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Mexican-American War

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  • 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, and 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 them. 

    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. 

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