The Mexican-American war of 1846-1848 was a continuous bloody conflict that was the result of Mexican resentment to the USA, and is still considered to be one of the most essential moments in the US history, being the first war to be fought on an international soil. The importance of this military act for the America is impossible to be overestimated, the country’s territory being stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific as the result.
Causes of war
The act of annexation created uproar in Mexico, who had not accepted the independence. Multiple efforts to avoid war were made by the Mexican president, sending envoys to the US for negotiations. As negotiations proved to be unsuccessful, Mexican president approved the gathering of troops on the Texan border. But both nations were afraid to initiate any serious military action, constantly looking for an excuse to start fighting. Finally, the Americans found a way of provoking Mexico into war. As far as Mexico was concerned, her boundary with Texas went across the Nueces River, while the Americans declared natural border of the Texas being actually located on the Rio Grande, further to the south, so the troops were sent to occupy that vacant region. On these grounds, it wasn't that long, before a series of skirmishes turned into a full scale war. “The worst of those (skirmishes) was the so-called "Thornton Affair", took place on the 25th of April 1846, when a squad of American troopers got attacked by a much larger Mexican force, and 16 Americans soldiers were lost” (Brands, 2004). Because the Mexicans crossed the border and found themselves in the contested territory, and followed by larger battles in the next two weeks, both nations decided to declare war by May 13, 1846.
“Manifest Destiny” and the southern slavery plot in the West
When thinking about the possible war, the first motivator of the Americans was land and the maniac belief that their country should be stretching its shoulders from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This idea of expanding the American territory in order to fill the entire continent was called “Manifest Destiny”. This philosophy was both expansionist and radically racist: its proponents thought that: “the "noble and industrious" American people deserved the right to own those lands more than the "degenerate" Mexicans and Native Americans, who then have been occupying it.” (Henderson, 2007).
End of war
The Mexicans and Americans had fought about ten major battles all together, which turned out to be victorious for the US. The war, that lasted for about two years, and ended on February the 2nd, 1848, with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which granted the lands of the present California, Utah, and Nevada, as well as parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Colorado states to the United States of America. All rights to Texas were also renounced by Mexico.
The US Mexican war was a conflict which was strongly persuaded by various interest groups in the United States of America. The reasons for these interests were reflected in the conclusion of the war, resulting in the annexation of an enormous hunk of territory, including the present states of California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and most part of Arizona, from which the US greatly benefited, both economically and strategically.
Brands, H.W. (2004). Lone Star Nation: the Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence. New York: Anchor Books.
Henderson, T. J. (2007). A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and its War with the United States. New York: Hill and Wang.
Wheelan, J. (2007). Invading Mexico: America's Continental Dream and the Mexican War, 1846-1848. New York: Carroll and Graf.