The Mexican-American War
was a war
fought between the United States and Mexico between 1846 and 1848. It is
also called the the US-Mexico War
. In the USA it is also known as
the Mexican War
; in Mexico it is also known as the North American
Invasion of Mexico
, the United States War Against Mexico
the War of Northern Agression
(this last name more commonly used
in the USA to refer to the American Civil War).
The war grew out of the Mexican conflict with the Texas. After having
won its independence from Mexico in 1836, the Republic of Texas was annexed
by the United States in 1845; however, the Mexican government still considered
Texas a part of their country. That same year the United States government
offended Mexico by offering to purchase California and New Mexico from
The war began in April 24, 1846 when Mexican cavalry entered an area
claimed by both the US and Mexico, between the rivers Grande and Nueces,
and surrounded a US scouting party under General Zachary Taylor; several
were killed. The United States declared war on Mexico on May 13th after
battles at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. In 1846 American forces took
several cities in California including (temporarily) Los Angeles. The Battle
of Monterey took place in September of 1846. February 22, 1847 saw the
battles of Buena Vista where General Taylor defeated the Mexicans under
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, securing the conquest of California and New
Mexico, and Veracruz, Cerro Gordo, and then the Battle of Chapultepec (on
the outskirts of Mexico City) as the U.S army under General Winfield Scott
drove into the heart of Mexico (his invasion started on March 9, 1847).
The Treaty of Cahuenga, signed on January 13, 1847 ended the fighting
in Calfornia, while the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February
2, 1848 and ended the War and gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas
as well as California and most of Arizona and New Mexico.
An interesting sidenote of the war was the Saint Patrick's Battalion
(San Patricios), a group, approximately 500-strong, of (largely
Irish-born) Americans who deserted the US Army in favor of the Mexican
side. Many of them fought against the brutal, racist discrimination they
had received from the U.S. Many identified with Mexico as Catholics. They
were hanged by the U.S. in a savage and purposely humiliating fashion;
making sure that the last thing these Irish men saw was the lowering of
the Mexican flag and the raising of the U.S. flag as the war was won. Many
historians choose to ignore (as did the U.S.) that these men were prisoners
of war. There are many monuments to these soldiers in present-day Mexico.
According to data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs,
the last surviving U.S. veteran of the conflict, Owen Thomas Edgar, died
on September 3, 1929 at the age of 98.
The war can be considered a result from the belief in the Manifest Destiny
by the US political class.