santa Anna (from May to November) while the Mexican government declared everything Santa Anna agreed to in captivity to be null and void

    • Mexico did not recognize Texas independence

    • They continued to view Texas as a province in rebellion


Jackson and texas
Jackson and Texas

  • Andrew Jackson was a supporter of the Texas Revolution but chose not to push for Texas annexation after independence was achieved


Martin van buren and texas
MARTIN VAN BUREN AND TEXAS

  • Van Buren (1837-1841) opposed the annexation of Texas on grounds that it would add another slave state to the union.


The tyler presidency 1841 1845
THE TYLER PRESIDENCY(1841-1845)

  • Growing concern that Texas would ally itself with England, abolish slavery, sell cotton and hurt southern interests

  • The Tyler administration negotiated a treaty of annexation with Texas in 1844

  • Treaties require a 2/3 vote in the Senate


A controversial treaty
A CONTROVERSIAL TREATY

  • Sec. of State Calhoun negotiated the treaty but suggested the desire to annex Texas was driven by southern slave interests (April 1844)

  • This inflamed northern opposition and the treaty was rejected (June 1844)

Calhoun life mask


The election of 1844
The Election of 1844

  • Texas became the major issue in the campaign

  • Clay (W) was against annexation at first and then seemed to be for it

  • The Democrats rejected anti-annexation MVB and nominated pro-annexation James K. Polk


The election of 18441
The Election of 1844

  • Polk called for

    • Settling the Oregon dispute with England

    • Florida Statehood

    • The annexation of Texas

    • The acquisition of California (San Francisco would be a gateway to the Pacific ocean)

    • Polk won the electoral vote 170-105 but the popular vote was very close (difference of 40,000 out of 2.6 million cast)


Joint resolution of congress annexing texas march 1 1845
JOINT RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS ANNEXING TEXAS MARCH 1, 1845

  • 3 days before Polk’s inauguration

  • Joint Resolutions only need a majority vote

  • “That Congress doth consent the territory properly included within, and rightfully belonging to the Republic of Texas, may be erected into a new State, to be called the State of Texas”


The polk administration 1845 1849
THE POLK ADMINISTRATION(1845-1849)

  • March 4, 1845 – Polk is inaugurated

  • March 31, 1845 – Mexico withdrew its ambassador (breaks diplomatic relations) from Washington, D.C. after repeated warnings against Texas annexation

  • June 16, 1845 – Texas accepted the U.S. offer of annexation

  • July 1845 - Polk sent Zachary Taylor and 3,500 troops to the banks of the Nueces River at Corpus Christi


The polk administration 1845 18491
THE POLK ADMINISTRATION(1845-1849)

  • Polk also sent a naval squadron off the Mexican gulf coast

  • He told his representative in California to stir up annexation talk (The Bear Flag Revolt) out there (13,000 Spanish Mexicans, 75,000 Native Americans, <1,000 foreigners, mostly Americans)


Mexican debt to u s and political instability
MEXICAN DEBT TO U.S. AND POLITICAL INSTABILITY

  • The Mexican government had agreed (in 1843) to assume $3 million in debt to U.S. citizens but defaulted on its payments

  • Mexico experienced much political instability during this time as well as a nationalistic pride that prevented compromise with the U.S.


The slidell mission
THE SLIDELL MISSION

  • In November 1845, Polk sent John Slidell to Mexico to negotiate the purchase of California and New Mexico

  • Slidell was to offer $25 million dollars (one of numerous offers to buy this land)


The slidell mission1
THE SLIDELL MISSION

  • Slidell was also instructed to settle all U.S. claims against Mexico (the $3 million) in exchange for Mexican recognition of the Rio Grande as the southern boundary of Texas

  • Mexico knew of Slidell’s intentions and refused to meet with him officially (in fact the current government was overthrown out of fear they would give away Mexican land to the U.S.)


Polk the provoker
POLK THE PROVOKER?

  • December 29, 1845 – U.S. Congress approves Texas statehood

  • January 13, 1846 – Polk ordered General Taylor to move from the banks of the Nueces and set up camp on the eastern banks of the Rio Grande

  • Taylor set up camp and built a fort across from Matamoros

Old Rough and Ready


Polk s war message
POLK’S WAR MESSAGE

  • May 8, 1846 – Slidell returned from Mexico and urged Polk to take decisive action against Mexico

  • May 9, 1846 – President Polk began drafting a war message to Congress asking for a declaration of war on Mexico on two grounds

  • Unpaid debts and the rejection of Slidell


American blood upon the american soil
AMERICAN BLOOD UPON THE AMERICAN SOIL

  • On the night of May 9th, while composing his war message, Polk received a letter from Gen. Taylor

  • Taylor informed Polk of a military skirmish that took place on the eastern banks of the Rio Grande in which 16 Americans were killed (April 25, 1846)

  • Polk incorporated this incident into his war message


Polk s message on war with mexico
POLK’S MESSAGE ON WAR WITH MEXICO

  • May 11, 1846 – See primary source handout

  • “…Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon the American soil.”


Congress declares war on mexico
CONGRESS DECLARES WAR ON MEXICO

  • May 13, 1846

    • House of Representatives

    • 174-14

    • Senate

    • 40-2


Lincoln s spot resolutions
LINCOLN’S SPOT RESOLUTIONS

  • In 1847, a relatively unknown Whig congressman from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln challenged Polk to identify the “spot” where American blood was shed, implying that it was not American soil.

  • The Spot Resolutions were never adopted by the House


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