Mexican American War

The southwestern area of the United States was once owned by Spain. What we now recognize as Texas had been part of that area, and in 1821 Mexico became independent of Spain, and their territory included Texas.

Those living in Texas were not in agreement with the Mexican government, and they declared their independence in 1836 as the Republic of Texas. This all happened rather quickly, and Mexico was no happy about it. As Texas tried to maintain its independence, quite a few battles happened, including the famous Battle of The Alamo.

Mexico disagreed with the borderlines that were being created, and pretty soon, things heated up until there was an all-out war. The Mexican-American War lasted from 1846 to 1848, and most of it was all about Texas.

Once Texas declared that it was independent from Mexico, they elected Sam Houston as their first President. This all changed in 1845 when Texas was accepted as the 28th state of the United States.

In the meantime, Mexico was still angry about the borderlines being established so that Texas was claiming the valuable area that was south of the Rio Grande River.

By 1846 the President of the United States, James K. Polk, decided to send military forces to the borderline areas to protect it. It didn’t take long before both the U.S. troops and the Mexican troops were shooting. Once the battle started, War was declared against Mexico on July 7, 1846.

The two sides of the War included the forces on the U.S. side led by General Zachary Taylor and General Winfield Scott. On the Mexican side, their army was led by General Santa Ana. The U.S. military engaged the Mexican army at Palo Alto, and the Mexican army retreated.

Taking advantage of the victory, General Taylor led more troops into Mexico, and they fought at the City of Monterrey as well as the Buena Vista mountain pass. The U.S. troops were outnumbered at Buena Vista, with only 5,000 U.S. troops compared to Santa Ana’s 14,000

Mexican troops. However, even being overwhelmed, the U.S. troops still won the battle. The Mexican military wasn’t trained as well as the American troops, and they weren’t equipped to fight.

Politics is always part of War, and President Polk thought of Zachary Taylor as a potential rival. Because of his lack of confidence in Taylor, Polk sent a different set of troops to Mexico City led by General Scott, capturing it in Aug. of 1847.

By this time, the United States was in control of the Mexican capital city, and many of the Mexican people were divided on whether a war should continue. It was finally agreed upon to create a peace treaty between the United States and Mexico, and they signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

The treaty settled the border problem of Texas, and the Mexican government agreed to the previous border at the Rio Grande. The treaty also allowed them to sell a huge piece of land to the U.S. for $15 million. This includes the states that we know today as California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and parts of Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.

The treaty that Mexico signed meant that they gave up about 55% of its territory. Today’s historians refer to this as the Mexican Cession in the U.S. The Mexican-American War is considered to be the first American War that was fought on foreign soil.

What did you Learn?

What country originally owned the areas that we call the southwestern United States?

When Texas declared itself an independent republic, who did they elect as their President?
Sam Houston

What famous battle in Texas involved the Mexican army as the Texans fought for their independence?
Battle of The Alamo

What is the name of the treaty that was signed that ended the Mexican-American War?
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo>

What was the price of selling off a large territory that was included with the treaty?
$15 million

After the treaty was signed and the land sold, what percentage of territory did Mexico lose?