Mexican- American War: Part 1

Mexican War Books

A Few Print Books Accumulated for This Project

As one of the more formative events in the establishment of the United States as one of the world’s great powers, it is strange that the Mexican- American War has been so willingly forgotten. Sandwiched as it was between America’s two Wars of Independence (the American Revolution and the War of 1812) and the American Civil War, the Mexican war’s significance is little considered on its own. It is little considered at all. A Military History of the United States course I completed spent remarkably little time on the subject. I spent more time reading about the war in one of my Spanish Language classes. Granted, I have lived my life in the East and have only visited the states involved in the war. Had I lived there I may have been exposed to more of the history.

My limited education regarding the Mexican- American War has run along the following two lines of thought. First, the Mexican- American War (and the annexation of Texas) is considered largely as a catalyst for the Civil War. Slavery, more the possibility of slavery expanding into new territories the United States might acquire by annexing Texas or by defeating Mexico contributed to increasing friction between Northern and Southern states. With the United States victory over Mexico that friction steadily gained intensity making the Civil War inevitable. Second, the Mexican- American War was simply unjust. America politicians (particularly James K. Polk) manipulated events to facilitate hostilities against a weak neighbor in order to satisfy its expansionist desires. These two lines of thought are often woven together.

I find both lines of thought wanting. Better, I have questions regarding each and certainly question many aspects their blending. Historical facts are facts indeed and must be recognized. Regional frictions regarding slavery did intensify after the war. But I reject the idea that one event renders a future event inevitable. Additionally, I believe that viewing the Mexican- American War only as its outcome contributed to the American Civil War leads to discounting of the former’s overall significance to U.S. history and to the history of the North American continent. I also believe that viewing the war as an example of unjust empire building on the part of the United States removes agency from all other involved parties. Mexico, Texas, European states, and Native nations all played roles in the lead-up to the war. Blending the two lines of thought sounds a lot like a modern power-centric grand narrative.

So, I want to learn more about the Mexican- American War. I want to learn about the motives and events that contributed to hostilities. I want to know more about the people involved, the ideas involved, and the consequences of the war’s outcome for all involved. I first want to understand the Mexican- American War for itself and then to subsequent events. I may find the prominent lines of thought regarding the war are accurate. I may not. I have collected quite a few books (print and electronic) and identified other material that should contribute to my understanding the war. Some directly, some indirectly. As I learn I will write. An education in progress. If I stumble across an interesting character, I may write a short biography. I will re-blog posts I find that are related to the subject. I will post my thoughts about what I learn and encourage recommendations and comments. I hope you follow along.

  15 comments for “Mexican- American War: Part 1

  1. February 17, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Just within the past month, I was having a discussion with a far-right thinking person about American History. Specifically, we were discussing the current rage over, the wall. Not being a history major, I had to rely upon my computer to point out the map of North America, the years 1830 & 1840 depicting US and Mexican claims. ( I learned I was quite close to correct in my map awareness) There was no arguing between us, just some education for both of us. From my counterpoint person, he remained firm in his support of the wall and no multi-cultural United States. I look forward to following the History lesson you will write on. I beat you by ten years in earning my BS at age 42, in Human Services from what was New Hampshire College, now Southern New Hampshire University. I feel a later in life education is appreciated so much more. I continue to take a class here and there, just to learn anew. From the halls of Montezuma, Semper Fi

    Liked by 4 people

    • February 18, 2019 at 6:47 pm

      Thank you. I love discourse with people with whom I disagree. It’s always an education. Returning to school late in life was a positive experience. Age was definitely a benefit.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. February 18, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Reblogged this on Alessandria today @ Pier Carlo Lava.

    Like

  3. February 18, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    It’s true what you say, this is a conflict that is often skipped over! I will be very interested to hear how your studies come along, and what books you would recommend. Because I must confess I know very little about this war!

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 18, 2019 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks M.B. I chose to start with “So Far From God” by John SD Eisenhower; simultaneously, the Diplomatic Correspondence of the Republic of Texas (GooglePlay- free!) both interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. February 18, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Excellent post, looking foreword to more.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. February 19, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Had Mexico accepted Polk’s offer through Sliddell, the war could have been avoided. $25 million for California rather than the $15 million given in the treaty for all the territory ceded.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 23, 2019 at 10:22 am

      Very true. The lead-up to this war is proving to be quite complicated, many interesting decisions were made. Thank you.

      Like

  6. February 24, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    I have lived in the desert Southwest or California for more than 30 years. I learned Spanish 40 years and traveled in Latin America several times. We’re (Americans) woefully uninformed of the complex history of the War, and the interplay of the colonial Spanish system that are still at the root of everything.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. March 18, 2019 at 2:49 am

    I’ve follow blogs sparingly these days–bery sparingly–but that got me to hit the Follow button. I’ll look forward to seeing what you can tell us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 18, 2019 at 6:43 am

      Thank you for following. Thank you for reading. Please continue to comment as I post. I am finding that the Mexican- American War is a complicated subject and that thinking it through will require multiple articles. I hope you will find them compelling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 18, 2019 at 7:13 am

        Oops. Make that “very,” not “bery.” And definitely not “beery.”

        Liked by 1 person

  8. KD
    April 9, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    I look forward to reading more about how your study progresses. This is always an exciting topic for my students when we cover it. We start with the concept of Manifest Destiny and move on to expansion. We also look at the war when covering conservative-liberal battles in Mexico.

    Liked by 1 person

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