Mexican War Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Mexi War

The term "manifest destiny" was coined by John L. O'Sullivan during the administration of President James Knox Polk in the middle of the 19th century. However, the concept of manifest destiny seemed to have guided the original settling of the European colonies in North America, with the accompanying sense of entitlement to the lands and people therein. Manifest destiny suggested that God ordained America to be special, and wanted Americans to conquer and amass as much land as possible. Territorial acquisition became the cornerstone of American politics in the 19th century. Under President Polk, the boundaries of the United States stretched as far as they could possibly go, warranting war with a neighboring state: Mexico. Therefore, the events leading up to the Mexican War were directly linked to the overall concept of Manifest Destiny.

However, there were other precursors to the Mexican War. Rebellions in California led to the American purchase of California, as the Bear-Flag Republic. This weakened Mexico. Mexico was an already weak state at the time, making it easy for America to invade its territories. The Mexican War was largely a war of opportunism. Moreover, Texas had successfully fought the Mexicans at the Alamo and created the Republic of Texas. Texas then asked to become part of the United States, the United States gladly accepted, and Mexico broke off diplomatic ties with the United States. Then, the border between Mexico and Texas was established at the Rio Grande rather than the Nueces River as it had been before. The conflict over Texas was a direct precursor to the war. Weak Mexican government led to broader unrest in what is now the American Southwest, making the resident ranchers largely ambivalent or at least sympathetic to the Americans. War propaganda did not only rely on the concept of Manifest Destiny, but also on the proposition that the United States would be liberating parts of Mexico -- rhetoric still being used as excuses to invade countries.

2. The primary points of opposition to the Mexican-American War came from Mexico. The United States was invading a sovereign nation, and stealing its territories under the illusion that God had ordained it. In the United States, opposition to the war was not as immediately apparent. Religious organizations protested the war and the false propaganda used to propagate myths like Manifest Destiny. A strong and vocal antiwar contingency emerged from the abolitionist movement. Abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison opposed the Mexican War for similar reasons as opposing slavery: war represented an abuse of power. Indeed, reports from the field showed that even American soldiers were suffering in battle. Other antiwar protesters came from the burgeoning Romantic and transcendentalist movement. For example, Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience was a conscientious objection to the Mexican War, but his and others' warnings remained unheeded.

The link between the Mexican War and slavery was also…

Sources Used in Document:


University of Virginia (2013). American president. Retrieved online:

"War Fever and Antiwar Protests." Digital History. Retrieved online:

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