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Polk and the U. Pletcher Indiana University James K.
Polk Some people believe that President James K. Polk intentionally provoked the war with Mexico. What do you say about that? What Polk wanted was to push Mexico into negotiating with the United States, and he was willing to create a threat of war to do this.
If he had to fight, he wanted a short war and a quick victory. He never expected a long-drawn-out war. The Army was not ready for war and had never fought so far from home before. The country was divided. So Polk was taking a considerable risk in his bold stand toward Mexico.
Negotiations might have been possible if Polk had tried a different approach. Mexico had refused to recognize either the independence of Texas or its annexation by the United States, and when annexation occurred, broke relations and withdrew its minster from Washington.
Polk rightly believed that he had to restore diplomatic relations, so he sent a special temporary envoy to Mexico. The Mexicans expected that envoy, John Slidellwould offer an indemnity to settle the Texas question, after which Mexico would receive him or someone else as permanent minister.
Instead Polk made Slidell permanent minister and instructed him to open negotiations for the sale of California, ignoring Texas completely. This did not suit the Mexicans at all.
Also Polk had backed up Slidell by sending troops to the Rio Grande, which Texans claimed was their proper boundary. He did not dare receive Slidell for fear of being overthrown, as the opposition press was accusing him of planning to betray the country by selling Texas.
Since he could not be received, Slidell left Mexico City for a town a few miles away, and Herrera sent troops to the Rio Grande to confront the Americans.
Matters had reached an impasse. Polk now needed an excuse to declare war, expecting at the most to fight a few skirmishes on the Rio Grande and then start negotiating. The Mexicans gave him the excuse he needed.
The general commanding their troops on the Rio Grande sent a force across the river, and it ambushed a detachment of Americans and killed or captured all of them. The American general, Zachary Taylorreported this action as a Mexican attack and concluded: But Polk still did not expect the Mexicans to put up much of a fight.
When his brother in Europe learned of what had happened, he wanted to come home and enlist, but Polk told him not to, as the war would soon be over.
How important was the Texan boundary controversy as a cause of the war? For Polk it was more an excuse than a real cause. When he took office inthe Texans occupied most of what is now east Texas, and San Antonio was only a frontier settlement.
The Texans, like most American westerners, wanted to expand, and several years before Polk became president, they had sent a military expedition to take Santa Fe, to the west. The Mexicans beat them, so they had no claim to that part of the Rio Grande valley. The Mexicans also tried to reconquer the rest of Texas but failed, so an uneasy balance remained.
Obviously the Texan boundary dispute was a proper subject for negotiation with Mexico, but Polk made it part of his strong stand. How did this affect his relations with Mexico? Years before the U.
When Polk became president, negotiations had been reopened, and the states of the Middle West were clamoring for the U. Polk wanted to work out a compromise settlement without alienating the Western Senators and Congressmen, whose votes he needed for the rest of his legislative program.
His idea was to stall until England took the initiative in offering a settlement. About the time Slidell went to Mexico he succeeded, and England showed a disposition to negotiate some sort of compromise.
Up to that point Polk had been reluctant to force matters with Mexico. Fortunately for him, the British government became involved in a cabinet crisis of their own and did not want a quarrel with the U.
Their more moderate attitude toward Oregon, in a sense, freed Pok to press Mexico harder.Nov 25, · The Mexican American War was declared on 13 May or on it was April 25, that the American-Mexican war started as the result of border incident known as the Thornton Affair.
• Sectionalism • Mexican American War • Preparedness for the Civil War in the North and South • Major Battles of the Civil War c.
Analyze the impact of the Mexican War on growing sectionalism. US History Frameworks for the Georgia Standards of Excellence in Social Studies. For Mexico, the war was a series of tragedies. Besides the thousands of military and civilian deaths directly attributed to battles, the war left tens of thousands of orphans, widows and cripples.
The war was a training ground for American officers who would later fight on both sides in the Civil War. It was also politically divisive. Polk, in a simultaneous facedown with Great Britain, had achieved British recognition of American sovereignty in the Pacific Northwest to the 49th parallel.
U.S. attempts to purchase from Mexico the New Mexico and California territories failed. In , after a clash of Mexican and U.S. troops along the Rio Grande, the United States declared war. American troops occupied the lightly populated territory of New Mexico, then supported a revolt of settlers in California.
Mexican War!!! It was a war with Mexico during Many factors contributed to the start of the Mexican War. The main fuel on the fire was the annexation of .