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Why was there a Mexican – American WAR?

In 1836, Texas had just declared its independance as a nation from Mexican rule. Mexican - American WarThe battle of San Jacinto had just been fought and won. But now, the Republic of Texas was bracing itself for possible future attacks — and a possible Mexican – American war.

Time had passed since the Texas Revolution, and there was no attack from Mexico again. So, the Republic of Texas was finally able to conduct business like a nation. The United States, England, and France recognized Texas as a nation. Texas had its own diplomats that it sent out to other nations. It also had its own currency. But Mexico never attacked.

There were several reasons why the feared attack never came. The political climate in Mexico at the time caused it to become very divided. Conservatives and Liberals were in a constant struggle to overthrow each other. Liberals overthrew conservatives in 1844, then conservatives overthrew the liberals in 1845, and so on. People weren’t thinking of what was best for Mexico, they only sought what was best for themselves.
Therefore, Mexico wound up in a bad economic condition. Corruption was an escalating problem at the time. Mexico owed money to France and other countries, but could not pay on these debts because government money was disappearing and being stolen by those who worked and served in public office. All of these issues culminated into the fact that Mexico was just not in a financial position to raise an army with enough supplies to attack Texas.

During this time, the United States had a presidential election in 1844. James K. Polk, a Democrat, with his vision of an expansion to Oregon and California, won the presidency. This was a clear sign to President John Tyler. Tyler now saw how the people of the United States truly wanted to expand. It was close to the end of President Tyler’s term, and in a joint resolution, Congress decided to annex Texas. President Polk went to work on his ideas of expansion. A man named Thomas Larkin was appointed by President Polk to be a “confidential agent” in California. John Slidell was sent to Mexico to try negotiating with Mexico, in an effort to purchase California and New Mexico. When he offered $30 million for the pair, he was met with silence. Mexico would not even negotiate or discuss anything with Slidell.

President James K. Polk

President James K. Polk made the case for Congress to declare war by saying, “American blood has been shed on American soil.”

President James K. Polk  was also dealing with England. They were resolving where Oregon’s boundary should be. Eventually they came to an agreement of establishing the United State’s border to north along the “49th parallel.” Once that decision was reached in 1846, President James Polk could turn his attention to Mexico.

General Zachary Taylor received orders from President Polk. He was to put troops in the area near the Rio Grande and Neueces River. Mexico responded by attacking them. 52 of Taylor’s soldiers were taken prisoner, and 11 men died in the attack. After hearing about the attack, President Polk prepared a statement to Congress. Congress decided that declaring war against Mexico was necessary as a result of the news of the attack, and in response to Polk’s statement in which he said that “American blood has been shed on American soil.”

 To be continued in Part 2…

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

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

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