War in 1846 and How the US Won the War
War in 1846 and How the US Won the War
The United States and Mexico are neighboring countries which shared many different socio-political and geo-political issues and problems, some of which resulting to armed conflicts and the eruption of war. One of these instances is the war involving the United States and Mexico which happened in 1846. This is a very important war because the outcome of this war was very important for both Mexico and the United States, particularly, the identification of the two countries’ own geo-political territory after the war.
This particular war that involved the United States and Mexico highlighted many different important socio-political aspects that were important and significant during those times. In Mexico, this highlighted the fact that the country fell into very poor politics and political leadership because of political bickering and constant fighting for political leadership which resulted to the country not being strong enough to quell select acts of rebellions inside the territory (which happened in Texas); and more so, not be fully capable in pushing off foreign invaders.
This also highlighted the different characteristics of Mexico’s military and political leaders. In the US, this highlighted issues including slavery, the power struggle between the north and the south, concerns over continued colonialism by the US and the growing power of the United States in its military and armed forces.
The most important aspect of the war between the United States and Mexico is the conclusion that resulted in a treaty wherein Mexico was eventually forced to yield to what the US wanted (which the US offered initially in exchange for payment but something that Mexico rejected, forcing the US to go to war and making the US get what they want through the use of force, leaving Mexico as the biggest loser in this part of US-Mexico history).
Because of the significance of this war, the paper will discuss two important aspects of this particular historical event; first, it will discuss why the US and Mexico went to war in 1846; and secondly, it will discuss how the US won the war versus Mexico in 1846. The war that engulfed Mexico and the United States during the span of the years 1846 up to 1848 was primarily because of one reason – the fight over the ownership of Texas which was disputed by Mexico and the United States. It was only settled after the Mexican army was defeated by the American army at the conclusion of the war.
But notable sidelights, too, was the desire of the American government for expansion in that part of the border, which the US pursued through open war although it was not the original course of action intended by the US since they have negotiated for payment for these territories, with the option for war becoming a reality when the situation has asked for it. “The main cause of the Mexican War was a desire for land (Haberle 4). ” Mexico originally claimed ownership of the Texas territory; but the Texans fought for their own independence.
They believed they did after a victory versus the Mexican army. This victory made the Texans believe that they are free from their ties from the Mexican government and are, on their own, an independent state/republic. In this belief and position, the Texas government pursued the annexation of Texas inside the United States of America. It was something that was futile during the time it was propositioned to the president of the United States at that time (Andrew Jackson) because Jackson was not agreeable to the annexation of Texas to the US.
But this proposition gained favorable response when James K. Polk became the president of the United States. Eventually, Texas was finally recognized by the United States as the country’s twentieth state, something which happened in 1845 (Haberle 4). But while all of these events are happening, Mexico wasn’t simply standing idly by. In fact, it has made numerous warnings to both Texas and to the United States that Texas should not be annexed because it belongs to Mexico; doing so will bring war to the doors of America.
When Texas and the United States defied this ultimatum by Mexico and annexed Texas as the newest state in the US, Mexico was left with no choice but war, starting with its breaking of its diplomatic relationship with the United States leading to the armed conflict that eventually was concluded after Mexico’s defeat. But even before the annexation was made official, there were already tell-tale signs that sooner or later Mexico and the United States will face off in a war.
These are all found in the different socio political issues and spheres facing the two countries, as well as the on the intentions of the United States politically at that time and the position of Mexico on this political aims and goals of the United States. For example, despite its diplomatic relationship with Mexico, the United States nonetheless showed support for Texas, a part of the Mexican territory which the Mexican government considered as rebellious and something that Mexico hopes to address in the near future.
By siding to Mexico’s rebellious territory, the act was something that Mexico did not take positively. Another thing was the political instability of Mexico and its reluctance to agree to the terms that the US wanted regarding US’s buying of the former Mexican territories. It was ironic and was counterproductive in the long run that in hindsight, Mexico would have opted for agreeing in the payment of the US for the territories. After they were defeated in the war, they got less in exchange for the territories.
Had there been a stable government and had the peaceful negotiations been given the chance to run its course, it would have been possible that the war between US and Mexico would become unnecessary and would not be realized if the geo-political concerns of the US and Mexico were settled amicably through diplomatic channels (Haberle 4). The war was considered as something that happened because of the conflict of the two countries in disputed territories involving the United States, Mexico and Texas, as well as geo-political and military concerns in other places like California.
But the actual war (starting from the declaration of war by the US) came to be largely because of the actions of the Mexican government – their obstinacy in finding a common agreeable ground to settle the issue and their acts of violence against US soldiers particularly after the Mexican cavalry killed several US soldiers in an engagement now more popularly known as the Thornton Affair.
Because of these things: (1) the threat of war was felt and; (2) war became inevitable between US and Mexico in the end. Then US President Polk stressed to the US political leaders, who are shaping the position of the US on whether or not the US will go to war that American blood was spilled by Mexican soldiers inside American territory (Message of President Polk 1). It is an action that requires as a response nothing less than open war. The United States won the war because of many different factors.
One of the important factors owing to their victory in the war versus Mexico was the support of Texas behind the United States government. Because of the support of Texas, the United states army was able to position itself in a more geographically advantageous positions throughout Texas and close to the frontier of battle with relative ease, compared to the ability of the US army to move in Texas and in other parts of the disputed area of Mexico and the US if Texas supported Mexico and not the US.
Because of the support of Texas, the US army maneuver and strategy versus Mexico and the Mexican army became more manageable and the possibilities and opportunities that were presented to the US army because of this relationship proved important in the US army winning the war versus Mexico. Another important aspect of the war that led to the victory of the US in the war versus Mexico is the presence of different war weapons and tools and weapons of war that the US army was able to use to the hilt to defeat the Mexican army.
Size of the American army going against the size of the opposing Mexican army was also a factor, considering how in different occasions during the war the Mexican army was outnumbered by the US army. It was a position of disadvantage, often leading to defeat, rout and/or retreat by the Mexican army. Another important aspect in the analysis of how the US won the war is the military strength and strategy of the US army (Katcher, Embleton 3).
The US army was admirable during that time that John Sedgwick, a young second lieutenant during the war, described Major General Taylor’s army in these words: “There never was so fine an American army (Katcher, Embleton 3). ” The US army was led by soldiers who became popular. This because of how they effectively managed and maneuvered the US army during the different stages of battle and in different battle fronts, as well as soldiers who are already decorated in recognition of their efforts during the times in the past wherein the US was involved in other wars.
Some of the names in the US military that participated in the US-Mexico war in 1846 included the respected soldier-leaders like Thomas Jackson, George Meade, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses Grant. Soldiers of their calibre provided significant contribution towards the US winning the war through the soldiers it has in the battlefront. The effective US strategy included the placing of groups of soldiers in particular areas, as well as the use of resources like naval blockade so that the US army can achieve its main goal in the war (Katcher, Embleton 3).
Another reason for the victory of United States in the Mexico-US war in 1846 is the inability of Mexican soldiers to hold defensive positions and the inability of the Mexican army to sustain their offensive versus the American soldiers. There are many instances during the war that proved the inability of the Mexican army to maintain their defensive position or be successful in their offense. This gave the US army the chance to win the battles, and eventually win the war as well. For example, the Mexican forces intercepting Zachary Taylor who was on his way to relieve Fort Texas outnumbered the US forces by 1,000.
But because the Mexican army was unable to make use of this advantage and counter versus the American’s horse artillery, they were defeated in this encounter. Mexico never made a serious threat to defeat the US army during the course of the war. It did not show enough strong for a convincing and important offensive thrust to push the invaders off and away; while at the same time, the poor defensive strategy of the Mexican army led to the US’ victorious entry inside Mexican territory (Katcher, Embleton 3). An important aspect of the victory of the US army in the war versus Mexico is the impact of desertion in the Mexican army.
Because of the desertion that the Mexican army experienced inside its ranks, the army became weaker and weaker and became more inferior compared to the US army, number and strength-wise. This is not surprising, considering the fact that many of the soldiers fighting for the Mexican army were conscripted by the Mexican government. Many of these conscripts were not very happy to soldier or to put their lives on the line to die for something which is generally political in the first place (Meed 67). This lack of sense of alliance by the conscripts to the Mexican army weakened the Mexican army and made the victory of US soldiers and the US army.
The victory of the US in the US-Mexico war in 1846 was something that was accomplished easier compared to the possible stand that the Mexican army would have made against the advancing US army if the Mexican soldiers were loyal, stood and fight and did not deserted. Soldiers who do not approve of being conscripted into the army and those who are not interested in fighting the US for Mexico deserted, leaving the army when there is an opportunity, and the deserting soldier often simply heads home to his hometown (Meed 67).
The war between the US and Mexico in 1846 was prompted by the results of political alliances, as well as political goals, aims and objectives of the two countries at that time. The US was fortunate to have had the advantages in its side. It allowed the US army victory versus the Mexican army which suffered from desertion, poor military strategy, poor and unstable political leadership while facing a bigger and more determined US army advancing inside Mexico to finally put a stop in the war and make the Mexican government agreeable to a treaty that will bring peace back in Mexico as well as in the United States.
Douglas Meed. The Mexican War, 1846-1848. Routledge, 2003. Haberle, S. The Mexican War, 1846-1848. Capstone Pr Inc. , 2003. Katcher, Philip R. and Embleton, Gerry A. The Mexican-American War, 1846-1848. Osprey Publishing, Limited, 1989. “Message of President Polk, May 11, 1846. ” Yale Law School. 2008. 12 June 2009 <http://www. yale. edu/lawweb/avalon/presiden/messages/polk01. htm>. “The Mexican War. ” Latin American Studies. 12 June 2009 <http://www. latinamericanstudies. org/mexican. htm>.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 27 December 2016
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