The US-Mexican War started on 25 April 1846 and lasted for 2 years until 1848 (Bauer, 1992). The war broke out mainly because both the US and Mexico were interested in Texas, which had gained independence from Mexico in 1836. People have divided opinion on whether the US should have been involved in this war. On one side, some people argue that the US should not have been involved in the war because it had refused to incorporate Texas into the Union in 1836 after gaining independence. On the other side, some individuals hold that the US should have been involved in the war as retaliation after Mexico attacked American soldiers on the disputed land. However, this paper holds that the US should not have engaged in the 1846 Mexican-American War.
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The Mexican president at the time, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, had warned the US that any efforts to annex Texas would break the already fragile relationship between Mexico and the US (Frazier, 1998). However, the US president at the time ignored such warnings. Mexico and the US were equal partners in the region, and President James Polk should have respected the calls to leave Texas alone. The Mexican president was only concerned about the peace of the region. President de Santa Anna even went to the extent of begging the US to stay out of Texas, but President Polk was determined to annex Texas to the Union. Therefore, for the interest of peace in the region, the US should not have engaged Mexico in this bloody war.
To show its commitment to resolve the Texan conflict amicably, the Mexican government decided to negotiate with a low-level US government official. Having a low-level government official would keep politics out of the already volatile issue. However, the US government would not divorce the politics of supremacy from the confrontation, and thus it sent a minister to negotiate with Mexico. At this point, it is clear that the US was set for a military confrontation by defying all the demands from the Mexican government. If the US sent a low-profile government official as required, perhaps the war would have been averted.
However, the proponents of the war argue that Mexico had to be held responsible for attacking American troops and killing two officers (Henderson, 2008). Apparently, Mexico had no right to dictate whether Texas wanted to join the Union or remain an independent country. Texas needed help from its allies after being ravaged by the struggle for independence from Mexico. Therefore, the US was simply helping its ally at the time of need through annexation. Additionally, Mexico refused to honor its promise of receiving the US emissary with honor befitting an American government official in foreign land. Therefore, Mexico pushed the US into the war.
In conclusion, there are compelling reasons explaining why the US should or should not have engaged in the Mexican-American War. However, the US should not have engaged in the war. Mexico had categorically stated that the annexation of Texas to the United States would cause conflicts in the region, and President Polk should have respected this stand. Besides, Mexico indicated its willingness to negotiate with a low-profile US government official. However, the US sent a high-ranking minister in the government.
The proponents of the war hold that Mexico had no right to determine if Texas would join the US. However, this argument is weak because Mexico wanted peace in the region and the US should have respected that view. Therefore, the arguments on why the US should not have engaged in the war are highly compelling because peace should surpass supremacy battles.
Bauer, J. (1992). The Mexican War: 1846–1848. Winnipeg, MB: Bison Books.
Frazier, D. (1998). The U.S. and Mexico at war. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan.
Henderson, T. (2008). A glorious defeat: Mexico and its war with the United States. New York, NY: Hill and Wang.