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WAR! Huh? Yeah.
It’s the 175 anniversary of the only official war with Mexico. Let’s dive into the mess of the 1840s and how many presidents were involved. Did I mention Texas is in the middle?
The United States of America formally declared war against Mexico on this date, May 13, 1846. The fighting had officially begun a few weeks prior. However, back then, as a country, we followed the process of the Constitution that only Congress could officially throw us into War. Even though we had already begun shooting and stuff, we circled back to make sure we checked some essential boxes.
The official branding of this War was called the Mexican-American War. In Mexico, it was called Intervención Estadounidense en México, which roughly translates to "What the heck are you doing?" But the reality of why we fought this war is simple.
In the 1844 presidential election, the eventual winner, James Polk, ran on expanding the United States. He told everyone he was down for it to happen either peacefully or through force. His predecessor, John Tyler, also was down with expansion, particularly annexing Texas, which had declared its independence in 1836 and hasn’t shut up about it since.
Expansion came with drawbacks. America was sprinting towards another war, this time against each other, and over the issue of slavery. New land meant new opportunities. To some, those opportunities meant we needed to own people of color to fully experience those opportunities. Fortunately, there were quite a few people who disagreed. Texas, ironically, wanted to be annexed by the United States, and Tyler signed the paperwork before exiting the White House and landing on the lower tier of the DPPR.
With Texas in hand in 1845, Polk looked to further the cause of Manifest Destiny, which stated that the God of Israel determined that white Americans were the only people allowed to own all the land they wanted. One thing I love about the Lord is how specific He is with His directives.
Apparently having not connected with God on this new development, Mexico was keen on drawing the lines of their border further out and thus protecting their territories, including most of the Mountain West and Pac -12 conferences. However, gaining these territories was an American priority since Andrew Jackson. Jacksonian Democrat Polk was determined to deliver.
So here's what happened. Polk sent Zachary Taylor, yes, that Zachary Taylor down to Texas. He also sent diplomats to Mexico to negotiate a sale. Mexico didn’t want to sell, and they felt like Taylor's army was invading, so they attacked.
Polk then had ample evidence to present to Congress to declare war, which they did. Some Whigs, like a dude named Abraham Lincoln, was all like, "Hey, you basically pulled a stunt to drive us into war." And Polk was all like, "whatever."
War raged for two years. In the end, the United States won, capturing California, Nevada, Arizona, and a piece of land they named New Mexico, just to rub it in.
It’s the 175 anniversary of a war no one talks about but played a huge role in our eventual descent into Civil War. Two future presidents (Taylor and Pierce) fought in this war. Jefferson Davis fought in this war. Grant, Sherman, McClellan, Meade, Lee, Jackson, Bragg all fought in this war.
We may have achieved God’s directive we just did it at incredible costs.
What do you know about the war on Mexico? Better than the war on drugs that came through Mexico am I right?