The Texas Times

The Texas Revolution and the War with Mexico By Camden Czech

Problems With Spain And Mexico

In 1821, Stephen Austin started a colony in Texas with the permission of the Spanish government, who wanted the settlers to repel attacking natives. Stephan’s father, Moses, wanted to start a colony in Texas, but he died before he could. Stephen carried out his legacy by starting the colony. Although the start of the colony was successful, Spain soon gave Mexico its independence, making the colony invalid and in need of a start-over. Stephen went Mexico City to ask for permission to have the colony again, and the process took almost a year to complete. Finally, Stephen, and two hundred and ninety-seven families, often called the “Old Three Hundred,” made the colony successful in its first years.

Texas Gains Independence

Texas Gains Independence

In 1829, eight years after the start of the Texas colony, Texans started to talk about rebellion against the Mexican rule. Texans that were Americans were unfamiliar with Mexican laws and they were used to governing themselves. They didn’t like how all official documents were in Spanish, the native language of Mexico. They wanted to break away and become their own nation, and then join the United States. The President of Mexico, Antonio López de Santa Anna, heard this, he grew angry and decided to tax the colony for the first time, as well as send troops to Texas. Texans knew that a break was necessary, so they elected Sam Houston as their general, and they fought for their independence. After defeats at Goliad and the Alamo, the Texans came through in 1836, with the victory at San Jacinto, and they forced Santa Anna to sign a treaty saying that Texas was now a free country, called the Lone Star Republic, and everyone in Texas was now free.
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Manifest Destiny and Trouble between the United States and Mexico

In 1844, James K. Polk became the President if the United States, and his main goal was to expand the country. He expanded on the idea of Manifest Destiny, saying that America should possess the whole of the Continent, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. He quickly made deals with Britain, getting the land of modern day Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Down South was a different story. In 1845, the United States finally admitted Texas as a state, and Mexico was not happy with that. They still had claims on Mexico, and they thought that admitting Texas into the Union was an act of war. The two countries stationed troops on either side of the Rio Grande, where there was a border disagreement. Mexico wanted the border to Texas to be at the Nueces River, but the US wanted the border to be at the Rio Grande. Soon, tensions came to a head, and shots were fired. The War with Mexico had just begun.

War with Mexico

In May of 1846, James K. Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to station troops on the northern bank of the Rio Grande to oppose Mexican forces on the southern bank. A scuffle broke out. Shots were fired. The war had begun. Thousands of volunteers rushed to enlist in the army. The United States was gearing up for war. Mexico was also preparing. They collected their armies in defence of their territories. General Stephen Kearney had a force at Fort Leavenworth, in Kansas. He was to lead the force into New Mexico, and onto California. He used persuasion to make Mexicans let them pass into California, allowing them to take the entire territory. In the South, the US was attacking Mexico from two directions. One force was General Taylor’s, who battled toward the city of Monterrey in Northern Mexico. Another general, General Winfield Scott, led an advance towards Mexico City, but were met with fierce resistance in the city of Chapultepec. He defeated them, and moved on to take Mexico City. The war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
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Completing Manifest Destiny

In 1848, after the signing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico acknowledged that Texas was part of the United States. They also ceded a vast part of the Southwest for the United States. This included California, New Mexico, parts of Colorado and Wyoming, and most of Arizona. The US agreed to pay Mexico fifteen million dollars, and take care of the eighty thousand Mexican citizens that were now part of the United States. In 1853, the United States bought the southern end of Arizona, called the Gadsden Purchase, for ten million dollars. Finally, the United States had completed their Manifest Destiny.

Was it Necessary To Kick Native Americans And Mexicans Off Their Land When Completing Manifest Destiny?

Should Americans have carried out their dream of Manifest Destiny?

Manifest Destiny. What do you think when you hear those words? Do you think about yourself, and what your life was meant for? Do you think about your family and the legacy you will leave behind when you pass away? We all have these thoughts. Our Founding Fathers and their descendants had the same thoughts. They had to think about our Nation as a whole, and they had to think about what the nation would become in the future. In the mid-1800s, Americans became fixed on this idea, proposed by James K. Polk, called Manifest Destiny. John O’Sullivan gave it its name. He meant “Manifest” to mean clear or obvious, and he meant “Destiny” to mean bound to happen. It called for America to stretch from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Americans eventually succeeded with this idea, but they had to deal with some obstacles along the way. Was it okay to push the Mexicans and the Native Americans out of territory that we thought we were destined to have?

I think that it was okay to follow the American Dream that was Manifest Destiny. It kept all Americans unified and ready to defend their nation with their lives. Americans were ready to give up their lives for this purpose, and the government made it its policy. The concept of Manifest Destiny shaped how the government reacted to certain obstacles, such as the border line of the Republic of Texas. Mexico wanted the border of the Republic to be at the Nueces River, but Texas wanted it at the Rio Grande River. Both Nations stationed troops outside the banks of the Rio Grande, and a border scuffle broke out, shots were fired, and the war between the US and Mexico began.

The War with Mexico was all about gaining territory in the west for America. Texas had already applied for statehood in America, but America turned it down for avoiding the risk of having war with Mexico, which they did anyways. Mexico controlled all of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and parts of Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska. Americans wanted all of that land, especially after just getting modern day Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Americans, with some trouble, succeeded in beating Mexicans down in Mexico itself, and then sending another force to capture all of California, leading to the Mexican Cession. The Mexican Cession gave the United States Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, Utah, Nevada, and the Southern half of California. Five years later, the US made the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico, getting the Southern part of Arizona, and almost completing the modern day border we have today.

People will start asking,” Why did Americans just push Mexicans and Natives out of their rightful land?” It wasn’t right for the US to just move other rightful citizens out of their rightful lands. That is just not true. The US moved Native Americans to another part of the country, not out of the country. When Mexico gave the Southwest to the US, they left eighty thousand Mexicans in the care of the US. The US promised to take care of them and they also paid fifteen million dollars to Mexico for the Mexican Cession. In all, only some people were even moved, or chose to move themselves. Most citizens were cared for by the US government, and they didn’t want to move, because they already had it good, with a house and all of the basic needs a person needs at their disposal.

In conclusion, America was right to carry out their dream of, “Owning land from sea to shining sea,” or their dream of Manifest Destiny. The Republic of Texas and the Republic of California both joined the United States during/after the war. Americans had finally achieved their goal, and they were happy to be united. For the first time, all the modern states (besides Hawaii and Alaska) came together and actually became the “United States.” Although the US had been a little ruthless with the Native Americans, they came through with their new Mexican population. The Mexican population soon grew and became a beautiful new culture among the hundreds that were already among every American’s daily life. As John O’Sullivan says, “It is our Manifest Destiny to possess the whole of the continent, from sea to shining sea,” and Americans really did a great job on nailing that point home and achieving their dreams then, so we can reach for our dreams for generations to come.