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Why was there a Mexican – American WAR? (PART 2)

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The United States Congress decided to declare war against Mexico on May 13, 1846. They thought it was necessary in response to Polk’s statement, “American blood has been shed on American soil.”

The Battle of Molino del Rey

The Battle of Molino del Rey was fought in September 1847, during the Mexican-American War.

On the other hand, the United States wasn’t exactly prepared for war. The Mexican army was considerably larger — Mexico had 32,000 soldiers, but the United States only had 7,000. However, despite the lopsided numbers, the Mexican armies had some weaknesses that worked out to be in the United States’ favor. The supplies, uniforms, guns, and ammunition were all in weak supply. All of these commodities were also in very bad condition, and sometimes not even in working order. But the thing that hurt Mexico the worst was the fact that they lacked greatly in skilled and compitent military leadership.

The first strike was by the troops under the leadership of Zachary Taylor. They won in Resaca de la Palma in May 1846, as well as in Palo Alto, after they traveled across the Rio Grande. Before continuing, they stayed put and waited for supplies. Then in September, they went forth and secured Monterrey. Then in February 1847, the last of the fighting to take place in northern Mexico was when Taylor’s men won the battle at Buena Vista.

Zachary Taylor’s victory in Montery quickly became famous. However, this created a bit of tension with President Polk. The Whig party was starting to want Zachary Taylor to run for president.

The Army of the West” was an American army made up of 1,500 frontiersmen under the leadership of Stephen Kearny. President Polk sent Kearny and his army to California and New Mexico. Stephen Kearny and his “Army of the West” were victorious in taking New Mexico at Santa Fe — without a single shot being fired. Governor Armijo intended to thwart Kearny’s attempts at first. However, at Apache Pass, he abandoned his position as soon as Kearny’s army came near. The people of Santa Fe were promised that their property, culture, religion and safety would be protected as citizens of the United States.

Stephen Kearny then delegated Alexander Doniphan to take some troops to Chihuahua. One thousand soldiers moved southward with Doniphan and captured Chihuahua in March 1847 after two battles against Mexico’s army. Following orders, Doniphan’s men joined Zachary Taylor’s army in May 1847 by traveling 600 miles, crossing a desert.

Grizzly Bear Flag 1846

The original Bear Flag. The modern flag of California is similar to the original design.

Kit Carson was traveling eastward bearing news of the Bear Flag Revolt. Stephen Kearny was traveling toward California, and met Carson who told them of the events. In a revolt, people who were Americans and living in the area of Sonoma raised a flag with the image of a grizzly bear. This was in June 1846. They were joined by John C. Frémont and his 62 sharpshooters. Supposedly, Frémont was there on a science expedition.

Soon, the Californians learned of the war with Mexico a month later. Robert Stockton came to California with a United States fleet, and an American flag was then raised. A couple of battles broke out in southern California, due to a revolt by the disgruntled against American rule. This occured when Stephen Kearny and his men had finished crossing over the mountains of California. However Kearney’s troops prevailed in those battles, and they continued to Los Angeles.

With great effort, Mexico City was captured in 1847 by the soldiers under the leadership of Winfield Scott. His troops were already in bad condition and were exhausted. They arrived at Vera Cruz, and made their way toward Mexico City after a series of victories in conflicts at Molino del Rey, Chapultepec, and at Churubusco. Then, in the Grand Plaza, when Santa Anna’s Mexican army retreated, the American Flag was raised in victory.

The war had ended. The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was signed, which stated that the Rio Grande would be the border of Texas. The United States and Mexico agreed that the United States would pay Mexico $15 million for California and New Mexico.

<< Mexican – American WAR PART 1 |  Mexican – American WAR PART 2 >>


Source of fact information: Mark Twain Media, Inc., Publishers

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