The Mexican-American War was a short but important conflict between the United States and Mexico. It lasted from 1846 to 1948 and was fought over the state of Texas. The seeds of the war were sown in 1821 when Mexico declared its independence from Spain in 1821 and became an empire for a few short years.
This experiment with monarchy didn't work, and the country reverted to a republic, but was unstable and not prepared for any war. Native American raids on Mexican territory prompted the Mexican government to entice Americans to settle in the Mexican province of Texas, in order to push the Native Americans out.
In 1835, the Texan colonists from the US revolted against Mexico, and over the course of several months drove the Mexican troops out of the region. Mexico struck back, sending an army of 6,000 under the command of General Antonio López de Santa Anna into Texas with orders to kill all prisoners of war.
Several battles were fought, including the famous Battle of the Alamo, in which 200 Texans held off nearly 2,000 Mexican troops for thirteen days before being overrun. The reported brutality with which the Mexicans treated the Texans gave rise to the war slogan 'Remember the Alamo!' The war ultimately ended in a Texan military victory and the formation of the Texan Republic.
In 1845, the United States proposed annexation to Texas, who agreed and became the 28th US state. There was a problem-Mexico did not recognize Texas's sovereignty, and considered the newly-American land to be a part of Mexican territory. US President James Polk offered to buy the contested land but was turned down.
Mexican troops moved in to the contested land and fired on American troops stationed there. The war was unpopular with the public, many prominent figures, such as a young Abraham Lincoln, as well as anti-slavery advocate Frederick Douglass, opposed going to war. Despite this, Congress declared war on May 13th.
The war was quick and bloody. US troops, split into several forces under various commanders, pushed into northern Mexico with little resistance, as it was sparsely populated. Mexico called on General Antonio López de Santa Anna, who had led Mexican forces in the Texas Revolution, to lead the army. Though he lost the Battle of Buena Vista, in February 1847, Santa Anna soon became Mexico's president.
In short order, US troops pushed south, taking Veracruz, and marched on Mexico's capitol, Mexico City. In September of the same year they laid siege on the city and succeeded, ending the war. The results were the delineation of the US-Mexico border, the recognition of the US annexation of Texas by Mexico, and the sale of California to the United States... as well as the deaths of 13,283 Americans and 25,000 Mexicans. The war would go on to influence the Civil War, as it honed the experience of many in the US military.
To link to this Mexican-American War page, copy the following code to your site: