Por QueEstelle Gonzales Walgreen
166 Years Ago Today the U.S. Declared War on Mexico
Photo: Mexican American War Starts May 13th
For those of you done celebrating Cinco de Mayo and Mexico’s brief but glorious defeat of the French you might want to crack open another Corona celebrating U.S. declaring war on Mexico back in 1846 that gave the U.S. close to 10 new states.
I can guarantee you there are no celebrations in Mexico being held today or fond memories of the Mexican-American War of 1846 that started today May 13th. Mexico has always viewed this as an invasion by its not-so-friendly neighbor. Much is written about the ineptitude of Mexican President Valentin Farias, the weakness of Santa Ana but what is most remembered is that Mexico lost over fifty percent of the country in nearly 700 days.
Then President James K. Polk received overwhelming votes in favor of going to war with Mexico over Texas and borderland disputes. Mexico said certain parts of Texas were theirs, U.S. said no and also wanted to purchase California and New Mexico on the cheap.
The Democrats of the 1840s were the biggest proponents of the war and used ‘Manifest Destiny’ to justify the war with Mexico. Clearly the Latino voters who are overwhelming Democratic in the new Millenium have probably forgotten and forgiven.
President Polk went to ask Congress for permission, he got it and 166 years ago today war was declared.
The Mexican-American War was not historic for its endurance, only lasting two years but was historic in that it greatly increased the size of the U.S. that now included modern day California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and the majority of Arizona and Colorado and parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming all for $18 million dollars or in today’s dollars around $490 million. $3 million of the purchase price was actually debt forgiveness for U.S. citizens suing Mexico for damages to their property during their war of independence.
American forces entered Mexico swiftly and occupied New Mexico and California and went further south to capture Mexico City which resulted in the war ending or if you read Mexican history, ‘Mexico facing its ultimate shame’. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo laid out the deal and helped the U.S. realize its desire to expand across the continent.
Mexico in turn lost over fifty percent of its landmass but its citizens living in the purchased land were given automatic U.S. citizenship.
So when Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer and company wonder where all the Latinos come from she just needs to open up a history book which maybe hard since the state did ban Mexican-American studies. It needs to also stop insisting English be the official language because it’s definitely not the original language of the state.
And for those complaining that the Southwest and California are becoming too brown, it always was. For those complaining that there are too many undocumented Mexicans coming across the border into Texas, New Mexico and Arizona - maybe they are just going home.