Mexican–American War

Mexican–American War

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The Mexican–American War, also known as the First American Intervention, the Mexican War, or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas
Texas Annexation
In 1845, United States of America annexed the Republic of Texas and admitted it to the Union as the 28th state. The U.S. thus inherited Texas's border dispute with Mexico; this quickly led to the Mexican-American War, during which the U.S. captured additional territory , extending the nation's...

, which Mexico considered part of its territory despite the 1836 Texas Revolution
Texas Revolution
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836...

.

American forces invaded New Mexico
New Mexico Territory
thumb|right|240px|Proposed boundaries for State of New Mexico, 1850The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of...

, the California Republic
California Republic
The California Republic, also called the Bear Flag Republic, is the name used for a period of revolt against Mexico initially proclaimed by a handful of American settlers in Mexican California on June 14, 1846, in Sonoma. This was shortly before news of the Mexican–American War had reached the area...

, and parts of what is currently northern Mexico; meanwhile, the American Navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 conducted a blockade, and took control of several garrisons on the Pacific coast of Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

, but also further south in Baja California
Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...

. Another American army captured Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, and forced Mexico to agree to the cession of its northern territories to the U.S.

American territorial expansion to the Pacific coast was the goal of President James K. Polk
James K. Polk
James Knox Polk was the 11th President of the United States . Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He later lived in and represented Tennessee. A Democrat, Polk served as the 17th Speaker of the House of Representatives and the 12th Governor of Tennessee...

, the leader of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. However, the war was highly controversial in the U.S., with the Whig Party
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

 and anti-slavery elements strongly opposed. Heavy American casualties and high monetary cost were also criticized. The major consequence of the war was the forced Mexican Cession
Mexican Cession
The Mexican Cession of 1848 is a historical name in the United States for the region of the present day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S...

 of the territories of Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 and New Mexico
Santa Fe de Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of New Spain and later Mexico that existed from the late 16th century up through the mid-19th century. It was centered on the upper valley of the Rio Grande , in an area that included most of the present-day U.S. state of New Mexico...

 to the U.S. in exchange for $18 million. In addition, the United States forgave debt owed by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Mexico accepted the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 as its national border, and the loss of Texas. The political aftermath of the war raised the slavery issue in the U.S., leading to intense debates that pointed to civil war
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

; the Compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

 provided a brief respite.

In Mexico, terminology for the war include (primera) intervención estadounidense en México (United States' (First) Intervention in Mexico), invasión estadounidense de México (The United States' Invasion of Mexico), and guerra del 47 (The War of [18]47).

Background


Mexico was torn apart by bitter internal political battles that verged on civil war, even as it was united in refusing to recognize the independence of Texas. Mexico threatened war with the U.S. if it annexed Texas. Meanwhile President Polk's spirit of Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

 was focusing U.S. interest on westward expansion.

Designs on California


In 1842, the American minister in Mexico Waddy Thompson, Jr.
Waddy Thompson, Jr.
Waddy Thompson, Jr. was a U.S. Representative from South Carolina.Born in Pickensville , Ninety-Six District, South Carolina. Thompson moved to Greenville with his parents in his infancy...

 suggested Mexico might be willing to cede California to settle debts, saying: "As to Texas I regard it as of very little value compared with California, the richest, the most beautiful and the healthiest country in the world ... with the acquisition of Upper California we should have the same ascendency on the Pacific ... France and England both have had their eyes upon it." President John Tyler
John Tyler
John Tyler was the tenth President of the United States . A native of Virginia, Tyler served as a state legislator, governor, U.S. representative, and U.S. senator before being elected Vice President . He was the first to succeed to the office of President following the death of a predecessor...

's administration suggested a tripartite pact that would settle the Oregon boundary dispute
Oregon boundary dispute
The Oregon boundary dispute, or the Oregon Question, arose as a result of competing British and American claims to the Pacific Northwest of North America in the first half of the 19th century. Both the United Kingdom and the United States had territorial and commercial aspirations in the region...

 and provide for the cession of the port of San Francisco; Lord Aberdeen declined to participate but said Britain had no objection to U.S. territorial acquisition there.

For his part, the British minister in Mexico Richard Pakenham wrote in 1841 to Lord Palmerston urging "to establish an English population in the magnificent Territory of Upper California," saying that "no part of the World offering greater natural advantages for the establishment of an English colony ... by all means desirable ... that California, once ceasing to belong to Mexico, should not fall into the hands of any power but England ... daring and adventurous speculators in the United States have already turned their thoughts in this direction." But by the time the letter reached London, Sir Robert Peel
Robert Peel
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 December 1834 to 8 April 1835, and again from 30 August 1841 to 29 June 1846...

's Tory government with a Little England
Little Englander
Little Englander is an epithet applied in criticisms of English people who are regarded as "xenophobic" and/or overly nationalistic and are often accused of being "ignorant" and "boorish". It is applied to opponents of globalism; for instance those who are against membership of the European Union...

 policy had come to power and rejected the proposal as expensive and a potential source of conflict.

Republic of Texas



In 1810, Moses Austin
Moses Austin
Moses Austin played a large part in the development of the American lead industry and is the father of Stephen F. Austin, a leading American settler of Texas. He was the first to be allowed to gather Anglo Americans for settlement in Spanish Texas...

, a banker from Missouri, was granted a large tract of land in Texas, but died before he could bring his plan of recruiting American settlers for the land to fruition. His son, Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. He was known as the Father of Texas, led the second, but first legal and ultimately successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States. The capital of Texas, Austin in Travis County,...

, succeeded and brought over 300 families into Texas, which started the steady trend of American migration into the Texas frontier. Austin's colony was the most successful of several colonies authorized by the Mexican government. The Mexican government intended the anglo settlers to act as a buffer between the existing Mexican residents and the marauding Comanches, but the anglo colonists tended to settle where there was decent farmland
Farmland
Farmland generally refers to agricultural land, or land currently used for the purposes of farming. It may also refer to:*Arable land, land capable of cultivating crops*Farmland, Indiana, a town in the United States...

, rather than where they would have been an effective buffer. In 1829, as a result of the large influx of American immigrants, the Americans outnumbered Mexicans in the Texas territory. The Mexican government decided to bring back the property tax, increase tariffs on U.S. shipped goods, and prohibit slavery. The settlers rejected the demands, which led to Mexico closing Texas to additional immigration. However, Americans continued to flow into the Texas territory.

In 1834, General Antonio López De Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

 became the dictator of Mexico, abandoning the federal system. He decided to squash the semi-independence of Texas. Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. He was known as the Father of Texas, led the second, but first legal and ultimately successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States. The capital of Texas, Austin in Travis County,...

 called Texans to arms; they declared independence from Mexico in 1836, and after Santa Anna defeated the Texans at the Alamo (causing his army nearly three weeks' delay), he was defeated and captured at the Battle of San Jacinto
Battle of San Jacinto
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican forces in a fight that lasted just eighteen...

 and signed a treaty recognizing Texas independence. Texas consolidated its status as an independent republic, winning official recognition by Britain, France, and the U.S., which all advised Mexico not to try to reconquer the new nation. With the one star flag, they became known as the Lone Star Republic. Most Texans wanted to join the U.S. but the Americans debated the wisdom on annexation, which Whigs largely opposed. In 1845 Texas agreed to the offer of annexation by the U.S. Congress. Texas became the 28th state on December 29, 1845.

Origins of the war


The Mexican government had long warned the United States that annexation of Texas would mean war. Because the Mexican congress had refused to recognize Texan independence, Mexico saw Texas as a rebellious territory that would be retaken. Britain and France, which recognized the independence of Texas, repeatedly tried to dissuade Mexico from declaring war. When Texas joined the U.S. as a state in 1845, the Mexican government broke diplomatic relations with the U.S.

The Texan claim to the Rio Grande boundary had been omitted from the annexation resolution to help secure passage after the annexation treaty failed in the Senate. President Polk claimed the Rio Grande boundary, and this provoked a dispute with Mexico. In June 1845, Polk sent General Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

 to Texas, and by October 3,500 Americans were on the Nueces River
Nueces River
The Nueces River is a river in the U.S. state of Texas, approximately long. It drains a region in central and southern Texas southeastward into the Gulf of Mexico. It is the southernmost major river in Texas northeast of the Rio Grande...

, prepared to defend Texas from a Mexican invasion. Polk wanted to protect the border and also coveted the continent clear to the Pacific Ocean. Polk had instructed the Pacific naval squadron to seize the California ports if Mexico declared war while staying on good terms with the inhabitants. At the same time he wrote to Thomas Larkin
Thomas O. Larkin
Thomas Oliver Larkin was an early American emigrant to Alta California and a signer of the original California Constitution. He was the United States' first and only consul to the California Republic.-Early years:...

, the American consul in Monterey, disclaiming American ambitions but offering to support independence from Mexico or voluntary accession to the U.S., and warning that a British or French takeover would be opposed.

To end another war-scare (Fifty-Four Forty or Fight) with Britain over Oregon Country
Oregon Country
The Oregon Country was a predominantly American term referring to a disputed ownership region of the Pacific Northwest of North America. The region was occupied by British and French Canadian fur traders from before 1810, and American settlers from the mid-1830s, with its coastal areas north from...

, Polk signed the Oregon Treaty
Oregon Treaty
The Oregon Treaty is a treaty between the United Kingdom and the United States that was signed on June 15, 1846, in Washington, D.C. The treaty brought an end to the Oregon boundary dispute by settling competing American and British claims to the Oregon Country, which had been jointly occupied by...

 dividing the territory, angering northern Democrats who felt he was prioritizing Southern expansion over Northern expansion.

In the winter of 1845–46, the federally commissioned explorer John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
John Charles Frémont , was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, that era's penny press accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder...

 and a group of armed men appeared in California. After telling the Mexican governor and Larkin he was merely buying supplies on the way to Oregon, he instead entered the populated area of California and visited Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz County, California
Santa Cruz County is a county located on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California, on the California Central Coast. The county forms the northern coast of the Monterey Bay. . As of the 2010 U.S. Census, its population was 262,382. The county seat is Santa Cruz...

 and the Salinas Valley
Salinas Valley
The Salinas Valley lies south of San Francisco, California.The word "salina" is spanish for salt marsh, salt lake or salt pan.-Geography:The Salinas Valley runs approximately south-east from Salinas towards King City. The valley lends its name to the geologic province in which it's located, the...

, explaining he had been looking for a seaside home for his mother. The Mexican authorities became alarmed and ordered him to leave. Fremont responded by building a fort on Gavilan Peak
Fremont Peak (California)
Fremont Peak is a summit in the Gabilan Range, one of the mountain ranges paralleling California's central coast. The peak affords clear views of the Salinas Valley and Monterey Bay. It is located on Rocky Ridge, northeast of Salinas, California....

 and raising the American flag. Larkin sent word that his actions were counterproductive. Fremont left California in March but returned to California and assisted the Bear Flag Revolt in Sonoma, where many American immigrants stated that they were playing “the Texas game” and declared California’s independence from Mexico.

On November 10, 1845, Polk sent John Slidell
John Slidell
John Slidell was an American politician, lawyer and businessman. A native of New York, Slidell moved to Louisiana as a young man and became a staunch defender of southern rights as a U.S. Representative and Senator...

, a secret representative, to Mexico City with an offer of $25 million ($ today) for the Rio Grande border in Texas and Mexico’s provinces of Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 and Santa Fe de Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of New Spain and later Mexico that existed from the late 16th century up through the mid-19th century. It was centered on the upper valley of the Rio Grande , in an area that included most of the present-day U.S. state of New Mexico...

. U.S. expansionists wanted California to thwart British ambitions in the area and to gain a port on the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

. Polk authorized Slidell to forgive the $3 million ($ million today) owed to U.S. citizens for damages caused by the Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

 and pay another $25 to $30 million ($ million to $ million today) in exchange for the two territories.

Mexico was not inclined nor able to negotiate. In 1846 alone, the presidency changed hands four times, the war ministry six times, and the finance ministry sixteen times. However, Mexican public opinion and all political factions agreed that selling the territories to the United States would tarnish the national honor. Mexicans who opposed direct conflict with the United States, including President José Joaquín de Herrera, were viewed as traitors. Military opponents of de Herrera, supported by populist newspapers, considered Slidell's presence in Mexico City an insult. When de Herrera considered receiving Slidell to settle the problem of Texas annexation peacefully, he was accused of treason and deposed. After a more nationalistic government under General Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga came to power, it publicly reaffirmed Mexico's claim to Texas; Slidell, convinced that Mexico should be "chastised", returned to the U.S.

Conflict over the Nueces Strip


President Polk ordered General Taylor and his forces south to the Rio Grande, entering the territory that Mexicans disputed. Mexico laid claim to the Nueces River
Nueces River
The Nueces River is a river in the U.S. state of Texas, approximately long. It drains a region in central and southern Texas southeastward into the Gulf of Mexico. It is the southernmost major river in Texas northeast of the Rio Grande...

—about 150 mi (241.4 km) north of the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

—as its border with Texas; the U.S. claimed it was the Rio Grande, citing the 1836 Treaties of Velasco
Treaties of Velasco
The Treaties of Velasco were two documents signed at Velasco, Texas, on May 14, 1836, between Antonio López de Santa Anna of Mexico and the Republic of Texas, in the aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto ....

. Mexico, however, under the leadership of General Lorenzo Chlamon, rejected the treaties and refused to negotiate; it claimed all of Texas. Taylor ignored Mexican demands to withdraw to the Nueces. He constructed a makeshift fort (later known as Fort Brown/Fort Texas
Fort Brown
Fort Brown was a military post of the United States Army in Texas during the later half of 19th century and the early part of the 20th century.-Early years:...

) on the banks of the Rio Grande opposite the city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas
Matamoros, Tamaulipas
Matamoros, officially known as Heroica Matamoros, is a city in the northeastern part of Tamaulipas, in the country of Mexico. It is located on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, directly across the border from Brownsville, Texas, in the United States. Matamoros is the second largest and second...

. Mexican forces under General Mariano Arista
Mariano Arista
Mariano Arista was a noted veteran of many of Mexico's nineteenth century wars who served as president of Mexico from 15 January 1851 to 6 January 1853....

 prepared for war. On April 25, 1846, a 2,000-strong Mexican cavalry detachment attacked a 70-man U.S. patrol that had been sent into the contested territory north of the Rio Grande and south of the Nueces River. The Mexican cavalry routed the patrol, killing 16 U.S. soldiers in what later became known as the Thornton Affair
Thornton Affair
The Thornton Affair, also known as the Thornton Skirmish, Thornton's Defeat, or Rancho Carricitos was a battle between the military forces of the United States and Mexico. It served as the primary justification for U.S. President James K. Polk's declaration of war against Mexico in 1846,...

, after Captain Thornton, who was in command.

Declaration of war


Polk received word of the Thornton Affair, which, added to the Mexican government's rejection of Slidell, Polk believed, constituted a casus belli
Casus belli
is a Latin expression meaning the justification for acts of war. means "incident", "rupture" or indeed "case", while means bellic...

 (case for war). His message to Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 on May 11, 1846 stated that "Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon American soil." Congress approved the declaration of war on May 13, with southern Democrats in strong support. Sixty-seven Whigs voted against the war on a key slavery amendment, but on the final passage only 14 Whigs
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

 voted no, including Rep. John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

. Congress declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846 after only having a few hours to debate. Although President Paredes
Mariano Paredes
Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga was a conservative Mexican general and president. He took power in a coup d'etat in 1846. He was the president at the start of the Mexican-American War.-Early career:...

's issuance of a manifesto on May 23 is sometimes considered the declaration of war, Mexico officially declared war by Congress
Congress of Mexico
The Congress of the Union is the legislative branch of the Mexican government...

 on July 7.

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna


Once the U.S. declared war on Mexico, Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

 wrote to Mexico City saying he no longer had aspirations to the presidency, but would eagerly use his military experience to fight off the foreign invasion of Mexico as he had before. President Valentín Gómez Farías was desperate enough to accept the offer and allowed Santa Anna to return. Meanwhile, Santa Anna had secretly been dealing with representatives of the U.S., pledging that if he were allowed back in Mexico through the U.S. naval blockades, he would work to sell all contested territory to the United States at a reasonable price. Once back in Mexico at the head of an army, Santa Anna reneged on both agreements. Santa Anna declared himself president again and unsuccessfully tried to fight off the U.S. invasion.

Opposition to the war


In the U.S., increasingly divided by sectional
Sectionalism
-Defined:Sectionalism is loyalty to the interests of one's own region or section of the country, rather than to the country as a whole.-United States:...

 rivalry, the war was a partisan issue and an essential element in the origins of the American Civil War
Origins of the American Civil War
The main explanation for the origins of the American Civil War is slavery, especially Southern anger at the attempts by Northern antislavery political forces to block the expansion of slavery into the western territories...

. Most Whigs
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

 in the North and South opposed it; most Democrats supported it. Southern Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, animated by a popular belief in Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

, supported it in hopes of adding territory to the South and avoiding being outnumbered by the faster-growing North. John O'Sullivan, the editor of the "Democratic Review", coined this phrase in its context, stating that it must be "Our manifest destiny to overspread the continent alloted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions." Northern anti-slavery elements feared the rise of a Slave Power
Slave power
The Slave Power was a term used in the Northern United States to characterize the political power of the slaveholding class of the South....

; Whigs generally wanted to strengthen the economy with industrialization, not expand it with more land. Democrats wanted more land; northern Democrats were attracted by the possibilities in the far northwest. Joshua Giddings led a group of dissenters in Washington D.C. He called the war with Mexico "an aggressive, unholy, and unjust war," and voted against supplying soldiers and weapons. He said:
Fellow Whig Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 contested the causes for the war and demanded to know exactly where Thornton had been attacked and American blood shed. "Show me the spot," he demanded. Whig leader Robert Toombs
Robert Toombs
Robert Augustus Toombs was an American political leader, United States Senator from Georgia, 1st Secretary of State of the Confederacy, and a Confederate general in the Civil War.-Early life:...

 of Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 declared:
Northern abolitionists
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 attacked the war as an attempt by slave-owners—frequently referred to as "the Slave Power
Slave power
The Slave Power was a term used in the Northern United States to characterize the political power of the slaveholding class of the South....

"—to strengthen the grip of slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 and thus ensure their continued influence in the federal government. Acting on his convictions, Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

 was jailed for his refusal to pay taxes to support the war, and penned his famous essay, Civil Disobedience
Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)
Civil Disobedience is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849...

.

Former President John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

 also expressed his belief that the war was primarily an effort to expand slavery in a speech he gave before the House on May 25, 1836. In response to such concerns, Democratic Congressman David Wilmot
David Wilmot
David Wilmot was a U.S. political figure. He was a sponsor and eponym of the Wilmot Proviso which aimed to ban slavery in land gained from Mexico in the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848. Wilmot was a Democrat, a Free Soiler, and a Republican during his political career...

 introduced the Wilmot Proviso
Wilmot Proviso
The Wilmot Proviso, one of the major events leading to the Civil War, would have banned slavery in any territory to be acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War or in the future, including the area later known as the Mexican Cession, but which some proponents construed to also include the disputed...

, which aimed to prohibit slavery in new territory acquired from Mexico. Wilmot's proposal did not pass Congress, but it spurred further hostility between the factions.

Defense of the war


Besides alleging that the actions of Mexican military forces within the disputed boundary lands north of the Rio Grande constituted an attack on American soil, the war's advocates viewed the territories of New Mexico and California as only nominally Mexican possessions with very tenuous ties to Mexico, and as actually unsettled, ungoverned, and unprotected frontier lands, whose non-aboriginal population, where there was any at all, comprised a substantial—in places even a majority—American component, and which were feared to be under imminent threat of acquisition by America's rival on the continent, the British.

President Polk reprised these arguments in his Third Annual Message to Congress on December 7, 1847, in which he scrupulously detailed his administration's position on the origins of the conflict, the measures the U.S. had taken to avoid hostilities, and the justification for declaring war. He also elaborated upon the many outstanding financial claims by American citizens against Mexico and argued that, in view of the country's insolvency, the cession of some large portion of its northern territories was the only indemnity realistically available as compensation. This helped to rally Congressional Democrats to his side, ensuring passage of his war measures and bolstering support for the war in the U.S.

Opening hostilities


The Siege of Fort Texas
Siege of Fort Texas
The Siege of Fort Texas marked the beginning of active campaigning by the armies of the United States and Mexico during the Mexican-American War. The battle is sometimes called The Siege of Fort Brown, but this is not entirely accurate — the name Fort Brown was taken from Major Jacob Brown,...

 began on May 3. Mexican artillery at Matamoros opened fire on Fort Texas, which replied with its own guns. The bombardment continued for 160 hours and expanded as Mexican forces gradually surrounded the fort. Thirteen U.S. soldiers were injured during the bombardment, and two were killed. Among the dead was Jacob Brown, after whom the fort was later named.

On May 8, Zachary Taylor and 2,400 troops arrived to relieve the fort. However, Arista rushed north and intercepted him with a force of 3,400 at Palo Alto
Battle of Palo Alto
The Battle of Palo Alto was the first major battle of the Mexican-American War and was fought on May 8, 1846, on disputed ground five miles from the modern-day city of Brownsville, Texas...

. The Americans employed "flying artillery", the American term for horse artillery
Horse artillery
Horse artillery was a type of light, fast-moving and fast-firing artillery which provided highly mobile fire support to European and American armies from the 17th to the early 20th century...

, a type of mobile light artillery that was mounted on horse carriages with the entire crew riding horses into battle. It had a devastating effect on the Mexican army. The Mexicans replied with cavalry skirmishes and their own artillery. The U.S. flying artillery somewhat demoralized the Mexican side, and seeking terrain more to their advantage, the Mexicans retreated to the far side of a dry riverbed (resaca) during the night. It provided a natural fortification, but during the retreat, Mexican troops were scattered, making communication difficult. During the Battle of Resaca de la Palma
Battle of Resaca de la Palma
At the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, one of the early engagements of the Mexican-American War,United States General Zachary Taylor engaged the retreating forces of the Mexican Ejército del Norte under General Mariano Arista on May 9, 1846.-Background:During the night of May 8, following...

 the next day, the two sides engaged in fierce hand to hand combat
Hand to hand combat
Hand-to-hand combat is a lethal or nonlethal physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range that does not involve the use of firearms or other distance weapons...

. The U.S. cavalry managed to capture the Mexican artillery, causing the Mexican side to retreat—a retreat that turned into a rout. Fighting on unfamiliar terrain, his troops fleeing in retreat, Arista found it impossible to rally his forces. Mexican casualties were heavy, and the Mexicans were forced to abandon their artillery and baggage. Fort Brown inflicted additional casualties as the withdrawing troops passed by the fort. Many Mexican soldiers drowned trying to swim across the Rio Grande.

Conduct of the war


After the declaration of war, U.S. forces invaded Mexican territory on two main fronts. The U.S. War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 sent a U.S.
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 cavalry force under Stephen W. Kearny
Stephen W. Kearny
Stephen Watts Kearny surname also appears as Kearney in some historic sources; August 30, 1794 October 31, 1848), was one of the foremost antebellum frontier officers of the United States Army. He is remembered for his significant contributions in the Mexican-American War, especially the conquest...

 to invade western Mexico from Jefferson Barracks
Jefferson Barracks Military Post
The Jefferson Barracks Military Post, located on the Mississippi River at Lemay, Missouri, which is just south of St. Louis, Missouri,was, at first owned land by the DeGamache's then borrowed by military leaders, but after war, the land was not returned. It was an important and highly active U.S....

 and Fort Leavenworth
Fort Leavenworth
Fort Leavenworth is a United States Army facility located in Leavenworth County, Kansas, immediately north of the city of Leavenworth in the upper northeast portion of the state. It is the oldest active United States Army post west of Washington, D.C. and has been in operation for over 180 years...

, reinforced by a Pacific fleet under John D. Sloat
John D. Sloat
John Drake Sloat was a commodore in the United States Navy who, in 1846, claimed California for the United States.-Life:...

. This was done primarily because of concerns that Britain might also try to seize the area. Two more forces, one under John E. Wool
John E. Wool
John Ellis Wool was an officer in the United States Army during three consecutive U.S. wars: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War. By the time of the Mexican-American War, he was widely considered one of the most capable officers in the army and a superb organizer...

 and the other under Taylor, were ordered to occupy Mexico as far south as the city of Monterrey
Monterrey
Monterrey , is the capital city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León in the country of Mexico. The city is anchor to the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and is ranked as the ninth-largest city in the nation. Monterrey serves as a commercial center in the north of the country and is the...

.

California campaign


Although the U.S. declared war against Mexico on May 13, 1846, it took over a month (until the middle of June 1846) for definite word of war to get to California. American consul Thomas O. Larkin
Thomas O. Larkin
Thomas Oliver Larkin was an early American emigrant to Alta California and a signer of the original California Constitution. He was the United States' first and only consul to the California Republic.-Early years:...

, stationed in Monterey, on hearing rumors of war tried to maintain the peace between the States and the small Mexican military garrison commanded by José Castro. U.S. Army captain John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
John Charles Frémont , was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, that era's penny press accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder...

, with about 60 well-armed men, had entered California in December, 1845, and was slowly marching to Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

 when he received word that war between Mexico and the U.S. was imminent. So began his chapter of the war, the "Bear Flag Revolt."

On June 15, 1846, some thirty settlers, mostly American citizens, staged a revolt and seized the small Mexican garrison in Sonoma
Sonoma, California
Sonoma is a historically significant city in Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA, surrounding its historic town plaza, a remnant of the town's Mexican colonial past. It was the capital of the short-lived California Republic...

. They raised the "Bear Flag" of the California Republic
California Republic
The California Republic, also called the Bear Flag Republic, is the name used for a period of revolt against Mexico initially proclaimed by a handful of American settlers in Mexican California on June 14, 1846, in Sonoma. This was shortly before news of the Mexican–American War had reached the area...

 over Sonoma. The republic was in existence scarcely more than a week before the U.S. Army, led by Frémont, took over on June 23. The California state flag today is based on this original Bear Flag and still contains the words, "California Republic".

Commodore John Drake Sloat, upon hearing of imminent war and the revolt in Sonoma, ordered his naval and marine forces to occupy Monterey, the capital, on July 7 and raise the flag of the U.S.; San Francisco, then called Yerba Buena, was occupied on July 9. On July 15, Sloat transferred his command to Commodore Robert F. Stockton
Robert F. Stockton
Robert Field Stockton was a United States naval commodore, notable in the capture of California during the Mexican-American War. He was a naval innovator and an early advocate for a propeller-driven, steam-powered navy. Stockton was from a notable political family and also served as a U.S...

, a much more aggressive leader, who put Frémont's forces under his orders. On July 19, Frémont's "California Battalion" swelled to about 160 additional men from newly arrived settlers near Sacramento, and he entered Monterey
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

 in a joint operation with some of Stockton's sailors and marines. The word had been received: war was official. The U.S. forces easily took over the north of California; within days they controlled San Francisco, Sonoma, and the privately owned Sutter's Fort in Sacramento.

From Alta California (the present-day American state of California), Mexican General José Castro and Governor Pío Pico
Pío Pico
Pío de Jesús Pico was the last Governor of Alta California under Mexican rule.-Origins:...

 fled southward. When Stockton's forces, sailing southward to San Diego, stopped in San Pedro, he sent 50 U.S. Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 ashore; this force entered Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 unresisted on August 13, 1846. With the success of this so-called "Siege of Los Angeles
Siege of Los Angeles
The Siege of Los Angeles was a military occupation by the United States Marines of the Pueblo de Los Angeles during the Mexican-American war.-Occupation:...

", the nearly bloodless conquest of California seemed complete.

Stockton, however, left too small a force in Los Angeles, and the Californio
Californio
Californio is a term used to identify a Spanish-speaking Catholic people, regardless of race, born in California before 1848...

s, acting on their own, and without help from Mexico, led by José María Flores
José Mariá Flores
General José María Flores was an officer in the Mexican Army and was a member of la otra banda. He was appointed Governor and Comandante General pro tem of Alta California from 1846 to 1847.-Mexican-America War:...

, forced the American garrison to retreat, late in September. The rancho vaqueros who had banded together to defend their land fought as Californio lancers; they were a force the Americans
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 had not anticipated. More than three hundred American reinforcements, sent by Stockton and led by Captain William Mervine
William Mervine
William Mervine was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, whose career included service in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.-Biography:...

, U.S.N., were repulsed in the Battle of Dominguez Rancho
Battle of Dominguez Rancho
The Battle of Dominguez Rancho or The Battle of the Old Woman's Gun was a military engagement of the Mexican-American War...

, fought from October 7 through 9, 1846, near San Pedro. Fourteen American Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 were killed.

Meanwhile, General Stephen W. Kearny
Stephen W. Kearny
Stephen Watts Kearny surname also appears as Kearney in some historic sources; August 30, 1794 October 31, 1848), was one of the foremost antebellum frontier officers of the United States Army. He is remembered for his significant contributions in the Mexican-American War, especially the conquest...

, with a squadron of 139 dragoons that he had led on a grueling march across New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, and the Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which straddles part of the United States-Mexico border and covers large parts of the U.S. states of Arizona and California and the northwest Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is one of the largest and hottest...

, finally reached California on December 6, 1846, and fought in a small battle with Californio lancers at the Battle of San Pasqual
Battle of San Pasqual
The Battle of San Pasqual, also spelled San Pascual, was a military encounter that occurred during the Mexican-American War in what is now the San Pasqual Valley community of the city of San Diego, California. On December 6 and December 7, 1846, General Stephen W...

 near San Diego, California, where 22 of Kearny's troops were killed.

Kearny's command was bloodied and in poor condition but pushed on until they had to establish a defensive position on "Mule" Hill near present-day Escondido. The Californios besieged the dragoons for four days until Commodore Stockton's relief force arrived. The resupplied, combined American force marched north from San Diego on December 29 and entered the Los Angeles area on January 8, 1847, linking up with Frémont's men there. American forces totalling 607 soldiers and marines fought and defeated a Californio force of about 300 men under the command of Captain-general Flores in the decisive Battle of Rio San Gabriel
Battle of Rio San Gabriel
The Battle of Rio San Gabriel fought on January 8, 1847 was a decisive action of the California campaign of the Mexican-American War and occurred at a ford of the San Gabriel River, at what are today parts of the cities of Whittier, Pico Rivera and Montebello, about ten miles south-east of downtown...

. The next day, January 9, 1847, the Americans fought and won the Battle of La Mesa
Battle of La Mesa
The Battle of La Mesa of the Mexican-American War occurred on January 9, 1847, in present-day Vernon, California, the day after the Battle of Rio San Gabriel during the California Campaign.-Background:...

. On January 12, the last significant body of Californios surrendered to U.S. forces. That marked the end of armed resistance in California, and the Treaty of Cahuenga
Treaty of Cahuenga
The Treaty of Cahuenga, also called the "Capitulation of Cahuenga," ended the fighting of the Mexican-American War in Alta California in 1847. It was not a formal treaty between nations but an informal agreement between rival military forces in which the Californios gave up fighting...

 was signed the next day, on January 13, 1847.

Pacific Coast campaign


USS Independence assisted in the blockade of the Mexican Pacific coast, capturing the Mexican ship Correo and a launch on 16 May 1847. She supported the capture of Guaymas
Guaymas
Guaymas is a city and municipality located in the southwest part of the state of Sonora in northwestern Mexico. The city is located 117 km south of the state capital of Hermosillo, and 242 miles from the U.S. border, and is the principal port for the state. The municipality is located in the...

, Mexico, on 19 October 1847 and landed bluejackets and Marines to occupy Mazatlán, Mexico on 11 November 1847. After upper California was secure most of the Pacific Squadron proceeded down the California coast capturing all major Baja California
Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...

 cities and capturing or destroying nearly all Mexican vessels in the Gulf of California
Gulf of California
The Gulf of California is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland...

. Other ports, not on the peninsula, were taken as well. The objective of the Pacific Coast Campaign was to capture Mazatlan, a major supply base for Mexican forces. Numerous Mexican ships were also captured by this squadron with the USS Cyane given credit for 18 captures and numerous destroyed ships. Entering the Gulf of California, Independence, Congress and Cyane seized La Paz
La Paz, Baja California Sur
La Paz is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. The city had a 2010 census population of 215,178 persons, but its metropolitan population is somewhat larger because of surrounding towns like el Centenario, el Zacatal and San Pedro...

 captured and burned the small Mexican fleet at Guaymas
Guaymas
Guaymas is a city and municipality located in the southwest part of the state of Sonora in northwestern Mexico. The city is located 117 km south of the state capital of Hermosillo, and 242 miles from the U.S. border, and is the principal port for the state. The municipality is located in the...

. Within a month, they cleared the Gulf of hostile ships, destroying or capturing 30 vessels. Later on their sailors and marines captured the town of Mazatlan, Mexico, on 11 November 1847. A Mexican campaign under Manuel Pineda to retake the various captured ports resulted in several small clashes (Battle of Mulege
Battle of Mulege
The Battle of Mulegé was an American attack on Mulegé, Baja California Sur, during the Mexican-American War. On October 1, 1847, United States Marines and sailors fought with Mexican militia.-Background:...

, Battle of La Paz
Battle of La Paz
The Battle of La Paz was an engagement of the Pacific Coast Campaign during the Mexican-American War. The belligerents were United States Army troops against Mexican militia, commanded by Mexican Army officers...

, Battle of San José del Cabo
Battle of San José del Cabo
The Battle of San José del Cabo was a military engagement of the Mexican-American War which took place on two November days in 1847, after the fall of Mexico City.-Background:...

) and two sieges (Siege of La Paz
Siege of La Paz
The Siege of La Paz was a Mexican siege of their own city of La Paz in Baja California Sur. Mexican militia forces attempted to destroy the United States Army garrison, occupying the peninsular town...

, Siege of San José del Cabo
Siege of San José del Cabo
The Siege of San José del Cabo, from January to February 1848, was a prolonged battle of the Mexican-American War in which Mexican militia besieged a smaller force of American marines, sailors and Californio militia...

) in which the Pacific Squadron ships provided artillery support. U.S. garrisons remained in control of the ports and following reinforcement, Lt. Col. Henry S. Burton marched out, rescued captured Americans, captured Pineda and on March 31, defeated and dispersed remaining Mexican forces at the Skirmish of Todos Santos, unaware the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had been signed in February 1848. When the American garrisons were evacuated following the treaty, many Mexicans that had been supporting the American cause and had thought Lower California would also be annexed like Upper California, were evacuated with them to Monterey.

Northeastern Mexico


The defeats at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma caused political turmoil in Mexico, turmoil which Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

 used to revive his political career and return from self-imposed exile in Cuba in mid-August 1846. He promised the U.S. that if allowed to pass through the blockade, he would negotiate a peaceful conclusion to the war and sell the New Mexico and Alta California territories to the U.S. Once Santa Anna arrived in Mexico City, however, he reneged and offered his services to the Mexican government. Then, after being appointed commanding general, he reneged again and seized the presidency.

Led by Taylor, 2,300 U.S. troops crossed the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo) after some initial difficulties in obtaining river transport. His soldiers occupied the city of Matamoros
Matamoros, Tamaulipas
Matamoros, officially known as Heroica Matamoros, is a city in the northeastern part of Tamaulipas, in the country of Mexico. It is located on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, directly across the border from Brownsville, Texas, in the United States. Matamoros is the second largest and second...

, then Camargo
Camargo, Tamaulipas
Camargo is a municipality in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. It is located on the US border, across from Rio Grande City, Texas. It has an official population of 14,933 inhabitants and an international bridge. The municipal seat is Ciudad Camargo, with a population of 7,984...

 (where the soldiery suffered the first of many problems with disease) and then proceeded south and besieged the city of Monterrey
Monterrey
Monterrey , is the capital city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León in the country of Mexico. The city is anchor to the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and is ranked as the ninth-largest city in the nation. Monterrey serves as a commercial center in the north of the country and is the...

. The hard-fought Battle of Monterrey
Battle of Monterrey
In the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican-American War, General Pedro de Ampudia and the Mexican Army of the North was defeated by U.S...

 resulted in serious losses on both sides. The American light artillery was ineffective against the stone fortifications of the city. The Mexican forces were under General Pedro de Ampudia
Pedro de Ampudia
Pedro de Ampudia was born in Havana, Cuba and served Mexico as a Northern army officer for most of his life. He was also governor of the state of Nuevo León in 1846 and from 1853 to 1854....

 and repulsed Taylor's best infantry division at Fort Teneria. American soldiers, including many West Pointers, had never engaged in urban warfare before and they marched straight down the open streets, where they were annihilated by Mexican defenders well-hidden in Monterrey's thick adobe homes. Two days later, they changed their urban warfare tactics. Texan soldiers had fought in a Mexican city before and advised Taylor's generals that the Americans needed to "mouse hole" through the city's homes. In other words, they needed to punch holes in the side or roofs of the homes and fight hand to hand inside the structures. This method proved successful and Ampudia eventually surrendered.
Eventually, these actions drove and trapped Ampudia's men into the city's central plaza, where howitzer shelling forced Ampudia to negotiate. Taylor agreed to allow the Mexican Army to evacuate and to an eight-week armistice in return for the surrender of the city. Under pressure from Washington, Taylor broke the armistice and occupied the city of Saltillo, southwest of Monterrey. Santa Anna blamed the loss of Monterrey and Saltillo on Ampudia and demoted him to command a small artillery battalion. On February 22, 1847, Santa Anna personally marched north to fight Taylor with 20,000 men. Taylor, with 4,600 men, had entrenched at a mountain pass called Buena Vista. Santa Anna suffered desertions on the way north and arrived with 15,000 men in a tired state. He demanded and was refused surrender of the U.S. Army; he attacked the next morning. Santa Anna flanked the U.S. positions by sending his cavalry and some of his infantry up the steep terrain that made up one side of the pass, while a division of infantry attacked frontally along the road leading to Buena Vista. Furious fighting ensued, during which the U.S troops were nearly routed, but managed to cling to their entrenched position. The Mexicans had inflicted considerable losses but Santa Anna had gotten word of upheaval in Mexico City, so he withdrew that night, leaving Taylor in control of part of Northern Mexico. Polk distrusted Taylor, whom he felt had shown incompetence in the Battle of Monterrey by agreeing to the armistice, and may have considered him a political rival for the White House. Taylor later used the Battle of Buena Vista
Battle of Buena Vista
The Battle of Buena Vista , also known as the Battle of Angostura, saw the United States Army use artillery to repulse the much larger Mexican army in the Mexican-American War...

 as the centerpiece of his successful 1848 presidential campaign.

Northwestern Mexico


On March 1, 1847, Alexander W. Doniphan
Alexander William Doniphan
Alexander William Doniphan was a 19th-century American attorney, soldier and politician from Missouri who is best known today as the man who prevented the summary execution of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, Jr. at the close of the 1838 Mormon War in that state...

 occupied Chihuahua City. He found the inhabitants much less willing to accept the American conquest than the New Mexicans. The British consul John Potts did not want to let Doniphan search Governor Trias's mansion, and unsuccessfully asserted it was under British protection. American merchants in Chihuahua wanted the American force to stay in order to protect their business. Gilpin advocated a march on Mexico City and convinced a majority of officers, but Doniphan subverted this plan, then in late April Taylor ordered the First Missouri Mounted Volunteers to leave Chihuahua and join him at Saltillo. The American merchants either followed or returned to Santa Fe. Along the way, the townspeople of Parras
Parras
Parras de la Fuente is a city located in the southern part of the Mexican state of Coahuila. At the census of 2010, the population was 45,423. There are a large number of factories that produce denim, including a Dickies factory, and Parras is also a wine-making place...

 enlisted Doniphan's aid against an Indian raiding party that had taken children, horses, mules, and money.

The civilian population of northern Mexico offered little resistance to the American invasion possibly because the country had already been devastated by Comanche
Comanche
The Comanche are a Native American ethnic group whose historic range consisted of present-day eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. Historically, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers, with a typical Plains Indian...

 and Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

 Indian raids. Josiah Gregg
Josiah Gregg
Josiah Gregg was a merchant, explorer, naturalist, and author of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico regions. He is most famous for his book Commerce of the Prairies.-Early years:...

, who was with the American army in northern Mexico, said that “the whole country from New Mexico to the borders of Durango is almost entirely depopulated. The haciendas and ranchos have been mostly abandoned, and the people chiefly confined to the towns and cities.”

U.S. press and popular war enthusiasm


During the war inventions such as the telegraph created new means of communication that updated people with the latest news from the reporters, who were usually on the scene. With more than a decade’s experience reporting urban crime, the “penny press” realized the voracious need of the public to get the astounding war news. This was the first time in the American history when the accounts by journalists, instead of the opinions of politicians, caused great influence in shaping people’s minds and attitudes toward a war. News about the war always caused extraordinary popular excitement.

By getting constant reports from the battlefield, Americans became emotionally united as a community. In the spring of 1846, news about Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

's victory at Palo Alto brought up a large crowd that met in a cotton textile town of Lowell, Massachusetts. At Veracruz and Buena Vista, New York celebrated their twin victories in May 1847. Among fireworks and illuminations, they had a “grand procession” of about 400,000 people. Generals Taylor and Scott became heroes for their people and later became presidential candidates.

Desertion


The desertion rate was a major problem for the Mexican army, depleting forces on the eve of battle. Most of the soldiers were peasants who had a loyalty to their village and family, but not to the generals who conscripted them. Often hungry and ill, never well paid, under-equipped and only partially trained, the soldiers were held in contempt by their officers and had little reason to fight the Americans. Looking for their opportunity, many slipped away from camp to find their way back to their home village.

The desertion rate in the U.S. army was 8.3% (9,200 out of 111,000), compared to 12.7% during the War of 1812 and usual peacetime rates of about 14.8% per year. Many men deserted to join another U.S. unit and get a second enlistment bonus. While some deserted because of the miserable conditions in camp, it has been suggested that others used the army to get free transportation to California, where they deserted to join the gold rush. This, however, is unlikely as gold was only discovered in California on January 24, 1848, less than two weeks before the war concluded. By the time word reached the eastern U.S. that gold had been discovered, word also reached it that the war was over.

Several hundred deserters went over to the Mexican side; nearly all were recent immigrants from Europe with weak ties to the U.S., the most famous group being Saint Patrick's Battalion
Saint Patrick's Battalion
The Saint Patrick's Battalion , formed and led by Jon Riley, was a unit of 175 to several hundred immigrants and expatriates of European descent who fought as part of the Mexican Army against the United States in the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. Most of the battalion's members had...

, about half of whom were Catholics from Ireland. The Mexicans issued broadsides and leaflets enticing U.S. soldiers with promises of money, land bounties, and officers' commissions. Mexican guerrillas shadowed the U.S. Army and captured men who took unauthorized leave or fell out of the ranks. The guerrillas coerced these men to join the Mexican ranks. The generous promises proved illusory for most deserters, who risked being executed, if captured by U.S. forces. About 50 of the San Patricios were tried and hanged following their capture at Churubusco in August 1847.

Scott's Mexico City campaign




Landings and Siege of Vera Cruz


Rather than reinforce Taylor's army for a continued advance, President Polk sent a second army under General Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

, which was transported to the port of Veracruz
Veracruz, Veracruz
Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

 by sea, to begin an invasion of the Mexican heartland. On March 9, 1847, Scott performed the first major amphibious landing in U.S. history in preparation for the Siege of Veracruz
Siege of Veracruz
The Battle of Veracruz was a 20-day siege of the key Mexican beachhead seaport of Veracruz, during the Mexican-American War. Lasting from 9-29 March 1847, it began with the first large-scale amphibious assault conducted by United States military forces, and ended with the surrender and occupation...

. A group of 12,000 volunteer and regular soldiers successfully offloaded supplies, weapons, and horses near the walled city using specially designed landing craft. Included in the invading force were Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

, George Meade
George Meade
George Gordon Meade was a career United States Army officer and civil engineer involved in coastal construction, including several lighthouses. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War and Mexican-American War. During the American Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from...

, Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, James Longstreet
James Longstreet
James Longstreet was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his "Old War Horse." He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the...

, and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. The city was defended by Mexican General Juan Morales with 3,400 men. Mortars
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

 and naval guns under Commodore Matthew C. Perry were used to reduce the city walls and harass defenders. The city replied the best it could with its own artillery. The effect of the extended barrage destroyed the will of the Mexican side to fight against a numerically superior force, and they surrendered the city after 12 days under siege. U.S. troops suffered 80 casualties, while the Mexican side had around 180 killed and wounded, about half of whom were civilian. During the siege, the U.S. side began to fall victim to yellow fever
Yellow fever
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease. The virus is a 40 to 50 nm enveloped RNA virus with positive sense of the Flaviviridae family....

.

Advance on Puebla


Scott then marched westward toward Mexico City with 8,500 healthy troops, while Santa Anna set up a defensive position in a canyon around the main road at the halfway mark to Mexico City, near the hamlet of Cerro Gordo
Battle of Cerro Gordo
The Battle of Cerro Gordo, or Battle of Sierra Gordo, in the Mexican-American War saw Winfield Scott's United States troops flank and drive Santa Anna's larger Mexican army from a strong defensive position.-Battle:...

. Santa Anna had entrenched with 12,000 troops and artillery that were trained on the road, along which he expected Scott to appear. However, Scott had sent 2,600 mounted dragoons ahead, and the Mexican artillery prematurely fired on them and revealed their positions. Instead of taking the main road, Scott's troops trekked through the rough terrain to the north, setting up his artillery on the high ground and quietly flanking the Mexicans. Although by then aware of the positions of U.S. troops, Santa Anna and his troops were unprepared for the onslaught that followed. The Mexican army was routed. The U.S. Army suffered 400 casualties, while the Mexicans suffered over 1,000 casualties and 3,000 were taken prisoner. In August 1847, Captain Kirby Smith, of Scott's 3rd Infantry, reflected on the resistance of the Mexican army:

Pause at Puebla


In May, Scott pushed on to Puebla
Puebla, Puebla
The city and municipality of Puebla is the capital of the state of Puebla, and one of the five most important colonial cities in Mexico. Being a planned city, it is located to the east of Mexico City and west of Mexico's main port, Veracruz, on the main route between the two.The city was founded...

, the second largest city in Mexico. Because of the citizens' hostility to Santa Anna, the city capitulated without resistance on May 1. During the following months Scott gathered supplies and reinforcements at Puebla and sent back units whose enlistments had expired. Scott also made strong efforts to keep his troops disciplined and treat the Mexican people under occupation justly, so as to prevent a popular rising against his army.

Advance on Mexico City and its capture


With guerrillas harassing his line of communications back to Vera Cruz, Scott decided not to weaken his army to defend it but, leaving only a garrison at Puebla to protect the sick and injured recovering there, advanced on Mexico City on August 7, with his remaining force. The capital was laid open in a series of battles around the right flank of the city defenses, culminating in the Battle of Chapultepec
Battle of Chapultepec
The Battle of Chapultepec, in September 1847, was a United States victory over Mexican forces holding Chapultepec Castle west of Mexico City during the Mexican-American War.-Background:On September 13, 1847, in the costly Battle of Molino del Rey, U.S...

. With the subsequent storming of the city gates, the capital was occupied. Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

 became an American national hero after his victories in this campaign of the Mexican–American War, and later became military governor of occupied Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

.

Santa Anna's last campaign


In late September 1847, Santa Anna made one last attempt to defeat the Americans, by cutting them off from the coast. General Joaquín Rea
Joaquín Rea
Joaquín Rea Mexican general in the Mexican American War.Geneal Rea led guerrilla forces of the Light Corps in harassing American convoys on the National Road between Vera Cruz and Puebla from May 1847...

 began the Siege of Puebla
Siege of Puebla
The Siege of Puebla began the same day Mexico City fell to Winfield Scott and lasted for 28 days when a relief force was able to fight its way into the city and lift the siege.-Background:...

, soon joined by Santa Anna, but they failed to take it before the approach of a relief column from Vera Cruz under Brig. Gen. Joseph Lane
Joseph Lane
Joseph Lane was an American general during the Mexican-American War and a United States Senator from Oregon.-Early life:...

 prompted Santa Anna to stop him. Puebla was relieved by Gen. Lane October 12, 1847, following his defeat of Santa Anna at the Battle of Huamantla
Battle of Huamantla
The Battle of Huamantla was a U.S. victory late in the Mexican-American War that forced the Mexican Army to lift the Siege of Puebla.-Background:...

 October 9, 1847. The battle was Santa Anna's last. Following the defeat, the new Mexican government led by Manuel de la Peña y Peña asked Santa Anna to turn over command of the army to General José Joaquín de Herrera.

Anti guerrilla campaign


Following his capture and securing of the capital, General Scott sent about a quarter of his strength to secure his line of communications to Vera Cruz from the Light Corps and other Mexican guerilla forces that had been harassing it since May. He strengthened the garrison of Puebla, and by November established 750 man posts at Perote, Puente Nacional, Rio Frio, and San Juan
San Juan River (Veracruz)
-References:*Atlas of Mexico, 1975 .*The Prentice Hall American World Atlas, 1984.*Rand McNally, The New International Atlas, 1993....

 along the National Road and detailed an antiguerrilla brigade under Brig. Gen. Joseph Lane to carry the war to the Light Corps and other guerillas. He also ordered that convoys would travel with at least 1,300-man escorts. Despite some victories over General Joaquín Rea at Atlixco
Atlixco
Atlixco is a city and a municipality in the Mexican state of Puebla. It is located only 24 km south of the city of Puebla, yet it is 300 meters lower in altitude, at 1840 m. This drop in altitude causes a noticeable change in the weather of the city compared to the surrounding regions of the...

 (18 October 1847) and Izucar de Matamoros
Izúcar de Matamoros
Izúcar de Matamoros is a city and its surrounding municipality of the same name located in the southwestern part of the Mexican state of Puebla. The city serves as the municipal seat of the municipality. At the census of 2005 the city had a population of 41,042 inhabitants, while the municipality...

 (in November) by General Lane, guerrilla raids on the supply route continued into 1848 until the end of the war.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo



Outnumbered militarily and with many of its large cities occupied, Mexico could not defend itself and was also faced with internal divisions. It had little choice but to make peace on any terms. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

, signed on February 2, 1848, by American diplomat Nicholas Trist
Nicholas Trist
Nicholas Philip Trist was an American diplomat.Trist was born in Charlottesville, Virginia. He attended West Point and studied law under Thomas Jefferson, whose granddaughter he married. He was also private secretary to Andrew Jackson.Through political connections, Trist was appointed U.S...

 and Mexican plenipotentiary
Plenipotentiary
The word plenipotentiary has two meanings. As a noun, it refers to a person who has "full powers." In particular, the term commonly refers to a diplomat fully authorized to represent his government as a prerogative...

 representatives Luis G. Cuevas, Bernardo Couto, and Miguel Atristain, ended the war and gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, established the U.S.-Mexican border of the Rio Grande River, and ceded to the United States the present-day states of California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

, New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, most of Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 and Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, and parts of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, and Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

. In return, Mexico received US $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

18,250,000 ($ today)—less than half the amount the U.S. had attempted to offer Mexico for the land before the opening of hostilities—and the U.S. agreed to assume $3.25-million ($ today) in debts that the Mexican government owed to U.S. citizens.

The acquisition was a source of controversy then, especially among U.S. politicians who had opposed the war from the start. A leading antiwar U.S. newspaper, the Whig Intelligencer sardonically concluded that "We take nothing by conquest .... Thank God."
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

 introduced an amendment giving the U.S. most of northeastern Mexico
Northeastern Mexico
Northeastern Mexico, is a geographic region of Mexico, composed of the states of Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas. The Northeast is one of the wealthiest and most industrialized regions of Mexico; with Nuevo León having the highest GDP per capita among the Mexican states, closely followed by...

, which failed 44–11. It was supported by both senators from Texas (Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

 and Thomas Jefferson Rusk
Thomas Jefferson Rusk
Thomas Jefferson Rusk was an early political and military leader of the Republic of Texas, serving as its first Secretary of War as well as a general at the Battle of San Jacinto. He was later a U.S. politician and served as a Senator from Texas from 1846 until his suicide...

), Daniel S. Dickinson
Daniel S. Dickinson
Daniel Stevens Dickinson was a New York politician, most notable as a United States Senator from 1844 to 1851.-Biography:...

 of New York, Stephen A. Douglas
Stephen A. Douglas
Stephen Arnold Douglas was an American politician from the western state of Illinois, and was the Northern Democratic Party nominee for President in 1860. He lost to the Republican Party's candidate, Abraham Lincoln, whom he had defeated two years earlier in a Senate contest following a famed...

 of Illinois, Edward A. Hannegan
Edward A. Hannegan
Edward Allen Hannegan was a United States Representative and Senator from Indiana.-Early life and education:...

 of Indiana, and one each from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee. Most of the leaders of the Democratic party, Thomas Hart Benton
Thomas Hart Benton (senator)
Thomas Hart Benton , nicknamed "Old Bullion", was a U.S. Senator from Missouri and a staunch advocate of westward expansion of the United States. He served in the Senate from 1821 to 1851, becoming the first member of that body to serve five terms...

, John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

, Herschel V. Johnson, Lewis Cass
Lewis Cass
Lewis Cass was an American military officer and politician. During his long political career, Cass served as a governor of the Michigan Territory, an American ambassador, a U.S. Senator representing Michigan, and co-founder as well as first Masonic Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Michigan...

, James Murray Mason of Virginia, and Ambrose Hundley Sevier
Ambrose Hundley Sevier
Ambrose Hundley Sevier was a Democratic member of the United States Senate from Arkansas.Ambrose Hundley Sevier was born near Greeneville, Tennessee in Greene County, Tennessee. Sevier moved to Missouri in 1820 and to Little Rock, Arkansas in 1821.In Arkansas he became clerk of the Territorial...

, were opposed. An amendment by Whig Senator George Edmund Badger
George Edmund Badger
George Edmund Badger was a Whig U.S. senator from the state of North Carolina.Badger was born on April 17, 1795 in New Bern, North Carolina. Following a partial college education at Yale University, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1814...

 of North Carolina to exclude New Mexico and California lost 35–15, with three Southern Whigs voting with the Democrats. Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster was a leading American statesman and senator from Massachusetts during the period leading up to the Civil War. He first rose to regional prominence through his defense of New England shipping interests...

 was bitter that four New England senators made deciding votes for acquiring the new territories.

The acquired lands west of the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 are traditionally called the Mexican Cession
Mexican Cession
The Mexican Cession of 1848 is a historical name in the United States for the region of the present day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S...

 in the U.S., as opposed to the Texas Annexation
Texas Annexation
In 1845, United States of America annexed the Republic of Texas and admitted it to the Union as the 28th state. The U.S. thus inherited Texas's border dispute with Mexico; this quickly led to the Mexican-American War, during which the U.S. captured additional territory , extending the nation's...

 two years earlier, though division of New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 down the middle at the Rio Grande never had any basis either in control or Mexican boundaries. Mexico never recognized the independence of Texas prior to the war, and did not cede its claim to territory north of the Rio Grande or Gila River
Gila River
The Gila River is a tributary of the Colorado River, 650 miles long, in the southwestern states of New Mexico and Arizona.-Description:...

 until this treaty.

Prior to ratifying the treaty, the U.S. Senate made two modifications, changing the wording of Article IX (which guaranteed Mexicans living in the purchased territories the right to become U.S. citizens), and striking out Article X (which conceded the legitimacy of land grants made by the Mexican government). On May 26, 1848, when the two countries exchanged ratifications of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, they further agreed to a three-article protocol (known as the Protocol of Querétaro) to explain the amendments. The first article claimed that the original Article IX of the treaty, although replaced by Article III of the Treaty of Louisiana, would still confer the rights delineated in Article IX. The second article confirmed the legitimacy of land grants under Mexican law. The protocol was signed in the city of Querétaro by A. H. Sevier, Nathan Clifford
Nathan Clifford
Nathan Clifford was an American statesman, diplomat and jurist.Clifford was born of old Yankee stock in Rumney, New Hampshire, to farmers, the only son of seven children He attended the public schools of that town, then the Haverhill Academy in New...

, and Luis de la Rosa.

Article XI offered a potential benefit to Mexico in that the US pledged to suppress the Comanche and Apache raids that had ravaged northern Mexico. However, the Indian raids did not cease for several decades after the treaty, although a cholera epidemic reduced the numbers of the Comanche in 1849.

Results


Mexican territory, prior to the secession of Texas, comprised almost 1700000 sq mi (4,402,979.8 km²), which was reduced to just under 800,000 by 1848. Another 32,000 were sold to the U.S. in the Gadsden Purchase
Gadsden Purchase
The Gadsden Purchase is a region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by James Gadsden, the American ambassador to Mexico at the time, on December 30, 1853. It was then ratified, with changes, by the U.S...

 of 1853, for a total reduction of more than 55%, or 900,000 square miles. The annexed territories, comparable in size to Western Europe, were essentially unsettled, containing about 1,000 Mexican families in Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 and 7,000 in Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of New Spain and later Mexico that existed from the late 16th century up through the mid-19th century. It was centered on the upper valley of the Rio Grande , in an area that included most of the present-day U.S. state of New Mexico...

, as well as large Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 nations such as the Navajo
Navajo people
The Navajo of the Southwestern United States are the largest single federally recognized tribe of the United States of America. The Navajo Nation has 300,048 enrolled tribal members. The Navajo Nation constitutes an independent governmental body which manages the Navajo Indian reservation in the...

, Hopi
Hopi
The Hopi are a federally recognized tribe of indigenous Native American people, who primarily live on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. The Hopi area according to the 2000 census has a population of 6,946 people. Their Hopi language is one of the 30 of the Uto-Aztecan language...

, and dozens of others. A few relocated further south in Mexico; the great majority remained in the U.S. Descendants of these Mexican families have risen to prominence in American life, such as United States Secretary of the Interior
United States Secretary of the Interior
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior.The US Department of the Interior should not be confused with the concept of Ministries of the Interior as used in other countries...

 Ken Salazar
Ken Salazar
Kenneth Lee "Ken" Salazar is the current United States Secretary of the Interior, in the administration of President Barack Obama. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a United States Senator from Colorado from 2005 to 2009. He and Mel Martinez were the first Hispanic U.S...

, and his brother, U.S. Rep.
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 John Salazar
John Salazar
John Tony Salazar is the former Congressman for , serving from 2005 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Following his service in Congress, he was appointed as Commissioner of the Colorado Department of Agriculture in the Cabinet of Governor John Hickenlooper in 2011.-Early life,...

, both from Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

.

A month before the end of the war, Polk was criticized in a United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 amendment to a bill praising Major General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

 for "a war unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States." This criticism, in which Congressman Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 played an important role with his Spot Resolutions
Spot Resolutions
The spot resolutions were offered in the United States House of Representatives on 22 December 1847 by Abraham Lincoln, Whig representative from Illinois. The resolutions requested President James K. Polk to provide Congress with the exact location upon which blood was spilt on American soil, as...

, followed congressional scrutiny of the war's beginnings, including factual challenges to claims made by President Polk. The vote followed party lines, with all Whigs supporting the amendment. Lincoln's attack won luke-warm support from fellow Whigs in Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 but was harshly counter-attacked by Democrats, who rallied pro-war sentiments in Illinois; Lincoln's Spot resolutions haunted his future campaigns in the heavily Democratic state of Illinois, and was cited by enemies well into his presidency.

In much of the U.S., victory and the acquisition of new land brought a surge of patriotism. Victory seemed to fulfill Democrats' belief in their country's Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

. While Whig Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

 rejected war "as a means of achieving America's destiny," he accepted that "most of the great results of history are brought about by discreditable means." Although the Whigs had opposed the war, they made Zachary Taylor their presidential candidate in the election of 1848, praising his military performance while muting their criticism of the war.

Many of the military leaders on both sides of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 had fought as junior officers in Mexico, including Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, George B. McClellan
George B. McClellan
George Brinton McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union...

, Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Everett Burnside was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a U.S. Senator...

, Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
ຄຽשת״ׇׂׂׂׂ֣|birth_place= Clarksburg, Virginia |death_place=Guinea Station, Virginia|placeofburial=Stonewall Jackson Memorial CemeteryLexington, Virginia|placeofburial_label= Place of burial|image=...

, James Longstreet
James Longstreet
James Longstreet was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his "Old War Horse." He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the...

, George Meade
George Meade
George Gordon Meade was a career United States Army officer and civil engineer involved in coastal construction, including several lighthouses. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War and Mexican-American War. During the American Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from...

, Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

, and the future Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 President Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

.

In Mexico City's Chapultepec Park, the Monument to the Heroic Cadets
Niños Héroes
The Niños Héroes , also known as the Heroic Cadets or Boy Soldiers, were six Mexican teenage military cadets. These cadets died defending Mexico at Mexico City's Chapultepec Castle from invading U.S. forces in the 13 September 1847 Battle of Chapultepec, during the Mexican–American War...

 commemorates the heroic sacrifice of six teenaged military cadets who fought to their deaths rather than surrender to American troops during the Battle of Chapultepec Castle on September 18, 1847. The monument is an important patriotic site in Mexico. On March 5, 1947, nearly one hundred years after the battle, U.S. President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 placed a wreath at the monument and stood for a moment of silence
Moment of silence
A moment of silence is the expression for a period of silent contemplation, prayer, reflection, or meditation. Similar to flying a flag at half-mast, a moment of silence is often a gesture of respect, particularly in mourning for those who have recently died or as part of a commemoration ceremony...

.

Grant's views on the war


President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, who as a young army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 lieutenant had served in Mexico under General Taylor, recalled in his Memoirs
Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant is an autobiography of American President Ulysses S. Grant, focused mainly on the general's actions during the American Civil War. Written as Grant was dying of throat cancer in 1885, the two-volume set was published by Mark Twain shortly after Grant's death...

, published in 1885, that:
Grant also expressed the view that the war against Mexico had brought punishment on the United States in the form of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

:

Combatants


On the American side, the war was fought by regiments of regulars and various regiments, battalions, and companies of volunteers from the different states of the union and the Americans and some of the Mexicans in the territory of California and New Mexico. On the West Coast, the U.S. Navy fielded a battalion in an attempt to recapture Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

.

United States


At the beginning of the war, the U.S. Army had eight regiments of infantry (three battalions), four artillery regiments and three mounted regiments (two dragoons, one of mounted rifles). These regiments were supplemented by 10 new regiments (nine of infantry and one of cavalry) raised for one year's service (new regiments raised for one year according to act of Congress Feb. 11, 1847).

State Volunteers were raised in various sized units and for various periods of time, mostly for one year. Later some were raised for the duration of the war as it became clear it was going to last longer than a year.

U.S. soldiers' memoirs describe cases of looting and murder of Mexican civilians, mostly by State Volunteers. One officer's diary records:
John L. O'Sullivan
John L. O'Sullivan
John Louis O'Sullivan was an American columnist and editor who used the term "Manifest Destiny" in 1845 to promote the annexation of Texas and the Oregon Country to the United States. O'Sullivan was an influential political writer and advocate for the Democratic Party at that time, but he faded...

, a vocal proponent of Manifest Destiny, later recollected:

Many of the volunteers were unwanted and considered poor soldiers. The expression "Just like Gaines's army" came to refer to something useless, the phrase having originated when a group of untrained and unwilling Louisiana troops were rejected and sent back by Gen. Taylor at the beginning of the war.

The last surviving U.S. veteran
Last surviving United States war veterans
This is an incomplete list of the last surviving veterans of American wars. The last surviving veteran of any particular war, upon his death, marks the end of a historic era. Exactly who is the last surviving veteran is often an issue of contention, especially with records from long-ago wars...

 of the conflict, Owen Thomas Edgar
Owen Thomas Edgar
Owen Thomas Edgar was, according to data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the longest surviving U.S. veteran of the Mexican-American War....

, died on September 3, 1929, at age 98.

1,563 U.S. soldiers are buried in the Mexico City National Cemetery
Mexico City National Cemetery
The Mexico City National Cemetery is a cemetery in Mexico City. It was established in 1851 by the United States Congress to gather the American dead of the Mexican-American War that lay in the nearby fields and to provide burial space for Americans who died in the vicinity. A small monument marks...

, which is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission
American Battle Monuments Commission
The American Battle Monuments Commission is a small independent agency of the United States government. Established by Congress in 1923, it is responsible for:...

.

Mexico


At the beginning of the war, Mexican forces were divided between the permanent forces (permanentes) and the active militiamen (activos). The permanent forces consisted of 12 regiments of infantry (of two battalions each), three brigades of artillery, eight regiments of cavalry, one separate squadron and a brigade of dragoons. The militia amounted to nine infantry and six cavalry regiments. In the northern territories of Mexico, presidial companies (presidiales) protected the scattered settlements there.

One of the contributing factors to loss of the war by Mexico was the inferiority of their weapons. The Mexican army was using British musket
Musket
A musket is a muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. Muskets were designed for use by infantry. A soldier armed with a musket had the designation musketman or musketeer....

s (e.g. Brown Bess
Brown Bess
Brown Bess is a nickname of uncertain origin for the British Army's Land Pattern Musket and its derivatives. This musket was used in the era of the expansion of the British Empire and acquired symbolic importance at least as significant as its physical importance. It was in use for over a hundred...

) from the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. In contrast to the aging Mexican standard-issue infantry weapon, some U.S. troops had the latest U.S.-manufactured breech-loading Hall rifles
M1819 Hall rifle
The M1819 Hall rifle was a single-shot breech loading rifle designed by John Harris Hall, patented on May 21, 1811, and adopted by the U.S. Army in 1819. It used a pivoting chamber breech design and was made with either flint-lock or percussion cap ignition systems. The main years of production...

 and Model 1841 percussion rifle
Percussion rifle
The percussion rifle is a rifle that uses a percussion cap instead of older flintlock or matchlock variants. Faster reloading and fewer moving parts made this rifle more versatile and rugged compared to other single-shot rifles. The U.S. adopted the percussion system in 1841 and produced an...

s. In the later stages of the war, U.S. cavalry and officers were issued Colt Walker revolvers, of which the U.S. Army had ordered 1,000 in 1846. Throughout the war, the superiority of the U.S. artillery often carried the day.

Political divisions inside Mexico were another factor in the U.S. victory. Inside Mexico, the centralistas and republicans vied for power, and at times these two factions inside Mexico's military fought each other rather than the invading American army. Another faction called the monarchists, whose members wanted to install a monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 (some even advocated rejoining Spain), further complicated matters. This third faction would rise to predominance in the period of the French intervention in Mexico
French intervention in Mexico
The French intervention in Mexico , also known as The Maximilian Affair, War of the French Intervention, and The Franco-Mexican War, was an invasion of Mexico by an expeditionary force sent by the Second French Empire, supported in the beginning by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain...

.

Saint Patrick's Battalion
Saint Patrick's Battalion
The Saint Patrick's Battalion , formed and led by Jon Riley, was a unit of 175 to several hundred immigrants and expatriates of European descent who fought as part of the Mexican Army against the United States in the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. Most of the battalion's members had...

 (San Patricios) was a group of several hundred immigrant soldiers, the majority Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, who deserted the U.S. Army because of ill-treatment or sympathetic leanings to fellow Mexican Catholics. They joined the Mexican army. Most were killed in the Battle of Churubusco
Battle of Churubusco
The Battle of Churubusco took place on August 20, 1847, in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Contreras during the Mexican-American War. After defeating the Mexican army at Churubusco, the U.S. Army was only 5 miles away from Mexico City, the capital of the nation...

; about 100 were captured by the U.S. and roughly ½ were hanged as deserters.

Impact of the war in the U.S.


Despite initial objections from the Whigs and abolitionists, the war would nevertheless unite the U.S. in a common cause and was fought almost entirely by volunteers. The army swelled from just over 6,000 to more than 115,000. Of these, approximately 1.5% were killed in the fighting and nearly 10% died of disease; another 12% were wounded or discharged because of disease, or both.

For years afterward, veterans continued to suffer from the debilitating diseases contracted during the campaigns. The casualty rate was thus easily over 25% for the 17 months of the war; the total casualties may have reached 35–40% if later injury- and disease-related deaths are added. In this respect, the war was proportionately the most deadly in American military history.

During the war, political quarrels in the U.S. arose regarding the disposition of conquered Mexico. A brief "All-Mexico" movement urged annexation of the entire territory. Veterans of the war who had seen Mexico at first hand were unenthusiastic. Anti-slavery elements opposed that position and fought for the exclusion of slavery from any territory absorbed by the U.S. In 1847 the House of Representatives passed the Wilmot Proviso
Wilmot Proviso
The Wilmot Proviso, one of the major events leading to the Civil War, would have banned slavery in any territory to be acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War or in the future, including the area later known as the Mexican Cession, but which some proponents construed to also include the disputed...

, stipulating that none of the territory acquired should be open to slavery. The Senate avoided the issue, and a late attempt to add it to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was defeated.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

 was the result of Nicholas Trist
Nicholas Trist
Nicholas Philip Trist was an American diplomat.Trist was born in Charlottesville, Virginia. He attended West Point and studied law under Thomas Jefferson, whose granddaughter he married. He was also private secretary to Andrew Jackson.Through political connections, Trist was appointed U.S...

's unauthorized negotiations. It was approved by the U.S. Senate on March 10, 1848, and ratified by the Mexican Congress on May 25. Mexico's cession of Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 and Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of New Spain and later Mexico that existed from the late 16th century up through the mid-19th century. It was centered on the upper valley of the Rio Grande , in an area that included most of the present-day U.S. state of New Mexico...

 and its recognition of U.S. sovereignty over all of Texas north of the Rio Grande formalized the addition of 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million km2) of territory to the United States. In return the U.S. agreed to pay $15 million and assumed the claims of its citizens against Mexico. A final territorial adjustment between Mexico and the U.S. was made by the Gadsden Purchase
Gadsden Purchase
The Gadsden Purchase is a region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by James Gadsden, the American ambassador to Mexico at the time, on December 30, 1853. It was then ratified, with changes, by the U.S...

 in 1853.

As late as 1880, the "Republican Campaign Textbook" by the Republican Congressional Committee described the war as "Feculent, reeking Corruption" and "one of the darkest scenes in our history—a war forced upon our and the Mexican people by the high-handed usurpations of Pres't Polk in pursuit of territorial aggrandizement of the slave oligarchy."

The war was one of the most decisive events for the U.S. in the first half of the 19th century. While it marked a significant waypoint for the nation as a growing military power, it also served as a milestone especially within the U.S. narrative of Manifest Destiny. The resultant territorial gains set in motion many of the defining trends in American 19th-century history, particularly for the American West. The war did not resolve the issue of slavery in the U.S. but rather in many ways inflamed it, as potential westward expansion of the institution took an increasingly central and heated theme in national debates preceding the American Civil War. Furthermore, in doing much to extend the nation from coast to coast, the Mexican–American War was one step in the massive migrations to the West of Americans, which culminated in transcontinental railroads and the Indian wars later in the same century.

See also

  • Battles of the Mexican–American War
  • History of Mexico
    History of Mexico
    The history of Mexico, a country located in the southern portion of North America, covers a period of more than two millennia. First populated more than 13,000 years ago, the country produced complex indigenous civilizations before being conquered by the Spanish in the 16th Century.Since the...

  • Reconquista (Mexico)
    Reconquista (Mexico)
    The term Reconquista was popularized by contemporary Mexican writers Carlos Fuentes and Elena Poniatowska to describe the increased demographic and cultural presence of Mexicans in the Southwestern United States....

  • List of conflicts in the United States
  • List of wars involving Mexico
  • Republic of Texas – United States relations

Reference works

  • Frazier, Donald S. ed. The U.S. and Mexico at War, (1998), 584; an encyclopedia with 600 articles by 200 scholars

Surveys

  • De Voto, Bernard, Year of Decision 1846 (1942), well written popular history
  • Henderson, Timothy J. A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States (2008)
  • Meed, Douglas. The Mexican War, 1846–1848 (2003). A short survey.
  • Merry Robert W. A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent (2009)
  • Smith, Justin Harvey. The War with Mexico, Vol 1. (2 vol 1919), full text online.

Military

  • Bauer K. Jack. Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest. Louisiana State University Press, 1985.
  • Dishman, Christopher, A Perfect Gibraltar: The Battle for Monterrey, Mexico," University of Oklahoma Press, 2010 ISBN 0-8061-4140-9.
  • Eisenhower, John. So Far From God: The U.S. War with Mexico, Random House (1989).
  • Eubank, Damon R.
    Damon R. Eubank
    Damon R. Eubank is an historian at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky, principally known for his study of the family of U.S. Senator John J. Crittenden, In the Shadow of the Patriarch: The John J...

    , Response of Kentucky to the Mexican War, 1846–1848. Lewiston, New York
    Lewiston, New York
    Lewiston is a village in Niagara County, New York, United States. The population was 2,781 at the 2000 census. The village is named after Morgan Lewis, an early 19th-century governor of New York. It is part of the Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area.The Village of Lewiston,...

    : Edwin Mellen Press
    Edwin Mellen Press
    The Edwin Mellen Press, based in Lewiston, New York is a niche publisher of scholarly material and advanced research in the humanities and social sciences. They publish a variety of tomes including monographs, bibliographies, concordances, dictionaries, conference proceedings, dissertations, and...

     (2004), ISBN 9780773464957.
  • Foos, Paul. A Short, Offhand, Killing Affair: Soldiers and Social Conflict during the Mexican-War (2002).
  • Fowler, Will. Santa Anna of Mexico (2007) 527pp; a major scholarly study
  • Frazier, Donald S. The U.S. and Mexico at War, Macmillan (1998).
  • Hamilton, Holman, Zachary Taylor: Soldier of the Republic, (1941).
  • Lewis, Lloyd. Captain Sam Grant (1950).
  • Johnson, Timothy D. Winfield Scott: The Quest for Military Glory (1998)
  • Martinez, Orlando. The Great Landgrab, Quartet Books (1975)
  • McCaffrey, James M. Army of Manifest Destiny: The American Soldier in the Mexican War, 1846–1848 (1994)excerpt and text search
  • Smith, Justin H. "American Rule in Mexico," The American Historical Review Vol. 23, No. 2 (Jan., 1918), pp. 287–302 in JSTOR
  • Smith, Justin Harvey. The War with Mexico. 2 vol (1919). Pulitzer Prize winner. full text online.
  • Winders, Richard Price. Mr. Polk’s Army: The American Military Experience in the Mexican War (1997)

Political and diplomatic

  • Beveridge; Albert J. Abraham Lincoln, 1809–1858. Volume: 1. 1928.
  • Brack, Gene M. Mexico Views Manifest Destiny, 1821–1846: An Essay on the Origins of the Mexican War (1975).
  • Fowler, Will. Tornel and Santa Anna: The Writer and the Caudillo, Mexico, 1795–1853 (2000).
  • Fowler, Will. Santa Anna of Mexico (2007) 527pp; the major scholarly study excerpt and text search
  • Gleijeses, Piero. "A Brush with Mexico" Diplomatic History 2005 29(2): 223–254. Issn: 0145-2096 debates in Washington before war.
  • Graebner, Norman A. Empire on the Pacific: A Study in American Continental Expansion. (1955).
  • Graebner, Norman A. "Lessons of the Mexican War." Pacific Historical Review 47 (1978): 325–42. in JSTOR.
  • Graebner, Norman A. "The Mexican War: A Study in Causation." Pacific Historical Review 49 (1980): 405–26. in JSTOR.
  • Henderson, Timothy J. A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States (2007), survey
  • Krauze, Enrique. Mexico: Biography of Power, (1997), textbook.
  • Mayers, David; Fernández Bravo, Sergio A., "La Guerra Con Mexico Y Los Disidentes Estadunidenses, 1846–1848" [The War with Mexico and US Dissenters, 1846–48]. Secuencia [Mexico] 2004 (59): 32–70. Issn: 0186-0348.
  • Pinheiro, John C. Manifest Ambition: James K. Polk and Civil-Military Relations during the Mexican War (2007).
  • Pletcher David M. The Diplomacy of Annexation: Texas, Oregon, and the Mexican War. University of Missouri Press, 1973.
  • Price, Glenn W. Origins of the War with Mexico: The Polk-Stockton Intrigue. University of Texas Press, 1967.
  • Reeves, Jesse S. "The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo," American Historical Review, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Jan., 1905), pp. 309–324 in JSTOR.
  • Rives, George Lockhart. The United States and Mexico, 1821–1848: a history of the relations between the two countries from the independence of Mexico to the close of the war with the United States (1913) full text online
  • Rodríguez Díaz, María Del Rosario. "Mexico's Vision of Manifest Destiny During the 1847 War" Journal of Popular Culture 2001 35(2): 41–50. Issn: 0022-3840.
  • Ruiz, Ramon Eduardo
    Ramón Eduardo Ruiz
    Ramón Eduardo Ruiz was an American historian of Mexico and Latin America. He was the author of fifteen books on Mexican and Latin American history and in 1998 he was awarded the US National Humanities Medal....

    . Triumph and Tragedy: A History of the Mexican People, Norton 1992, textbook
  • Schroeder John H. Mr. Polk's War: American Opposition and Dissent, 1846–1848. University of Wisconsin Press, 1973.
  • Sellers Charles G. James K. Polk: Continentalist, 1843–1846 (1966), the standard biography vol 1 and 2 are online at ACLS e-books
  • Smith, Justin Harvey. The War with Mexico. 2 vol (1919). Pulitzer Prize winner. full text online.
  • Stephenson, Nathaniel Wright. Texas and the Mexican War: A Chronicle of Winning the Southwest. Yale University Press (1921).
  • Weinberg Albert K. Manifest Destiny: A Study of Nationalist Expansionism in American History Johns Hopkins University Press, 1935.
  • Yanez, Agustin. Santa Anna: Espectro de una sociedad (1996).

Memory and historiography

  • Faulk, Odie B., and Stout, Joseph A., Jr., eds. The Mexican War: Changing Interpretations (1974)
  • Rodriguez, Jaime Javier. The Literatures of the U.S.-Mexican War: Narrative, Time, and Identity (University of Texas Press; 2010) 306 pages. Covers works by Anglo, Mexican, and Mexican-American writers.
  • Benjamin, Thomas. "Recent Historiography of the Origins of the Mexican War," New Mexico Historical Review, Summer 1979, Vol. 54 Issue 3, pp 169–181
  • Vázquez, Josefina Zoraida. "La Historiografia Sobre la Guerra entre Mexico y los Estados Unidos," ["The historiography of the war between Mexico and the United States"] Histórica (02528894), 1999, Vol. 23 Issue 2, pp 475–485

Primary sources


Guides, bibliographies and collections


Media and primary sources


Other