On May 9th, 1846 President James K. Polk delivered a war message to Congress, stating that “Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory, and shed American blood upon the American soil. ” Four days later, Congress declared war against Mexico, and across the nation large shows of support for the action followed. So began the Mexican-American War that resulted in acquiring of lands that today make up the American southwest; the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming.
Many attempts have been made to rationalize the war as just and right. Polk claimed that the United States had been provoked into war by Mexico, and that what motivated him to go to war was, “the strong desire to establish peace with Mexico on liberal and honorable terms . . . ” Pulitzer prize winner Justin H. Smith claimed that Mexico was simply unable to understand or appreciate the goodwill and righteousness of her northern neighbor. These and other rational for the Mexican war are simply cover-ups for the truth.
The Mexican-American War was a premeditated act of aggression on the part of the U. S. government, perpetrated upon a weak, defenseless people. While many claim that it was the Mexicans who started the war, the fault lies with the United States citizens and also their government. There had never been a time in America’s history when she did not lustfully eye lands belonging to Mexico. From the beginning of the American nation to the declaration of war by Congress in 1846, the taking of Mexican lands lay in the back of the mind of the new nation.
Plans of American expansion into Mexico date back to the founding fathers. As far back as the 1700s, patriots of the early American years had it on their minds. By 1767, Benjamin Franklin had marked Mexico for future American expansion. In 1809, Thomas Jefferson predicted that the Spanish borderlands “are ours the first moment war is forced upon us. ” From the early days of American history, prominent figures from American government were pushing for expansion into Mexican territory.