Mexico - Manifest Destiny (2023)

As of December 31, 2014, I retired from full-time teaching in Humboldt State University's Department of History. While this website will remain online, it is no longer maintained.

History 110 - Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer
Whose Manifest Destiny? The Conquest of Northern Mexico

  • This is what most Americans actually KNOW about what happened at the battle of the Alamo in 1846: http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/the-alamo/trailer?
  • And this is a perspective most Americans DO NOT KNOW about the ensuing Mexican American War - a perspective presented in a Mexican textbook on the annexation of Texas and the U.S. intervention in Mexico, As Others See Us.

    "Texas was annexed to the United States by the treaty of April 12, 1844, despite the protests of our [Mexican] government and even though the treaty was rejected by the American Congress. Thereupon the annexation of the territory was proposed in the House and approved on March 1, 1845, which forced our Minister in Washington to withdraw. The Texans, backed by the American government, Mexico - Manifest Destiny (2)claimed that its boundaries extended to the Rio Bravo del Norte [Rio Grand], whereas in fact the true limits had never passed the Nueces River. From this [boundary dispute] a long controversy developed [during which negotiations were carried on] in bad faith by the Americans.

    They ordered troops to invade places within our territory, operating with the greatest treachery, and pretended that it was Mexico which had invaded their territory, making Mexico appear as the aggressor. What they were really seeking was to provoke a war, a war in which the southern states of the Union were greatly interested, in order to acquire new territories which they could convert into states dominated by the slavery interests. But since the majority of the people in the United States were not pro-slavery nor favorable of a war of conquest, President Polk tried to give a defensive character to his first military moves, foreseeing the opposition which he would otherwide encounter. Once he obtained a declaration of war, Polk made it appear that he wanted nothing more than peaceful possession of the annexed territory...

    The Mexican War was a brilliant move astutely planned by the United States. The magnificent lands of Texas and California with their ports on both oceans, the gold deposits soon to be discovered in the latter state, and the increase in territory which made possible the growth of slave states compensated the United States many times over the costs in men and money of the unjust acquisition..."

  • Today, we are going to sort out some of the myths and realities of Mexican American relations before, during, and after the Mexican American War.

Discussion Goals:

  1. To understand the economic, social, and political status of Mexico at the time of American immigration.
  2. To examine the causes that led up to the Mexican American War and the way it contributed to the growth of the U.S. at Mexico’s expense.
  3. To explain why the Mexican American War was so unpopular among many Americans.
  4. To study the consequences of the Mexican American War.
  5. To learn how the Mexicans fared in “Occupied Mexico” - that portion of Northwest Mexico that came under control of the US after 1848.

Goal #1: To understand the economic, social, and political status of Mexico at the time of American immigration

(Video) Manifest Destiny and The Mexican American War

In 1821 - the year that the first large American migration into Texas began - Mexico was in deep financial trouble after winning an eleven-year war of independence with Spain. As Rodolpho Acuna notes, in 1821, the new nation was "bankrupt, and it needed time to build an infrastructure to unify the new country."Mexico - Manifest Destiny (3)

  • It was an independent nation of people who lived within a rigid social hierarchy that had evolved through the years of Spanish contact and conquest. The minority - whites of European/Spanish blood - were at the top of the economic, political, and social hierarchy, followed by Mestizos of mixed blood, and at the bottom of the rung were the largest number of people - the Indians.
  • The indigenous people had lost most of their political and economic power and their languages had begun to disappear. (Today, only one Indian tongue is recognized as the national language in a Latin American nation - Guarani in Paraguay.)
  • The new Mexican Constitution, adopted on October 4, 1824, made the new nation a federal republic with nineteen states and four territories
  • Texas was one of the 19 new states. Because it was so sparsely populated, Texas was combined with Coahuilla to create a new state - which quickly became known as the poorest in the Mexican federation. As the map below indicates, Texas was sandwiched in between the United States to its east and to the north and the state of Nuevo Mexico to the west. It is also worth noting the size of its largest territory - the sparsely populated and commercially unprofitable territory of California.
  • Rodopho Acuna describes the economic status of the new nation as "bankrupt, and it needed time to build an infrastructure to unify the new country." But Mexico did not have time to build its political and economic infrastructure before the Americans began to look at its southern neighbor for their own economic betterment.
  • Thus it was in 1821 - at the same time Mexico was struggling to recover from its war and create a new political and economic system - that Moses Austin approached the new government with an offer to bring a party of American immigrants into the Mexican state of Texas.

Goal #2: To examine the causes that led up to the Mexican American War and the way it contributed to the growth of theU.S. at Mexico’s expense

Causes of the Mexican American War

  1. U.S. government adopted an aggressive foreign policy designed to force Mexico to sell Texas.
  2. North American immigration to Texas, eventually making Americans the dominant population.
  3. American refusal to submit to Mexican laws.
  4. Mexico adopted a new, centralized government, thus forcing the Mexican states to relinquish some of their power.
  5. Anglo-American settlers sought more autonomy of Texas.
  6. Americans established the Republic of Texas with the western boundary at the Nueces River.
  7. The U.S. government annexed Texas with the western bourndary at the Rio Grande River.

First Cause - The U.S. government adopted an aggressive foreign policy designed to force Mexico to sell Texas.

  • 1804 - Americans formally displayed their interest in Mexico during the presidency of Jefferson. Napoleon had not defined the exact boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase, so Jefferson initially claimed Texas had been part of the purchase. But Spain refused to acknowledge this claim.
  • 1819 - In the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819, the US gave up official claims over Texas in return for Spain's decision to give up Florida.
  • 1827 - President John Quincy Adams tried to purchase Texas for a million dollars, but Mexico refused the offer.
  • 1830 - President Andrew Jackson tried to purchase Texas for 5 million dollars but again, Mexico refused the offer.

Second Cause - Americans began immigrating to the Mexican territory of Texas and quickly became the dominant population.

  • In late 1821, Moses Austin - an American - received a grant from the new Mexican government to establish a colony of 300 American families in Texas.
    • Each family could purchase up to 170 acres for agriculture and another 128 acres for stock raising - a total of 298 acres. The government asked 12-1/2 cents per acre, tax free.
    • The grant stipulated that all settlers must be Catholics or willing to convert to Catholicism; that all public transactions must take place in Spanish; and that all immigrants had to relinquish their US citizenship and take an oath of loyalty to Mexico.
  • By 1822, 300 families had arrived under the leadership of Moses' son - Stephen Austin. (Moses died before being able to immigrate.)
    • When the Americans began arriving, they were the minority among 3,000 Mexican ranchers who lived in Texas - one of the least populated areas of the country.
    • Many other Americans felt that if Austin could get such a generous grant, they could too. The United States was still struggling with the aftermath of the Panic of 1819 and soaring land prices within the United States made the Mexican land policy seem very generous. Thus, a substantial migration began.
  • In 1823, partly because American migration increased so rapidly, the Mexican government forbid the sale or purchase of slaves, required that the children of slaves be freed when they reached fourteen, and required that any slave introduced into Mexico by purchase or trade would also be freed.
  • By 1824, the colony's American population exceeded 2,000 with about 450 slaves. They had largely excluded themselves from the 3,000 Mexicans.
  • By 1825, the Mexican government began to worry about the increasing number of American immigrants and asked for an investigation of how colonization was proceeding in Texas.Mexico - Manifest Destiny (5)
  • In 1829, the investigation found:
    • Most Anglo Americans refused to become Mexican citizens, had largely isolated themselves from Mexicans, and perhaps most troubling - the immigrants were ignoring the slave reforms passed by the state.
    • In response, the Mexican government officially outlawed all slavery in Mexico.
    • To circumvent the law, many Anglo colonists converted their slaves into indentured servants for life. Others simply called their slaves indentured servants without legally changing their status. Slaveholders wishing to enter Mexico would force their slaves to sign contracts claiming that the slaves owed money and would work to pay the debt. The low wages the slave would receive made repayment impossible, and the debt would be inherited
    • Texas outlawed this tactic in1832 by prohibiting worker contracts from lasting more than ten years.
  • By 1836, Americans had become the dominant population in Texas; there were 38,000 American settlers and about 5,000 slaves, versus 7,000 Mexicans living in Texas. Additionally, the settlers held title to several huge land grants - grants that encompassed over half of the entire state of Texas.

Third Cause - American refusal to submit to Mexican laws

  • Americans, as discussed above, disobeyed all Mexican laws in regard to slavery.
  • Additionally, while Americans had promised to convert to Catholicism and sign an oath of allegiance to Mexico, most had refused to do either.
  • In 1830, Mexico prohibited further American immigration into Mexican territory. Americans, however, ignored the immigration law and continued to cross the border.
Fourth Cause - Mexico adopted a new, centralized government, thus forcing the Mexican states to relinquish some of their power.
  • In 1832, Santa Anna led a revolt against Mexican president Bustamante which resulted in a short civil war in which Santa Anna was victorious.
  • On June 12, 1834, Santa Anna Mexico - Manifest Destiny (6)dissolved Congress and he immediately formed a new centralized government - a dictatorship backed by the military. Several states openly rebelled against the changes - including Texas which soon formed its own government, the Republic of Texas.
Fifth Cause - Anglo American settlers' began to seek more autonomy for Texas.
  • The Mexican government attempted to address some of the Texans' concerns, especially allowing more American immigrants to settle in Texas, giving Texas more representation in the state legislature,and authorizing English as a second language.
  • But in 1835, Santa Anna revoked the Constitution and began centralizing and consolidating his power. As protests spread across Texas, Mexican officials blamed the Anglo settlers for the discord, noting that they continued to live in isolation from Mexicans and had not become citizens.
  • These events led to the sixth and most important cause of the Mexican American War - the American declaration of the Republic of Texas.
Sixth Cause - Americans established the Republic of Texas with the western boundary at the Nueces River.
  • American colonists proclaimed a provisional government - the Republic of Texas and declared independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836.
    • The American colonists maintained that Mexico had invited them to move to the country and they were determined to enjoy the republican institutions to which they were accustomed in their native land, the United States of America.
    • A battled ensued - the battle of the Alamo - Mexico - Manifest Destiny (7)and ended with the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. At San Jacinto, Sam Houston had organized a counterattack and surprised Santa Anna’s forces at San Jacinto. A systematic slaughter ensued. After the battle, 2 Americans and 630 Mexicans were dead. Santa Anna was captured and promised to convince the Mexican government to recognize the Republic of Texas.
    • Santa Anna did not keep his promise and the Mexican Congress refused to accept Texas independence.
    • In October 1836, Sam Houston became president of the new Republic of Texas with a western boundary at the Nueces River.

Seventh Cause - Americans elected a new president in 1844 - James K. Polk - who ran on a platform to annex Texas with the western boundary at the Rio Grande River.

In 1838, Sam Houston invited the U.S. to annex Texas, but Congress declined. Why? Mexico refused to recognize Texas independence and the Whigs (advocates of federalism) felt annexation would bring war with Mexico. Further, the northern Whigs did not want another slave state entering the Union.

(Video) The Mexican American Border | Manifest Destinies

However, in 1845, just days before President Tyler (Whig) left office for his successor, James K. Polk (Democrat), convinced Congress to annex Texas with the southern border set along the Rio Grande. Texas was admitted to the union as a slave state. Mexico - Manifest Destiny (8) But admission had not been easy. The United States Congress passed - after much debate and only a simple majority - a Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States.

Although the formal transfer of government did not occur until February 19, 1846, Texas statehood dates from the 29th of December, 1845.

Mexico immediately cut off relations with U.S. and insisted that Texas’s southern boundary was the Nueces River, not the Rio Grande which was 130 miles to the south. President Polk responded by ordering American troops under General Zachary Taylor to the disputed territory - the border area between the Nueces and the Rio Grande Rivers.

The U.S. government declared it had no choice but to go to war with Mexico. Mexican forces Mexico - Manifest Destiny (9)crossed the Rio Grande to attack the U.S. army and on May 11, 1846, the U.S. was at war with Mexico.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 1, 1848, ceded Texas with the Rio Grande boundary, and all territory between Texas and the Pacific - territory that later became the states of New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah, and most of Arizona, Wyoming, and Colorado. In return, the U.S. paid Mexico $15 million. Americans gained over 1 million square miles - an area amounting to one-half of all Mexico.

Goal #3: To explain why the Mexican American War was so unpopular among many Americans

The Mexican American War was perhaps the most unpopular war ever fought in American history. This statement from the State of Massachusetts provides some insight into the war's unpopularity:

"Resolved, That the present war with Mexico has its primary origin in the unconstitutional annexation to the United States of the foreign state of Texas ...; that it was unconstitutionally commenced by the order of the President, to General Taylor, to take military possession of territory in dispute between the United States and Mexico, and in the occupation of Mexico; and that it is now waged ingloriously - by a powerful nation against a weak neighbor - unnecessarily and without just cause, at the immense cost of treasure and life, for the dismemberment of Mexico, and for the conquest, of a portion of her territory, from which slavery has already been excluded, with the triple object of extending slavery, of strengthening the 'Slave Power,' of obtaining the control of the Free States, under the Constitution of the United States.

(Video) War & Expansion: Crash Course US History #17

Resolved, That such a war of conquest, so hateful in its objects, so wanton, unjust, and unconstitutional in its origin an character, must be regarded as a war against freedom, against humanity, against injustice, against the Union, against the Constitution, and against the Free States; and that a regard for the true interests and the highest honor of the country, not less than the impulses of Christian duty, should arouse all good citizens to join in efforts to arrest this gigantic crime, by withholding supplies, or other voluntary contributions, for its further prosecution; by calling for the withdrawal of our army within the established limits of the United States; and in every just way aiding the country to retreat from the disgraceful position of agression which it now occupies toward a weak, distracted neighbor and sister republic."

Who resisted and protested the War?

  1. Abolitionists knew that southerns planned to expand slavery through invading Mexico. One Georgia newspaper stated that taking territory from Mexico would "secure to the South the balance of power in the Confederacy [i.e., the United States], and, for all coming time - give to her the control in the operations of the Government" (quoted in James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom).
  • Frederick Douglass denounced the annexation of Texas as "a conspiracy from beginning to end - a most deep and skillfully devised conspiracy - for the purpose of upholding and sustaining one of the darkest and foulest crimes ever committed by man."
  • Veterans. In his personal memoirs written after he served in the war, Ulysses S. Grant recognized that the annexation of Texas was "from the inception of the movement to its final consummation, a conspiracy to acquire territory out of which slave states might be formed for the American Union." In 1879, he wrote, "I do not think there was ever a more wicked war than that waged by the United States on Mexico." Mexico - Manifest Destiny (10)And as he was dying in 1885, he asserted that the war was "one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger nation against a weaker nation."
  • Northern Democrats and Northern Whigs who opposed the annexation of Texas and wanted to end the extension of slavery into the American territories - called the war "Mr. Polk's War," referring to President James Polk, a Southern Democrat, who had clear expansionist tendencies.
    • David Wilmot, a Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania, expressed this hostility when he attached a proviso to the appropriations bill for the U.S. invasion of Texas in 1846. What became known as Wilmot's Proviso would have banned slavery from any territory taken from Mexico. The House of Representatives passed this proviso in both 1846 and 1847, but the Senate voted against it in both years because the South dominated the Senate.
    • Nearly all northern Democrats and Northern Whigs voted for the amendment, while Southern Democrats and Southern Whigs voted against the Wilmot Proviso.
    • Abraham Lincoln, a freshman Congressman from Illinois, put forth the "spot resolutions" in December 1847 and January 1848 in which he demanded from Polk a description of the exact "spot" where Mexican soldiers shed American blood that started the war. Instead, Lincoln suggested that American soldiers had shed Mexican blood on Mexican soil.
  • Racists who did not want to add more people of color to the United States.
  • Idealists such as Henry David Thoreau who agreed with the anti-war stance of both the abolitionists and northerners. Because he detested slavery and because tax revenues contributed to the support of it, Thoreau refused to pay the hated poll tax. In July 1846, he was arrested and jailed. Soon after his release, he wrote "Civil Disobedience" - an analysis of the individual's relationship to the state that questions why men obey governmental law - like going to war or paying taxes - even when they believe such actions are unjust.
  • Goal #4: To study the consequences of the War

    For the United States:

    1. The U.S. acquired a colony that was 1 million acres (almost 50% of all Mexican territory) and contained rich farmlands and natural resources such as gold, silver, zinc, copper, oil, and uranium.
    2. With the acquisition of the Northern Territories of Mexico, the U.S. became a hemispheric power - largely because of the new ports in California that would facilitate economic expansion across the Pacific.
    3. Almost 30% of all American troops who fought in the war died. More than 16,000 lives were lost. More than 5,800 Americans were killed or wounded in battle, 11,000 soldiers died from diseases, and others eventually died from their war injuries.
    4. U.S. spent between $75 and $100 million dollars.
    5. Disagreements over slavery escalated across the United States. A growing number of northerners were convinced that the War was started by southern slave owners who wanted to open the newly acquired lands to slavery.
    6. American political parties were weakened; subsequently, it became increasingly difficult for the nation's leaders to prevent slavery and the expansion of slavery from dominating Congressional activity for the next 12 years.
    7. Many 21st century historians argue that the Mexican American War was the first American War of conquest - or as some have even stated, a war in which the U.S. "bullied" a weaker power to gain new territory by conquest.
    8. Historian Brian DeLay in The Mexican American War states the major consequence of the war in this way:

      " ... the Mexican American War ... does not fit well with our idea of what American history is all about. We like to structure our history around important wars ... and we remember these wars as conflicts where we were attacked by an aggressor. And this aggressor had particular designs on things central to who we are - our liberties, our fundamental freedoms - but through enormous sacrifices, we overcame the odds and drove back this threat. And the Mexican War does not fit this pattern."

    9. For Sam Haynes, the author of a biography on President Polk, the war is even more significant:

      "The Mexican American War represents a fundamental moral dilemma for the United States. Is the U.S. going to be a good nation or is it going to become a great nation? Is it going to become a nation that will protect the sovereignty of neighboring nation states, or a nation that will aggressively pursue its own self interests?" ( James K. Polk and the Expansionist Impulse.)

    For Mexico, the war was a series of tragedies - largely because the war was fought almost entirely on Mexican soil.

    1. Mexico lost half of its nation.
    2. Besides the thousands of military and civilian deaths during battles, the war left tens of thousands of orphans, widows and disabled.
    3. Some cities suffered great losses and destruction due to artillery shelling and small-arms gunfire.
    4. The nation's economy was severely disrupted by the naval blockade and movement of thousands of troops across the land, as well as the steep decline in agricultural and mineral production caused by the massive conscription of peasants.
    5. The political instability during and immediately after the war led to a new despotic regime and eventually to another civil war.
    6. The Mexican population suffered severe psychological damage and their national dignity and honor were shattered largely due to the humiliation of having their capital and much of the country occupied by enemy troops and the horror of a peace treaty that cost Mexico half of its national territory. Consequently, a deep and long-lasting feeling of resentment toward Americans arose within much of Mexico.

    Goal #5: To learn how the Mexican population fared in "Occupied Mexico"

    (Video) Manifest Destiny and the Mexican American War

    The Mexicans who now lived in what many began to call "Occupied Mexico" did not fare well.

    • They became alienated from the dominant, Anglo European society.
    • They were politically unempowered.
    • They became the target of racist violence because whites believed Mexicans posed a threat to the economy of the southwest.
    • They were dispossessed of their land and subsequently went from being landowners to laborers. We get a really good idea of how this happened in the new state of California.

    Mexican Land Dispossession in California

    The early 1820s until the Gold Rush - Spanish and Mexican rulers granted over 800 large tracts of California land to Hispanic and white settlers. The rulers did not recognize Indian ownership of these lands. Newcomers to California selected valley locations with rich soil and reliable water sources to raise livestock and crops. Most grants were not accurately surveyed and mapped, which made the claims difficult to prove when California passed into American hands in 1848.

    1848 - The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that formally ended the Mexican American War provided that the Mexican land grants would be honored (Article X). However, the United States Senate removed that protection when ratifying the Treaty. In order to investigate and confirm titles in California, American officials acquired the provincial records of the Spanish and Mexican governments.

    In the ten years before the missions were dismantled, the Mexican government had issued only 50 grants for large ranchos. In the dozen years after the missions were secularized, over 600 new grants were made.
    1851 - The California Legislature passed an "Act to Ascertain and Settle Private Land Claims in the State of California" which required all holders of Spanish and Mexican land grants to have their land titles confirmed by the newly-created Board of California Land Commissioners. Despite promises in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, this Act placed the burden of proof of title on Spanish and Mexican landholders - and this was a difficult burden because in most cases, the land grants were made without closely defining the exact boundaries and even when boundaries were more specific, many markers had been destroyed before accurate surveys were made.

    Although 604 of the 813 claims brought before the Land Commission were confirmed, most decisions were appealed to US District Court and some even went to the Supreme Court. The confirmation process required lawyers, translators, and surveyors, and took an average of 17 years to resolve - making it very expensive to defend land titles. In many cases, land had to be sold to pay for defense fees or given to attorneys in lieu of payment.

    From the early 1850s forward - Before 1850, Mexican Californios owned all the land valued at over $10,000.

    • By the 1870s they owned only one-fourth of this land; most Mexican ranchers had been reduced to farming rented property.
    • By 1880, Mexicans were relatively landless in California.
    • Upon losing their land, most Mexicans became laborers - on ranches, large farms, in the mines, and in railroad construction. All of the work was difficult, low paid, and often migratory.
    • In the mines, for example - Anglo workers operated the machines, while Mexican miners did the manual and dangerous work. In the silver-mining industry in Arizona, white laborers received $70 a month plus board while Mexican laborers received $12 and $30 per month with no board.
    • Work for Mexicans gradually became more exclusively labor involved.
      • In 1850, 34% of the rural Mexican population in Texas were ranch or farm owners, 29% were skilled laborers, and 34% were manual laborers.
      • By 1900, only 16% were ranch or farm owners, 12% were skilled laborers, and 67% were manual laborers.

    Conclusions - Whose Manifest Destiny?The Conquest of Northern Mexico

    1. The United States government's interest in Texas began early during the era of Manifest Destiny but did not significantly increase until a substantial number of Americans had migrated into Texas territory - enough to stimulate a move for independence - and until a president with deeply expansionist ambitions was elected president - James K. Polk.
    2. The primary causation of the Mexican-American War was American aggression in the Mexican areas of Texas and California. From the time of the first American settlement in Mexico in 1821 until the end of the Mexican-American War, the march of Americans into Mexican territory was unrelenting.
    3. The belief in Manifest Destiny fueled the Mexican American War and as such, made it a war of conquest. As historian James McPherson has written, "Like the adventure in Iraq more than a century later, [the Mexican American War] was a war of choice, not of necessity, a war of aggression that expanded the size of the United States by nearly one quarter and reduced that of Mexico by half." (New York Review of Books, Feb. 7, 2013).
    4. The war was one of the most unpopular wars in U.S. history and contributed to the growing problems between pro- and anti-slavery forces in the United State.
    5. The consequences of the Mexican-American War for the U.S. were both progressive and regressive:
      • Progressive - We acquired a colony that added 1 million acres to U.S. territory, brought rich natural resources into the treasury, and provided access to the Pacific trade routes.
      • Regressive - More than 16,000 Americans died; we spent between $75 - $100 million fighting the war; and the conquest set a pattern for a foreign policy of racial antagonism and violence between the U.S. and Mexico that continues to this day.
    6. The consequences of the war on Mexico were tragic.
      • Mexico lost half of its land.
      • Mexican economics and politics were so disrupted that the nation would struggle for decades to overcome their losses.
      • The Mexican population suffered severe psychological damage and their national dignity and honor were shattered
    7. The consequences for Mexicans living in the new boundaries of the United States were even worse.
      • They became alienated from the dominant, Anglo European society.
      • They were politically unempowered.
      • They became the target of racist violence because whites believed Mexicans posed a threat to the economy of the southwest.
      • They were dispossessed of their land and subsequently went from being landowners to laborers.
    8. The Mexican American War is often ignored or mythologized in U.S. History. Historian Brian DeLay in The Mexican American War sheds light on this: " ... the Mexican American War ... does not fit well with our idea of what American history is all about. We like to structure our history around important wars - the Revolutionary War, the Civil war, World War II - and in each of these cases, we remember these wars as conflicts where we were attacked by an aggressor. And this aggressor had particular designs on things central to who we are - our liberties, our fundamental freedoms - but through enormous sacrifices, we overcame the odds and drove back this threat. And the Mexican War does not fit this pattern."
    9. For Sam Haynes, the author of a biography on President Polk, the war is even more significant: "The Mexican American War represents a fundamental moral dilemma for the United States. Is the U.S. going to be a good nation or is it going to become a great nation? Is it going to become a nation that will protect the sovereignty of neighboring nation states, or a nation that will aggressively pursue its own self interests?" ( James K. Polk and the Expansionist Impulse.)

    FAQs

    What was manifest destiny answers? ›

    Manifest Destiny, a phrase coined in 1845, is the idea that the United States is destined—by God, its advocates believed—to expand its dominion and spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent.

    What 3 things did Mexico agree to in the treaty? ›

    The treaty added an additional 525,000 square miles to United States territory, including the land that makes up all or parts of present-day Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Mexico also gave up all claims to Texas and recognized the Rio Grande as America's southern boundary.

    Did Mexico almost win Mexican-American War? ›

    The U.S. Army, under Major General Winfield Scott, invaded the Mexican heartland and captured the capital, Mexico City, in September 1847. Although Mexico was defeated on the battlefield, negotiating peace was a politically fraught issue.

    How was the Mexican-American War a result of manifest destiny? ›

    By the end of the war, Mexico would lose almost half its territory to the U.S., including lands from Texas to California. The war was a key event in American History as it fulfilled its 'manifest destiny', encompassing land from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

    What are 2 examples of Manifest Destiny? ›

    Before the American Civil War the idea of Manifest Destiny was used to validate continental acquisitions in the Oregon Country, Texas, New Mexico, and California. Later it was used to justify the purchase of Alaska and annexation of Hawaii.

    What were 3 reasons for Manifest Destiny? ›

    There were three basic tenets to the concept: The special virtues of the American people and their institutions. The mission of the United States to redeem and remake the West in the image of the agrarian East. An irresistible destiny to accomplish this essential duty.

    What did the US promise Mexico? ›

    The U.S. government paid Mexico $15 million "in consideration of the extension acquired by the boundaries of the United States" and agreed to pay American citizens debts owed to them by the Mexican government.

    What did the US want from Mexico? ›

    Polk wanted to lay claim to California, New Mexico, and land near the disputed southern border of Texas. Mexico, however, was not so eager to let go of these territories. Polk started out by trying to buy the land. He sent an American diplomat, John Slidell, to Mexico City to offer $30 million for it.

    Why did Mexico give land to the US? ›

    Santa Anna refused to sell a large portion of Mexico, but he needed money to fund an army to put down ongoing rebellions, so on December 30, 1853 he and Gadsden signed a treaty stipulating that the United States would pay $15 million for 45,000 square miles south of the New Mexico territory and assume private American ...

    Why did Mexico lose against USA? ›

    How did once-dominant Mexico lose the Mexican-American War? Mexico was essentially broke. The country was racked by financial instability as the war began in 1846. America's blockade of Mexican ports worsened an already difficult situation, as Mexico couldn't import and export goods, or levy taxes on imports.

    How did the United States defeat Mexico so easily? ›

    Better Resources. The American government committed plenty of cash to the war effort. The soldiers had good guns and uniforms, enough food, high-quality artillery and horses and just about everything else they needed. The Mexicans, on the other hand, were totally broke during the entire war.

    How many times did Mexico lose to USA? ›

    The USA has been victorious on 23 occasions, with their last win coming in November 2021, a 2-0 victory on the day.

    Was the Mexican War justified for Manifest Destiny? ›

    The United States was justified in going to war with Mexico because of manifest destiny, border distributes, and annexation of Texas. One reason the Mexican War was justified was because of manifest destiny.

    What was Manifest Destiny in the Mexican War? ›

    What did the Mexican-American War have to do with Manifest Destiny? The concept of Manifest Destiny held that the United States had the providential right to expand to the Pacific Ocean. In 1845 the U.S. annexed the Republic of Texas, which had won de facto independence from Mexico in the Texas Revolution (1835–36).

    How did the Mexican-American War impact westward expansion? ›

    The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed February 2, 1848, ceded Texas, New Mexico, and California to the US, completing American claims to land all the way across the continent. In return, the US assumed all monetary claims of US citizens against the Mexican government and paid Mexico $15 million.

    What was a main outcome of the Mexican-American War? ›

    The Mexican-American War was formally concluded by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The United States received the disputed Texan territory, as well as New Mexico territory and California. The Mexican government was paid $15 million — the same sum issued to France for the Louisiana Territory.

    Does the Manifest Destiny still exist today? ›

    It can not be tied to a date, event or even a specific period of time. Manifest Destiny existed and still exists as the philosophy that embraces American history as a whole. Manifest Destiny is an intangible ideology that created American history.

    Why is Manifest Destiny a woman? ›

    This allegorical depiction of "Manifest Destiny" was painted by John Gast in 1872. In it a female spirit, related to the figure of Liberty, leads a march of pioneers and technological progress ever westward. In one hand she holds a "school book," representing enlightenment; with the other she spools out telegraph wire.

    Why was Manifest Destiny not justified? ›

    Albert Gallatin opposed "Manifest Destiny" because he believed it conflicted with the idea of democracy. Many who supported the movement insisted that Americans possessed hereditary superiority. According to Gallatin, democracy is founded on the principle that no man is born with the right of governing another man.

    Why did Manifest Destiny stop? ›

    Yet the dispute over the status of the new western territories regarding slavery disrupted the American political system by reviving arguments that shattered fragile compromises and inflamed sectional discord. In fact, those disputes brought the era of Manifest Destiny to an abrupt close.

    How did Manifest Destiny affect the economy? ›

    Growth in U.S. economy increased demand for (and value of) farmland, ranches, and furs; the cotton gin increased the area in which cotton could be grown profitably; the discovery of gold in California attracted 80,000 people in1849.

    Why did Mexico want US settlers? ›

    Feeling threatened by the native groups, and worried that the United States would try to take Texas, the Mexican government moved to enact policies to move more settlers into the area to help implement control over the region. The Mexican government worked with empresarios, who operated as land agents in Texas.

    Did the US have a good reason to go to war with Mexico? ›

    The United States was justified in going to war because Mexico had shed American blood on American soil, Texas (a land that many Mexicans still considered theirs) was an independent republic and had the right to govern itself, and Texas was trying to become part of the United States, which means that the United States ...

    Did the US buy land from Mexico? ›

    Mexico ceded nearly all the territory now included in the U.S. states of New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Texas, and western Colorado for $15 million and U.S. assumption of its citizens' claims against Mexico. Read more about the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

    What does the US depend on Mexico for? ›

    Among Mexico's major exports are machinery and transport equipment, steel, electrical equipment, chemicals, food products, and petroleum and petroleum products. About four-fifths of Mexico's petroleum is exported to the United States, which relies heavily on Mexico as one of its principal sources of oil.

    How does the US benefit from Mexico? ›

    U.S. imports of services from Mexico were an estimated $29.8 billion in 2019, 6.8% ($1.9 billion) more than 2018, and 92.0% greater than 2009 levels. It was up roughly 301% from 1993 (pre-NAFTA). Leading services imports from Mexico to the U.S. were in the travel, transport, and technical and other services sectors.

    What pushed Mexicans to America? ›

    People in the US tend to attribute Mexican immigration (and Central American migration, often through Mexico to the US) to economic factors, focusing on the push factor of lack of economic opportunity, or on the pull factor of lax or ineffective border control policies.

    Why can't Americans buy land in Mexico? ›

    Myth #1: Foreigners Can't Buy Property in Mexico

    It's perfectly legal. Outside the restricted zones—50 kilometers (about 31 miles) from shorelines and 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) from international borders—foreigners can hold direct deed to property with the same rights and responsibilities as Mexican nationals.

    Why did the Mexicans leave to America? ›

    Economic inequality, rural poverty, significantly lower wages, and better opportunities have also played a role throughout the 20th century as factors pulling Mexicans to migrate to the US.

    Why did Mexico lose so much land? ›

    A border skirmish along the Rio Grande that started off the fighting was followed by a series of U.S. victories. When the dust cleared, Mexico had lost about one-third of its territory, including nearly all of present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

    How many wins does Mexico have against us? ›

    Mexico leads the series 36–16–22, with almost double the goals of the U.S. (144–86).

    What is Mexico's biggest loss? ›

    Mexico national football team
    FIFA ranking
    Biggest defeat
    England 8–0 Mexico (London, England; 10 May 1961)
    World Cup
    Appearances17 (first in 1930)
    31 more rows

    Does a zero USA Mexico? ›

    The phrase 'dos a cero' refers to the score of 2-0 in soccer when translated from Spanish. Soon after that day, the phrase became famous for the times it repeated in their matches. From 2002 to 2014, the USA defeated Mexico 2-0 at Columbus, Ohio, in every World Cup qualifying match.

    What states did the US win from Mexico? ›

    Under the terms of the treaty negotiated by Trist, Mexico ceded to the United States Upper California and New Mexico. This was known as the Mexican Cession and included present-day Arizona and New Mexico and parts of Utah, Nevada, and Colorado (see Article V of the treaty).

    What was Manifest Destiny quizlet? ›

    Manifest Destiny is the belief that Americans had the right, or even the duty, to expand westward across the North American continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This would spread the glorious institutions of civilization and democracy to the barbaric Native Americans.

    What is Manifest Destiny 8th grade? ›

    The idea that the United States would extend from “sea to shining sea” is known as Manifest Destiny. A newspaperman named John O'Sullivan first used this phrase in 1845, but many Americans had the idea long before O'Sullivan wrote his newspaper article.

    What is Manifest Destiny and what did it cause? ›

    U.S. President Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase in 1803 had doubled the size of the country, sparking people's desire to move west. Spreading settlements along the country's borders caused friction with others. The intervention of the U.S. government often resulted in the annexation of more territory.

    What caused Manifest Destiny quizlet? ›

    What are some social reasons for Manifest Destiny? -Escape from religious persecution (Mormons). -Belief that all people should own a plot of land to keep the country free. -People wanted to find new ways of life.

    Why is Manifest Destiny important? ›

    The ideology of Manifest Destiny inspired a variety of measures designed to remove or destroy the native population. US President James K. Polk (1845-1849) is the leader most associated with Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny inflamed sectional tensions over slavery, which ultimately led to the Civil War.

    What was a cause of the Mexican-American War? ›

    The immediate cause of the Mexican-American War was a disputed boundary between the United States and Texas on the Nueces Strip. Mexico did not recognize Texas as legitimate American territory and Texas admission to the United States antagonized Mexican officials and citizens.

    What was the biggest issue during Manifest Destiny? ›

    At the heart of manifest destiny was the pervasive belief in American cultural and racial superiority. Native Americans had long been perceived as inferior, and efforts to "civilize" them had been widespread since the days of John Smith and Miles Standish.

    Videos

    1. What Manifest Destiny? Mexico is OP In Victoria 2 GFM | Ep.1
    (Aldrahill)
    2. Mexican American War - Manifest Destiny Choose Your Own Adventure
    (Ryan Canton)
    3. 1848: Manifest Destiny and the Mexican American War
    (National Association of Scholars)
    4. What Was the Mexican-American War? | History
    (HISTORY)
    5. Making Mexico UTTERLY BROKEN In Victoria 3
    (Quarbit Gaming)
    6. What Manifest Destiny? Mexico is OP In Victoria 2 GFM | Ep.2
    (Aldrahill)
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