US Mexico War Musings and Our Texas Vacation

Watched a history channel special on the war with Mexico last night and it made me feel bad.  A very unjust war of conquest, based on the doctrine of “Manifest Destiny”.  It was strange to see how that the US flag flew from the highest mountains of Monterrey, Saltillo, Puebla, Chapultepec and the Palacio on the Zocalo.  Am I glad we have all that land now?  Yes.  But I was just deeply saddened and ashamed by the way we took advantage of Mexico’s weakness to get all that territory. The same month we conquered Mexico City and gave them 15 million dollars for all that land, gold was discovered on the West Coast.  Maybe God gave Texas flagus the Civil War to punish us for the Mexican conquest just as Abraham Lincoln thought.

In contrast, I was very proud to show my in-laws all the historical sites of the Texas War of Independence a few weeks ago on vacation.  We toured the Alamo and the State Capital in Austin and got to hear about all the battles of the revolution.  We definitely had the right to independence from Mexico and it still stirs my Texan soul to hear the stories of blood shed for Texas for our freedom.

One of the most humorous exchanges with our guide (Spanish tour), was when my mother-in-law asked the guide why the Battle of San Jacinto (where General Houston routed the Mexican army of Santa Ana) was only 18 minutes long.  “Oh, that’s because the Mexicans were taking a “siesta” and came running out in their pajamas, unprepared for battle.”  My father-in-law smiled and said, “They did catch us sleeping, didn’t they, Amelia.”

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16 Responses to US Mexico War Musings and Our Texas Vacation

  1. RubeRad says:

    Next thing you know, you’ll be picketing on Columbus day too!

    More and more nowadays, I trust Wikipedia as a reference, because anybody that has a beef with any article has the right to edit the article — thus (assuming enough people with beefs about a subject exist) the content will be forced to evolve to a state that opposing beefs all agree has a fair and balanced NPOV (Neutral Point of View). I found this article on the war interesting, and it’s even more interesting to click on the “discussion” tab at the top, to see how people with beefs wrangle them out behind the scenes.

    So my take is that Mexico started it. Or rather, Texas started it with its war of independence, and when Texas was annexed to the U.S. (by Texas’ choice), the war was probably inevitable. So it’s not much point arguing about whether the understood border was the Rio Grande or the Nueces, or whether Polk or Taylor intented to provoke a war by building Fort Brown in contested territory, or whether Mexico started it all with the Thornton Affair.

    Once the war is started, then there is a winner and there is a loser. And the loser gets bent over for all the winner can take from them. Mexico’s lucky we didn’t just annex all the way down to Guatemala (why should manifest destiny work only in an east-west direction?), but instead we paid them 90% of our original asking price for CA/AZ/NM/etc.! Mexico would have been better off (more money, no war) if they had just sold to Slidell in the beginning.

  2. I see a major difference between Texas’ war of independence from Mexico and the USA’s landgrabbing invasion. I can’t find many historians that disagree that Polk provoked Mexico into a fight. Lincoln was strongly against the war, saying on the floor of congress, “You remind me of the farmer that says ‘I’m not greedy; I just want the land that is next to mine'”.

    Mexico was weak, divided, and extremely hard-headed about giving up any of their land (even though most of the settlers in the territories in question were Americans). But make no mistake: This was not a just war.

  3. Ben says:

    When did you become such a Lincoln fan? Used to be you would argue with the now glorified Grandpa Roy, saying you would have sided with the Confederacy (for loyalty, not slavery).

    Anyway, I also read the Wikipedia article and thought it presented a fairly balanced view. I agree that if you justify Texas’ war for independence, then there is some justification for the US defending sovereign territory. After all, Santa Ana did sign the Treaty giving up the land all the way down to the Rio Grande. It’s also evident that Mexico wanted Texas back. If we had granted them back to the Nueces, would they have stopped there? Not Santa Ana, I think.

    I do agree that forcing Mexico to give away California was questionable. At least we paid for it, and did not impose our imperialistic agenda on Mexico proper. It could also be argued that Spain (where Mexico got it from) obtained California,etc. in an immoral fashion.

    Isn’t this all a moot point with the reconquista? ;)

  4. Albino Hayford says:

    Ok, you guys have got to break free of Wikipedia and read some real history. President Polk believed, as many Americans did at the time, in the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, that is that it was America’s destiny from God to own the continent “from sea to shining sea.” When Mexico did not accept his monetary offer to purchase half of their country, he sent troops to the Rio Grande hoping to provoke the Mexicans into firing on them. It worked. That does not make a just war.

    As to Lincoln, this is not a north vs. south issue. Both Robert E. Lee and U.S. Grant fought against the Mexicans on the same team. We all share equal guilt for this immoral land grab.

    Where I differ from the radicals, is that I am not in favor of returning land to Mexico. I think the millions of Mexicans that live here now and benefit from our form of government is payment enough. And where would that stop? We would have to give the country back to England, and then to the American Indian. No, what’s done is done, and I, with Abraham Lincoln, believe that God probably allowed the Civil War as partial judgement for our greed.

    As to Texas independence, again, read your history books. Stephen F. Austin and the other founders of Texas were naturalized Mexican citizens who made every effort to accomodate the Mexican regime, and were screwed at every turn (Austin even languished in a Mexico City prison for over a year just for trying to negotiate a compromise).

    As far as ever getting Texas back? Come and take it. We’ll be waiting with our guns and we’ll see who wins.

  5. mariela says:

    It’s obvious you have been misinformed. Americans began setteling in the what is now texas part of mexico. Once there were the majority there they decided they did not like being part of mexico. Thus the provokation of these settlers began against mexico creating an international incident. Which of course became the US – Mexico war. As always these settlers cried that they were united states citizens and should not be subjected to the laws of Mexico! Hello! History only repeats itself. As for the belief that Mexico obtained california by ways of the spanish unlawful occupation of it. Well all I can say is we the Mexican people did not slaughter a whole race of people and continue to this day descriminating against them as you do to the NATIVE AMERICAN INDIANS. Mexico is more honorable than that!

  6. Mariela,

    The Americans who settled in Mexico did so at the invitation of Mexico. Mexico then did not keep any of its promises to them. To be fair, Mexico was changing governments every few months and was in chaos. All the settlers wanted was to be treated fairly according to the deal they had with the government. After they put Stephen Austin in a Mexico City prison, he came back discouraged, saying “We must fight for our independence.”

    The truth is, Mexico was treating the Texas settlers the same way they treated their own citizens — screwing them — the difference is that these settlers did not sit and take it.

    The Texas War for Independence and the U.S. Mexico war were TWO DIFFERENT WARS. Trying to make them the same conflict is not historically accurate.

    As to our native American population: they don’t pay taxes and get HUGE MONEY from the casinos they build on their reservations. When was the last time the government of Mexico gave BILLIONS of dollars to the Chamulas in Chiapas, for example?

    I love Mexico. I love her culture and her people. My wife is a Mexican woman from Saltillo, Coahuila. “Como Mexico no hay dos”. We just have a difference over the Texas War of Independence.

    Perhaps it is you who should read the history again.

  7. Echo_ohcE says:

    Mariela,

    Be quiet or we’ll start settling more of Mexico.

    Echo_ohcE

    PS Just joking.

  8. raul says:

    I think it was a big mistake when mexico allowed the anglos to live in texas because all they wanted was to be free, they wanted to have slaves. When they got into Mexico they pleaged loyalty to the mexican flag and its constitution they agreed to speak spanish and to not have any slaves so, what they did is that they broke the law, and as you may know many of them got into Texas illegaly when Mexico knew that all they wanted was to be independent from Mexico. They became traidors.

    It’s like all mexicans that now live in the U.S wanted to overtake any state and make their own rules and be independent from U.S.A with Mexico’s help or any other country. Everything that is going on rigth now with the hispanic community is almost the same, cause what U.S.A right now wants is that all hispanics speak english, follow the constitution and be loyal to this country, but they are discriminated if they were like the anglos, I had no doubt they would have taken any state with a hispanic mayority right now.

    history can be repeated. en un tienpo no muy lejano estas tierras fueron nuestras tarde o temprano volveran a nuestras manos

  9. LOL! Our answer as Texans is always the same, Raul; “Ven, machito.”

  10. Echo_ohcE says:

    Raul,

    I don’t want you to learn English perfectly, but I’d be much obliged if you’d learn what a run on sentence is.

    E

  11. Mac McDonald says:

    Can anyone identify the painting depicted above? Obviously the War with Mexico, but what and who was the artist?
    Thanks

  12. raul says:

    i hope you don’ move from texas when we get it back. la todo lo que sube baja el mundo da vueltas a veces estas arriba y a veces abajo. there is no better revange than the one is offered by god. remember el alamo 2

  13. RubeRad says:

    Can anyone identify the painting depicted above? Obviously the War with Mexico, but what and who was the artist?

    Actually, the picture shows Mexico City; I believe it’s by Scott…

  14. Gary Byrne says:

    Yes it was a disgrace like Vietnam was.

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