The Mexican War
The United States in 1846 was not justified
in going to war with Mexico. The United States did not have proper
justification to respond with violence against the Mexican government.
The war with Mexico was also a product of the United States’ belief of
manifest destiny. Polk’s over ambition to seize new territory from
the Mexicans and disappointment over their refusal to sell him California
also possibly played a factor in his willingness to wage war against Mexico.
The United States under the leadership of president Polk clearly provoked
Mexico into attacking US troops. All these reasons show that the
US had no business starting a war with Mexico for territory that was rightfully
The war with Mexico came at a time when
much of the country had strong feelings of manifest destiny. Manifest
destiny is the belief that fate had preordained the US to expand from the
Atlantic to the Pacific oceans and from Canada to the Rio Grande river.
This idea which was coined by John O’ Sullivan was very popular in the
1840’s. This ideal had strong influence and was one reason that their
was so much popular support for the US expansion west. This ideal
while nationalistic did not give us the right to go into Mexico and seize
land which was rightfully theirs in the first place. They had the
right to expel any US citizens that were living on their country’s land
especially if they where not abiding by their laws. This alone makes
even the annexation of Texas not completely just. The US vision of
manifest destiny helped to win the public’s support for the Mexican war.
Yet the public was misled by this sense of manifest destiny and those that
did support it supported an unjust war.
President Polk during his presidency lusted
for more land than the country had ever before controlled. Not only
did he capture Texas but also California and Oregon. While attempting
to gain California through peaceful means he sent John Slidell to Mexico
City to offer the Mexicans up to $25million dollars for California yet
this offer was rejected by the Mexicans as insulting. This led Polk
to frustration and his willingness to try backhanded and sneaky new ways
to get the Mexicans to give him the territories that he desired.
This showed that Polk was consumed with greed for new territory.
He no longer cared how he claimed his no territory. Polk was consumed
with a need to make his campaign promises a reality and to make the prophecy
of manifest destiny a reality. His greed for land is evident in his
behind the back tactics that he attempted to employ against the Mexicans.
He also was seeking a form of revenge for the deaths at the Alamo and the
refusal of his proposal to buy California from the Mexicans. Polk
was so greedy for land that he was willing to risk blood shed and death
of his citizens for revenge against the rejection of a proposed treaty
and his want for manifest destiny.
Quite possibly the strongest of all reasons
that the US was unjust in going to war with Mexico in 1846 was that the
US forces were in the disputed territory too purposely insight the Mexicans
into starting the conflict so the US would look like they were the good
guys in the incident. The US troops were commanded to cross over
the Nueces river to the banks of the Rio Grande. This was a move
to get the Mexicans to attack US troops on land that was claimed by both
countries. This did not work out as planned at first and the Mexicans
wouldn’t attack. This worried Polk so he went to his cabinet.
He told them on May 9, 1846 that he was to propose to congress that he
wanted them to declare war on Mexico on the grounds that one: unpaid claims
and two: Slidell’s rejection. These reasons were flimsy at best.
But luckily for Polk word of the blood shed he had been waiting for arrived
that evening. His cry for war was quickly echoed in congress and
soon the declaration of war was passed. Yet this provoked attack
was unjust and should have been seen as such by the US congress.
This was clearly an act of aggression that was provoked by the US.
To conclude the United States was unjust
in its declaration of war on Mexico in 1846. The US was clouded with
dreams of Manifest Destiny. It had a president that was obsessed
with fulfilling campaign promises and greed for new land. Also Polk
was looking for revenge for the denial of the proposal for buying California
as was evident in his original reasons for declaring war on Mexico.
Also the US provoked this boarder dispute into the two-year war that it
became by purposely inciting the Mexicans into a fight. All these
reasons are the evidence that the US was not justified in declaring war