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Old November 1st, 2012, 03:06 PM   #1

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The 1846-1848 Mexican-American War


What are your thoughts on it?

Ulysses Grant, then a young infantry lieutenant, had an interesting and sobering perspective, saying that: 'I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory'.

As a interesting piece of trivia, the last veteran of this War died in 1929, at the age of 98. His name was Owen Thomas Edgar; he was a Philadelphian who enlisted in the Navy in 1846.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 03:21 PM   #2
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Mr. US Grant was of course 100% tautologically right; period.

But at the risk of overstating the obvious fundamentally no expansionist war all along History (and certainly no contemporary imperialist or colonial war) has ever been based on "justice" by any standard.

And of course, attacking any more powerful "prey" (let say the contemporary British Canada) would only be non-sensical, plainly idiotic.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 03:25 PM   #3

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Grant also said:

Quote:
"The occupation, separation and annexation [of Texas] were, 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. Even if the annexation itself could be justified, the manner in which the subsequent war was forced upon Mexico cannot. The fact is, annexationists wanted more territory than they could possibly lay any claim to, as part of the new acquisition." - U. S. Grant

Source: U.S. Grant, "Causes of the Mexican War"
Other Americans agreed with him:

Quote:
Other citizens shared their legislators' concern, particularly those in the Northeast who saw the war as a ploy to extend slavery. The most celebrated was Henry David Thoreau, who refused to pay his $1 Massachusetts poll tax because he believed the war an immoral advancement of slavery.

Acerbic former President John Quincy Adams described the war as a southern expedition to find "bigger pens to cram with slaves." Regional writer James R. Lowell, author of the Biglow Papers, had his Yankee farmer Hosea Biglow scorn fighting to bring in new slave states. Charles Sumner, a noted abolitionist, also condemned the war from pacifist principles. Philadelphian Joseph Sill's diary records widespread public disapproval for the war by October 1847. The Massachusetts state legislature resolved the war an unconstitutional action because it was initiated by order of the President with the "triple object of extending slavery, of strengthening the slave power and of obtaining the control of the free states."


Source: Lincoln's Spot Resolutions
The resulting conflict over bringing those states into the Union as slave states would lead directly to the American Civil War.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 03:42 PM   #4
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I think the war is very interesting because the future legends of the Civil War gained experience. I tend to think first nowadays about the Irish unit of the Mexican army, made up entirely of deserters from the US army. I don't know how much truth there was in a movie made about that unit, but I find the story fascinating.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 04:04 PM   #5

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Since you asked for my thoughts about the war.
It was a pure, cut and dry land grab by the US to expand the nation.
There is no way the US could justify this move as anything else but
provoking a war to obtain land from a foreign nation.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 04:07 PM   #6

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My thoughts have always been plus and minuses, pro and cons. It seems US history of that period had worked itself out, in balancing sort of way. Regretfully, not without some acrimony here and there.

Anyways, an example of the pro and cons: I don't like the fact that we had made war against a sister republic, and equally worse, just for the expansion of slavery. However, my state never would have become a part of the union without it.

I don't like the fact that a big part of the bloody ACW was brought on partially to the Mexican-American war. However, it seems to have had a cleansing, sobering effect on the country afterwards. It seems to have transformed the country from an "us people of our states" mentality into a "we the people of the United States".
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Old November 1st, 2012, 04:48 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panthera tigris altaica View Post
However, my state never would have become a part of the union without it.
Don't forget the LA Purchase increased the size of the nation as well.

Quote:
However, it seems to have had a cleansing, sobering effect on the country afterwards. .
It is always high fives, clinking of champagne classes and speeches when
the 'good' guys win.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 06:00 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
Don't forget the LA Purchase increased the size of the nation as well.



It is always high fives, clinking of champagne classes and speeches when
the 'good' guys win.
And we can't forget how we obtained California.

" The acquisition of the vast province of California was a chief act in the drama of our war with Mexico, an act whose national and political import was fraught with profound significance. The Mexican war, far from being the result of a sudden movement, had been more or less distinctly anticipated, at least since the declaration of independence of Texas in 1836. California, toward which the United States had cast many a covetous glance since the days of the Lewis and Clark expedition, came early to be definitely considered on of the richest prizes to be won by the conflict with Mexico, as evidenced by Commodore Jones’ premature conquest of Monterey in 1842, by the Frémont expeditions, which were largely the result of Senator [Thomas] Benton’s interest in the West, and by General Kearny’s expedition to New Mexico and California."

It had long been an admitted principle in American politics that free states could be admitted only when accompanied by slave states.

How California Came to be Admitted.

by Rockwell D. Hunt, Ph. D

Slavery and the Admission of California into the Union
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Old November 1st, 2012, 08:12 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclefred View Post
And we can't forget how we obtained California.
..It had long been an admitted principle in American politics that free states could be admitted only when accompanied by slave states.
If that were true, after Texas joined to Union, five non-slave states
joined as opposed to no new slave states before the Civil War.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 04:14 AM   #10

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TJ is right, the Mexican War can be described as a land grab. Also, territorial expansion, the spilling of American Culture over boundaries that existed only in theory. etc. etc. From blunt to politically correct. However, is there a lesson underneath?

What did Spanish Florida, French Mississippi and Ohio country, Spanish Missouri, Texas, California, New Mexico and Oregon all have in common? Their respective governments considered the land sovereign territory but had no substantial population of their people living there. The mostly uninhabited land became a magnet, a sponge, etc. History tells us its incredibly difficult to maintain control over territory not peopled with one's population and culture.

Alternatively, what did Canada have in 1812 that made it difficult if not impossible for our army to successfully invade? A population loyal to Canada (at that time the Crown).

Anyway, just a couple of thoughts concerning the US western expansion.
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