The South-Western Dispute

Apr 20, 2013 by

     Now, one controversial issue in our history, which some people today bring up, is the Mexican-American War.  Its relevance to today consists in the resulting acquisition of the South West by the US.  Many people today view that as theft, which I will examine later.  For now, let us examine the events leading up to the war.

     Prior to the Mexican American war, Texas had fought a war of secession from Mexico.  During this war between General Santa Anna and Sam Houston.   This war is most famous for the Alamo.  Now, the way this war ended was very uneasy.  Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna and forced him to sign the treaty of Velasco, agreeing that Texas was to be an independent state and that the official border was to be the Rio Grande.  However, the government of Mexico refuted these terms, claiming that Santa Anna had no right to sign such a treaty and never ratified the agreement.  However, Texas and the United States saw the treaty as Legitimate and the US recognized it as independent.  When Texas was accepted as part of the United States, they saw the border as the Rio Grande, whereas Mexico saw it as the Nueces River.  Thus, a border dispute was in place when the US annexed Texas.

     Now, many point out that President Polk had ambitions on California, and that this was the cause for his instigating a war between Mexico and the US.  This is true, but, if you will, let us look at the course of events as they occurred.  First, America was finishing off a dispute over Oregon and the North West Border with Britain.  Now, Britain had designs of their own about acquiring California, which would threaten the US ability to defend their Oregon claims.  Second, when you look at what President Polk did and what Mexico did, you can hardly claim that Mexico is the noble country in this situation.  President Polk established troops to protect a border he claimed, Mexico attacked to defend a border they claimed.  They both acted in similar fashions.  Now, when you get into the realm of intentions, you may claim Polk is the villain, but the US I think can hardly be to blame.  Polk may have stationed troops in disputed territory, but he never ordered an attack on Mexican troops.  Mexico responded, without diplomacy, by attacking American troops.  If we are to hold Polk to modern day standards, Mexico should be held to the same standards and first demanded the withdrawal of American troops from the disputed territory.  However, if we are not holding Mexico to modern day standards, military campaigns to acquire land are hardly barbaric for the time.  Moreover, we did not fire the first shot, but egged Mexico on by putting troops on land we saw as legitimately ours.  If Cuba claimed Florida through some obscure questionable document and attacked us for stationing troops in Florida, we would hardly claim Cuba to be in the right.  As for any claims that we should not have taken California in the war but merely been content with keeping the border where we claimed it, keep in mind that we did not start the war, and this was common practice for the time.  If we applied this rule to every instance in the past, many countries could lay claims to others.  Wales could claim all of England.  Greece could claim Istanbul.  Spain would break up into several countries.  The entirety of North America would revert to the Native American tribes.  Northern Ireland would be claimed by the Irish.  It would be chaos.  I see these claims that Mexico had California stolen from them and California rightfully belongs to Mexico as being dreadfully ill-informed and not at all thought out.

     What do you think?

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