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The Mexican War remains to be one of landmark unfolding in the history of America and the entire world at large. The ripple effects of the war have continued to influence and affect other happenings, long after its occurrence in the nineteenth century. The war involved the Mexico and United States forces who were contesting for the Texas annexation. It started in the 1845 and extended until 1847 when United States took over Mexico City under the leadership of General Winfield Scott (Meed 94). Thereafter, the proverbial Guadalupe Hidalgo peace treaty was signed. The Mexico War saw the recognition of the Texas annexation by the United States and expansion of its territory to include California and the New Mexico, which encompasses the present day Southwest States. This paper elucidates the major happenings and impact of the Mexican War to the history of America and across the globe.
Causes of the Mexican War
Historically, there various explanations and theories that seek to explain the origin and factors contributing to the origin of this major event in the calendar of the world history. However, as we take a critical look into the history of America, one thing is crystal clear that the war revolved around the conquest of annexation of Texas by both Mexican republic and American Government, then under President James Polk. Over this historical dispensation, expansion of territories was the ‘in-thing’. This had the implication that any addition or reduction of a nation land was such a great victory. Therefore, every ruler did his level best to maintain if not to conquer other nation’s region.
In addition, other evidence suggests that Mexican War was a result of political instability that characterized Republic of Mexico in early 1880s (Meed 98). It is believed that change of government system in the Republic of Mexico could have caused the conquest. Around the time of the war, the Mexico government was vulnerably unstable as it comprised of two opposing political factions. This was after the abrogation of the federal constitution in 1835 to replace the existing the centralized dictatorship. The federalist held the ideology of democracy independence while the Centralists purported the autocratic approach where the government was controlled from a single unit such as a dictator or a monarch system (Lewis 240). Apparently the Centralists were still in the power control and the Federalists were fighting to get their placement and recognition. These developments resulted into several conflicts and clashes in the Mexican territory. This is how Texas came to attain its independence through the Texas Revolution which happened in 1845, after several insurgencies and rebellions that included California disaffection.
Some historical sources claim that the war was caused by the United States stationing of their Army at the Rio Grande (May 55). This was interpreted as an attempt to annex Texas, which the Centralists in Mexico were in tending to conquer. These differences in views heightened tension between the two parties and it was imminent that a war had to happen.
Mexican War Territories
The Mexican War was mainly characterized by different campaigns that took place across the American and Mexican territories. Broadly, the campaigns could be classified into; the Central Mexican, the American West, and the Northern Mexican Campaigns. The Northern Mexican Campaign began when the Mexican troops attacked American territory in 1846. As a result the President of the United States sought the permission to declare war against Mexico from the Congress. Although this move was vehemently opposed by the abolitionists, it gathered enough support from the Congress and the declaration of Mexican War was made (May 50). As the lobbying was under way, the Mexican authorities had made two attacks across the Rio Grande area and Resaca de la Palma and both attacks had received repulsion so this marked the start of the actually military attacks.
Effects of the Mexican War
Mexican war was highly fought intensively and expansively. The greatest impact left by the Mexican invasion into Texas region, turned out to be the most disastrous war in the history of the America military (Lewis 246). These effects were deep and far reaching touching social, military, diplomatic and healthy sectors. An outstanding example is long after the war scars of injuries were witnessed among the people who participated or were victims of the war.
Although the war did not receive support from all corners of the United States, for instance the abolitionists outrightly objected it, it gained the majority thumb up. This was clearly depicted by the fact that majority of the involved personnel were surprisingly volunteers. As a sign of support, it is estimated that the Army swell from around 6,000 to 115,000. Out of this big number, around 1.5 per cent died in the war and over 10 per cent succumbed to various diseases that attacked them during the fighting duration. Also worth mentioning, 12 per cent sustained major injuries and some had to be released from the war because of the same (May 45).
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The wounds and suffering did not stop with the ending of the war, as years afterwards, the Mexican old hand still continued to exhibit debilitating effects such as diseases and injuries contracted during the war session. In a summation, the casualty range was approximately 25 per cent spreading over a period of 17 months. If this rate was to be inclusive of the aftermath impacts then it is feared that it could stretch to 35 per cent.
Historical Significance of the Mexican War
The unfolding of the Mexican War created historical significance in many ways. For instance, the deep seated thorny issue of slavery took a different turn thereafter. Notably the newly acquired regions did not allow slavery in their soil. Clearly, the development of the era of slavery in the America land was changed by the Mexican war (Metzel 115). Nearly the end of the war, there were political differences concerning the disposition of the conquered land. One group advocated for the annexation of the whole territory while the other group that majorly comprised the abolitionist totally opposed the idea, arguing that slavery needed to be excluded from any of the territory under the United Stated. The passage of Wilmost Proviso, in the year 1847, by the House of Representatives saw the declaration that none of the land acquired shall be opened to slavery. This declaration was in deed a big boast to the fight against slavery.
Although the issue was at first not taken seriously by the Senate, attempts were later done to include it in the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty, but this move was defeated. It is believed that the defeat of this treaty was as a result unauthorized negotiations by Nicholas Trist. But this was not the only chance of its ratification, as it was approved by the US Senate and received stamp of approval in the following year in the Mexican Congress (Meed 89).
The other historical importance of the Mexico War was the expansion of the United States territory. It is after the war ended that the US declared sovereignty over the Texas region, this extension also was inclusive of California and the New Mexico areas that approximately added up to around 3 million square kilometer of land (Metzel 120). Consequently, US agreed to take responsibility of its citizen claims and pay $ 15 million. Eventually, the final territorial demarcation between United States and Mexico was done in the Gadsden Purchase.
The world History through Mexican War Window
The history of the world can be viewed through the good window of the Mexican War by appreciating the efforts and the process that lead to the current demarcation and policies of the United States of America. From a historical point of view, we are able to see the price that was paid and hence diligently preserve what we have, knowing it is of great worth.
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Through this war, the world got an opportunity to learn several lessons which ought not to be replicated. Pellon and Conway advise that the massive damages and losses incurred during the war must never again be allowed anywhere else in the land of the living. Not only did the war cause massive suffering but also unnecessary resources were channeled to this conquest and its at the expense of more meaningful developments.
The Mexican War was mainly caused by the conquest of the Texas annexation, which apparently was independent, but after been attacked by the Mexican Centralists the American Government had to repulse and defend its land. This was the major provocation of the war that lasted for approximately 18 months causing insurmountable destruction and losses. The war took place in campaign series which started in the Northern Mexico, then spread out to the Central Mexican, and the American West. The conquest of America and Mexico forces over the Texas annexation is a great lesson to the rest of the world. It also gives a clear explanation of the demarcation of the United States and its neighbors. The Mexican war is and still remains relevant to the history of the world perhaps the disturbing question is whether the war, was indeed, justified.