Essay on Mexican-AmericanWar

Submitted By griffink3
Words: 1578
Pages: 7

In May of 1846, the war that would later prove critical in defining the future boundaries of our nation had just broken out. The war centered on the annexation territory of Texas, which inhabits a massive area in the middle of the continent. Texas was an independent nation with a precarious future due to the fact that it had just obtained its independence on shaky premises from the southern neighbor of the US, Mexico. In the early 19th century, Mexico began encouraging Americans to settle in what became eastern Texas in the hope that they would serve as a buffer against the chaos and violence that the Native Americans represented. But these American settlers, being from the South, brought their slaves with them to more efficiently reap the benefits of the fertile Texan land. This posed a problem as Mexico closed further immigration and forbade the introduction of more slaves in 1830, having already emancipated all of slaves in the nation. Mexico proved that it was incapable of stemming the flow of settlers who brought an increasing number of slaves. Conflict between the distant settlement and the Mexican government ensued, and the Texans gained their independence in 1836 following a violent revolution. Many believed that Mexico would once again attempt to subjugate the newly independent nation, and the Texans thought it imperative to seek the protection of the powerful United States, which was also supported by their poor self-management. This sparked furious debate within the United States as many abolitionists and opponents of slavery believed that proponents of slavery were pushing for the acquisition of Texas in order to extend the feared “slave power”. The US later engaged in war with Mexico to acquire Texas in 1846, but there were numerous factors that contributed to the nation’s decision to fight. Although southern desire to expand slavery contributed to the outbreak of war to a certain extent, the idea of manifest destiny, the economic benefits Texas would provide, and the prevention of foreign influences also fueled the nation’s desire to annex Texas. The sectional differences between the North and South all boiled down to a single major difference; the North relied on manufacturing, while the South relied on slaves. By the mid-1800s, the North had achieved much more economic growth and there seemed to be an imbalance of power, which was later evident through southern secession. The South’s desire to expand slavery and thus, its own influence proves to be unsurprising, but for some time it had remained largely speculative. Many northerner and abolitionists adamantly believed that the south had incited the Texan revolution for prime positioning in the acquisition of the territory, including famed abolitionist Benjamin Lundy. In 1836, he published a pamphlet, The War in Texas, summarizing his opinions on the war. “The immediate cause and leading object of this contest originated in a settled design, among the slaveholders of this country, to wrest the large and valuable territory of Texas from the Mexican Republic, in order to re-establish the SYSTEM OF SLAVERY” (Doc B). Later this belief was confirmed by a surprising development. In 1844, John Calhoun and President John Tyler drew up a clandestine treaty to annex Texas and submitted it to Congress for ratification. Attached was a letter from Calhoun to British foreign minister Richard Pakenham, which defended slavery as a humane and beneficial institution. When the public became aware of the letter, many Northerners believed the letter was unquestionable proof of the South’s conspiracy to expand its influence. Although Tyler’s attempt failed, the election of 1844 proved fruitful for pro-annexation Americans. James K. Polk ran on a pro-annexation platform, and he won by a significant margin, carrying virtually the entire south with 170 electoral votes. As seen in Document E, which shows the results of the 1844 election, the south was in overwhelming support of…