For a long time in its history, the US has had problems with Mexico, many of which have occurred along their border. The U.S. - Mexican war, also referred to as the First American Intervention, began in 1846 and ended in 1848 where the US emerged victorious. The war was quite costly to the two countries, since lots of finances had to be used to fund it and many individuals lost their lives. America’s pursuit to engage in the war had some challenges despite the support it received from the Democrats of the Southern part of the nation, who thought they would strengthen their territories and gain more power over slaves. The occupants of the Northern part of America termed the war as aggressive and believed that robbing Mexicans of their country was uncalled for (Butler 15).
The most important reason why the US sought the war with the Mexicans was the idea of Manifest Destiny, whereby Americans believed that they had a right to expand their country at will. They were angered by the Mexican government who ignored their bid to buy California in 1835 and 1845. Prior to the war, both the US and Mexico had differing agendas and priorities. The US aimed at expanding its territories, while Mexico wanted to protect its land which it had just inherited from Spain. The immediate cause of the 1846-1848 war was the annexation of Texas by the US in 1845. Initially, Texas was a Northern Province of Mexico and some American settlers went to live there, since the area was underpopulated. However, they were not happy with how the Mexican government handled them, and by 1835, they revolted and sought independence through blood-spattering battles. In 1836, the then Mexican president signed an accord that declared Texas as an independent nation (George 634-6).
Texas had been engaged in war with Mexico for years since its independence and many Americans were unhappy with the way the Mexicans treated Texas. Therefore, Texas decided to join the US in 1845 and become its state. After the takeover, the US decided to introduce the border with Mexico at the Rio Grande River, a move that received much opposition from the Mexican government, which claimed that the border was along the Nueces River (Dishman 7). The two countries could not come to a consensus as to where their actual border was, and by March 1846, James Polk, who was America’s president at that time, ordered troops to claim the disputed regions by force. The Mexican authorities termed the move as unwelcome and, on 25th April 1846, they sent their troops who attacked and killed a number of US soldiers, the event that marked the onset of the war (Henry 3).
The war began and the US military led by General Taylor invaded Mexico in a bid to capture the Northern region. They wanted to confine the area and then forcibly restore peace between the two countries, but their advances were hampered by their Mexican counterparts who used guerilla warfare (Dishman 9). By September 1846, the Americans had managed to seize control over Mexico’s Northern region and were making advances southwards. The war had already resulted in too many human casualties and the Mexican president had already gone on exile. However, the Mexican leadership was hesitant to agree on any peaceful deal with the US despite having lost a large part of their land. They instead deployed more troops to counter the US invasion but all in vain.
After capturing the Northern half of Mexico, the US then wanted to seize control of Mexico City. This happened between March and September 1847, after some troops had been deployed to the country’s Eastern port city. The attempt was more difficult since the US military had opposition from not only the Mexican troops but also the civilians. However, they eventually succeeded amid a series of bloody battles, whereby thousands of people lost their lives, including US military personnel (Miller 2). By the end of 1847, the Mexicans had lost their grip on the war and on February 2, 1848, an agreement was reached between the two countries. According to the treaty, the US would keep the Northern region of Mexico. The US government thereby offered to give monetary compensation to the Mexicans in return and these proceedings officially marked the end of the war.
It is clear that the major reasons for the US entering into a war with Mexico was mainly because the Mexican government had rejected to sell part of its land to the United States. The first attempt was in 1835 and the second one in 1845, whereby the Americans wanted to purchase the region of California to no avail. Additionally, the annexation of Texas was another reason why the Mexican forces attacked the US troops for allegedly trying to expand the Texas border to the Rio Grande River. The war therefore began on April 1846 and was officially terminated on February 1848. Although the US emerged victorious by capturing the Northern region of Mexico, the war was quite costly to Americans who lost thousands of their military personnel. In addition, they had to spend lots of money to finance the war and to also compensate the Mexican government for their land. There has been a tense relation between the two countries ever since and many people still think that the US had no genuine reasons to engage Mexico in such a bloody war.