The Mexican War
The Mexican War
In 1844, Democrat James K. Polk, former governor of Tennessee, was elected president on the basis of his campaign promise to annex Texas. Henry Clay and James Birney, Polk’s opponents, ignored the issue of Texas in their campaigns. Polk won by a narrow margin of popular votes.
The admission of Texas as a state in 1845 proved that Congress had been right to fear a Mexican reprisal; Mexico, which still insisted that Texas was a Mexican state, received the annexation as a declaration of war. There was also a disagreement over the location of Texas’ southwestern border, with Mexico drawing the line at the Rio Nueces and the Texas government drawing it much further west at the Rio Grande. The U.S. government inherited this border dispute when it granted Texas statehood.
Hoping to avoid an all-out war with Mexico, Polk offered the Mexican government $30 million for both Texas and California, assuming that the border would be drawn at the Rio Grande. Mexico underwent a change of regime in December 1845, and U.S. envoy John Slidell soon discovered that the new president, Mariano Paredes, would not agree to the sale.
On April 24, 1846, Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande and attacked General Zachary Taylor’s troops. By May 9, the Americans had driven the Mexicans back across the river. When the news arrived in Washington, Congress officially declared war on Mexico.
Fighting continued until 1847. General Winfield Scott and his troops eventually ended the war by laying siege to Mexico City. The Mexicans were forced to surrender on September 14. The following February, the two sides signed the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which was highly favorable to the United States—much better, in fact, than Polk’s original offer of $30 million for Texas and California.
The Gadsden Purchase
Secretary of War Jefferson Davis suggested to Mexican ambassador James Gadsden that Gadsden offer Mexico $10 million for a long, narrow piece of land between Texas and California, south of the Gila River. In need of cash after losing the war, Mexico snatched at the offer. On December 30, 1853, the Gadsden Purchase added one more piece to the giant jigsaw puzzle of the United States. Today this land is part of the states of New Mexico and Arizona.
Practice questions for these concepts can be found at:
Today on Education.com
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- First Grade Sight Words List