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Mexican-American War
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Mexican-American War

Military history of Mexico
Military history of the United States
Conflict Mexican-American War
Date 1846–1848
Place Southern U.S. and northern Mexico
Result Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexican Cession
Battles of the Mexican-American War
Combatants
United States of America Mexico
Strength
unknown unknown
Casualties
KIA: 1,733
Total dead: 13,283
Wounded: 4,152
unknown

The Mexican-American War was a war fought between the United States and Mexico between 1846 and 1848. It is also called the US-Mexico War. In the US it is also known as the Mexican War; in Mexico it is also known as the North American Invasion of Mexico, the United States War Against Mexico, and the War of Northern Aggression (this last name is more commonly used in the Southern United States to refer to the American Civil War).

The war grew out of the Mexican conflict with Texas. After having won its independence from Mexico in 1836, the Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845; however, the Mexican government disputed the southern border of Texas. That same year tensions between the two countries over territory were raised when the United States government offered to pay off the Mexican debt to American settlers if Mexico allowed the U.S. to purchase the Mexican territories of California and New Mexico from Mexico, which some Mexicans found offensive.

President James K. Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to seize disputed Texan land settled by Mexicans. Fighting began in April 24, 1846 when Mexican cavalry entered an area claimed by both the US and Mexico, between the rivers Rio Grande and Nueces, and surrounded a US scouting party under General Zachary Taylor; several were killed. After the border clash and battles at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, the US Congress declared war on May 13, 1846. Northern Whigss generally opposed the declaration of war while Southerners supported it. Mexico declared war on May 23.

After the United States declared war on Mexico, US forces invaded Mexico on several fronts. In the Pacific, the U.S. Navy sent John D. Sloat to occupy California and claim it for the U.S. because of concerns that Great Britain might also attempt to occupy the area. He linked up with U.S. colonists in Northern California who had previously declared an independent republic and occupied some key cities. Meanwhile, U.S. army troops under Stephen W. Kearny occupied Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Kearny led a small force to California where, after some initial reverses, he united with naval reinforcements under Robert F. Stockton to occupy San Diego and Los Angeles.

The main force lead by Taylor continued across the Rio Grande into Mexico, winning the Battle of Monterrey in September of 1846. Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna personally marched north to fight Taylor but was defeated at the battle of Buena Vista on February 22, 1847. Meanwhile, rather than reinforce Taylor's army for a continued advance, President Polk sent a second army under U.S. general Winfield Scott in March, which was transported to the Mexican port of Veracruz by sea to begin an invasion of the Mexican heartland. Scott won the Battle of Vera Cruz and marched toward Mexico City, winning the battles of Cerro Gordo and Chapultepec and occupying the Mexican capital.

The Treaty of Cahuenga, signed on January 13, 1847, ended the fighting in California. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848, ended the War and gave the US undisputed control of Texas as well as California and most of Arizona and New Mexico.

An interesting side note of the war was the Saint Patrick's Battalion (San Patricios), a group, approximately 500-strong, of (largely Irish-born) Americans who deserted the US Army in favor of the Mexican side. Many of them fought against what they alleged was brutal, racist discrimination received from the US. Many identified with Mexico as Catholics. They were hanged by the US; making sure that the last thing these Irish men saw was the lowering of the Mexican flag and the raising of the U.S. flag as the war was won. Some historians claim that these men were prisoners of war. Others argue that they were traitors and deserters. There are many monuments to these soldiers in present-day Mexico.

According to data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the last surviving U.S. veteran of the conflict, Owen Thomas Edgar, died on September 3, 1929 at the age of 98.

The war is often considered an example of the US government's then-ongoing expansionist policies in North America, as defined by the doctrine of Manifest Destiny.

Table of contents
1 Political Implications of the War
2 See Also
3 External links

Political Implications of the War

In the USA, the war was widely supported in the southern states but opposed in the northern states. This division largely developed from expectations of how American expansion would affect the issue of slavery. At the time, Texas recognized the institution of slavery, but Mexico did not. Many Northern abolitionists viewed the war as an attempt by the slave-owners to expand slavery and assure their continued influence in the Federal government. Henry David Thoreau wrote his essay Civil Disobedience and refused to pay taxes because of this war.

Mexico, on the other hand, lost much of its territory in the war, leaving it with a lasting bitterness towards the United States. Santa Anna fled to exile in Venezuela.

See Also

External links