1.1 Aim and Research questions In this essay I am going to discuss The US and Latin America with the main focus upon The American-Mexican War 1846. I am going to focus on it in a historical perspective and also add in contemporary relations between the two nations. I will try to find out answers about these questions; * How the Monroe Doctrine affected Latin America in general? * How the American-Mexican War started 1846 and the results of the war? * How are the current relations compared between the two nations?
1.2 Delimitations I have chosen to only write about facts that will answer my questions and delimited my topic by choosing questions that are related to the topic in matter.
1.3 Methods In my essay I have only used secondary sources such as websites and documentaries to answer my research questions. I believe that my methods are good because they are easy to compare to other sources and that the authors and creators can easily update their articles so when I take them they are up-to-date. I have also read in literary text to be able to answer the research questions to this essay.
1.4 Discussion of sources I have read in many sources and compared them to each other to see if it shows same information, to see if it is reliable. All my sources are also literary studies, some sources are from documentaries and can be a bit biased but I have compared the documentaries to other sources to see if they are reliable. The documentaries consist of different historians and teachers as well as social scientists.
2. Body 2. The Monroe Doctrine 2.1 Historical The Monroe Doctrine is a policy of The United States that was introduced by President James Monroe 1823. In the early 1800’s the United States was going through many different situations both good and bad. Both Russia and Britain negotiated on boundaries and territories with the United States, but at the same time the Spanish and Portuguese were in continuing conflict. The rise of Nationalism caused a sort of superiority or a “better than you” feeling in everyone, the time period of good feelings of brotherhood and unity in America, isolated the continent from the rest of the world. As James Monroe was elected and put into office as president, the United States had begun to worry that Spain would try to regain Mexico. Monroe’s solution to this was to write the Monroe Doctrine. In the Monroe Doctrine he stated that “this hemisphere” in which he is referring to; the Western Hemisphere is property of The United States’ and is not to be interfered with. This doctrine stopped the colonial European powers from further colonization of North- & South America. 2
2.2 Mexico The State of Mexico was declared as independent and fully recognized by the world in 1822 as legitimate by their colonial powers Spain, after Spain not being able to financially keep Mexico colonized and the Mexican nationalism within the Mexican population used that factor in gaining their independence. In 1823, The US feared that the Spanish would try to regain Mexico once again, so they introduced “the big brother” policy aka The Monroe Doctrine. With the policy, The US put limitations for relations in the entire Western Hemisphere, both North- and South America with the rest of the world. And if any of the European colonial powers were to intervene, The US would step in. For a short period of time Mexico and the Latin American countries gained a lot of respect for The US, they were seen as the big brother of the Latin American countries; but that was about to change for a period of time.
3. The America-Mexican War 3. 1 Historical. The American-Mexican War of 1846-1848, was the war that Abraham Lincoln called: “Unconstitutional”. By many, it was known as the most unjust wars that The US had participated in. The American-Mexican War was the first conflict driven by the idea “manifest destiny”, the belief that The US had a God-given-right or Destiny to expand its borders westwards to the shining sea of the Pacific, which meant that Mexico would have to give away the Northern half of its land. And the new border line would be the Rio Grande River, not the Nueces.
3. 2 Political President James K. Polk was the president during 1845-1849, he was known as the most working president and the People’s president, because of his long working days and often available for the people. His aim and mandate was to expand The US borders westwards to the pacific. It was The US “Manifest destiny”.
3.3 Geographical The main issue was the border between Mexico and the United States, with both states claiming the area between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River. The war started after President Polk’s attempts to buy California and New Mexico failed, when he ordered US troops under General Zachary Taylor to cross into the disputed territories. Shortly after, the American-Mexican War had begun.
3.4 Results The results were that The US Army won decisive battles at Palo Alto, Monterrey, Buena Vista, Veracruz, Cerro Gordo, and El Castillo de Chapultepec. And Mexico having to face a civil war during the war with the US, made them weaker and not as unite, The US took that to their advantage and in the end, won the war at Mexico City, forcing the Mexican officials to sell the land of California, Arizona and New Mexico and setting the new border by the Rio Grande. Nicolas Trist and Mexican commissioner signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Officially: The Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic.
4. Current relations
4.1Economy and Trade Mexico is a so called “Middle-income state” and was counted for being the 13th biggest economy in 2008, but under the radar of the government, which is about 40% of the country’s population, there is still a “dark” side of the economy, in other words; poor. The BNP shows that the state economy is good, but as mentioned earlier, a lot is being missed out by the Mexican government when taxation comes into the picture. Almost half of the population is making a living all from drugs and Narcotics to shoe-polishing. The US is Mexico’s most dependent trade ally because 80% of Mexico’s export goes to the US. 4.2 Foreign policies and Human Right
Foreign affairs is highly avoided, due to the fact that Mexico has a self-rule and hold on hard to that principle and not to interfere with other countries affairs. During the last decade Mexico has gained more influence in the international cooperation. Mexico participates in regional affairs that concern trade and economic development, fight against organized crime and the smuggling of narcotics, as well as migration and Human rights. Mexican foreign policies are strongly dominated by the US. The dependency of the mighty neighbor is huge, due to the fact that almost all of Mexico’s exports go to the US, when the demand of goods and services decreases in the US; it strikes hard on the Mexican economy. The relations affect also the traffic of narcotics and the unemployed looking for work but do not have permission for VISA over the 3000km long common border. Besides the negotiations of trade and investments, there are constant discussions about the illegal immigration and the smuggling of narcotics over the border northwards.
President James Monroe introduced The Monroe Doctrine. When James Monroe was elected President, there was a tension that Spain would try to regain Mexico. President Monroe’s solution was to introduce the Monroe Doctrine, which meant that the Western Hemisphere was not to be interfered by the Eastern Hemisphere, saying that any interference from any colonial power meant an intervention from the United States of America. This lead to a morale rise of many Latin American countries that were under influence by the European colonial powers and let the US to be seen as a “Big Brother”: referring to the research question no. 1…
But that changed when James Polk was elected for President. The belief of a God-given-right or destiny to expand the borders westwards to the shining sea of the Pacific was strongly lifted by American nationalists; the idea of “manifest destiny” was President Polk’s mandate: his goals were to expand America’s borders to the Pacific, but this he could not accomplish for it was Mexican land: so President Polk sends a negotiator to Mexico City, for trying to buy the northern half of Mexico. The negotiations had failed and tensions grew. Polk sent a battalion to the southern end of the Nueces River, which was meant to be Mexican territory, but was thought to be American soil by congress of the US for they believed that the border was at the Rio Grande, the battalion was attacked by the Mexican Army, and President James Polk declared war on Mexico on April 25th 1846.
The war was known as the most unjust wars that the US had participated in, as Abraham Lincoln later called the war “unconstitutional” and others referred it as being “Mr. Polk’s War”. The US winning decisive battles at Palo Alto, Monterrey, Buena Vista, Veracruz, Cerro Gordo, and El Castillo de Chapultepec. And Mexico having to face a civil war in the nation, a weaker army, an un-united nation led to the win of the United States. The peace-talks had begun when the US army had taken over Mexico City. Nicholas Trust and Mexican commissioner signed The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and Mexico forced to sell its northern territories to the US and the border was drawn at the Rio Grande. …referring to the research question no. 2…
Due to the Mexican self-rule, foreign affairs are highly avoided so they hold hard on to the principle of not interfering with other countries: although Mexico in the last decade has gained a lot of influence in the international cooperation, in organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). Mexican economy is strongly dependent on the US, where 80% of Mexico’s exports go the US, so therefore Mexican foreign policies are mainly focused upon their neighbor. …referring to the research question no. 3…