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Mexican artillery at Matamoros opened fire on Fort Texas, which replied with its own guns. The bombardment continued for hours [56] and expanded as Mexican forces gradually surrounded the fort. Thirteen U. On May 8, Zachary Taylor and 2, troops arrived to relieve the fort.

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Army employed "flying artillery", their term for horse artillery , a type of mobile light artillery that was mounted on horse carriages with the entire crew riding horses into battle. It had a devastating effect on the Mexican army. In contrast to the "flying artillery" of the Americans, the Mexican cannons at the Battle of Palo Alto fired at such slow velocities that it was possible for American soldiers to dodge artillery rounds.

It provided a natural fortification, but during the retreat, Mexican troops were scattered, making communication difficult. During the Battle of Resaca de la Palma the next day, the two sides engaged in fierce hand-to-hand combat. Cavalry managed to capture the Mexican artillery, causing the Mexican side to retreat—a retreat that turned into a rout. Mexican casualties were heavy, and the Mexicans were forced to abandon their artillery and baggage.

Fort Brown inflicted additional casualties as the withdrawing troops passed by the fort.


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Many Mexican soldiers drowned trying to swim across the Rio Grande. In , relations between the two countries had deteriorated considerably and on April 23, , the president of Mexico issued a proclamation, declaring Mexico's intent to fight a "defensive war" against the encroachment of the United States. Congress approved the declaration of war on May 13, , after a few hours of debate, with southern Democrats in strong support. Sixty-seven Whigs voted against the war on a key slavery amendment, [64] but on the final passage only 14 Whigs voted no, [64] including Rep. John Quincy Adams.

In Mexico, although President Paredes issued a manifesto on May 23, , and a declaration of a defensive war on April 23, both of which are considered by some the de facto start of the war, Mexico officially declared war by Congress on July 7, After the U. Santa Anna returned to Mexico taking his place at the head of the army. Once in this position, he went back on his word, declaring himself president. As president, Santa Anna made an unsuccessful attempt to fight off the U. Santa Anna left for Veracruz in August The people of Mexico did not focus on Santa Anna's many military shortcomings and betrayals, opting to see him as a hero that never abandoned his people when they needed him most.

Despite his history of corruption, local people often cite Santa Anna as one of the most reliable people when it came to protecting Mexico from invasion. In the United States, increasingly divided by sectional rivalry, the war was a partisan issue and an essential element in the origins of the American Civil War. Most Whigs in the North and South opposed it; [66] most Democrats supported it.

O'Sullivan , editor of the Democratic Review , coined this phrase in its context, stating that it must be "our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions. Northern antislavery elements feared the expansion of the Southern Slave Power ; Whigs generally wanted to strengthen the economy with industrialization, not expand it with more land. Adams had first voiced concerns about expanding into Mexican territory in when he opposed Texas annexation.

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He continued this argument in for the same reason. War with Mexico would add new slavery territory to the nation. When the vote to go to war with Mexico came to a vote on May 13, Adams spoke a resounding "No! Only 13 others followed his lead. However, he later voted for war appropriations. Ex-slave Frederick Douglass opposed the war and was dismayed by the weakness of the anti-war movement.

None seem willing to take their stand for peace at all risks. Democrats wanted more land; northern Democrats were attracted by the possibilities in the far northwest. Joshua Giddings led a group of dissenters in Washington D. He called the war with Mexico "an aggressive, unholy, and unjust war", and voted against supplying soldiers and weapons.

He said: "In the murder of Mexicans upon their own soil, or in robbing them of their country, I can take no part either now or hereafter.

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The guilt of these crimes must rest on others. I will not participate in them. Fellow Whig Abraham Lincoln contested Polk's causes for the war. Polk had said that Mexico had "shed American blood upon American soil". Lincoln submitted eight " Spot Resolutions ", demanding that Polk state the exact spot where Thornton had been attacked and American blood shed, and clarify whether or not that location was actually American soil, or in fact had been claimed by Spain and Mexico.

Lincoln, too, refused to actually stop money for men or supplies.

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Whig Senator Thomas Corwin of Ohio gave a long speech indicting presidential war in We charge the President with usurping the war-making power Let us put a check upon this lust of dominion. We had territory enough, Heaven knew. Northern abolitionists attacked the war as an attempt by slave-owners to strengthen the grip of slavery and thus ensure their continued influence in the federal government.

Prominent artists and writers opposed the war. Thoreau, who served jail time for his opposition, turned a lecture into an essay now known as Civil Disobedience. Emerson was succinct, predicting that, "The United States will conquer Mexico, but it will be as a man who swallowed the arsenic which brings him down in turn.

Mexico will poison us.

Democratic Representative David Wilmot introduced the Wilmot Proviso , which would prohibit slavery in new territory acquired from Mexico. Wilmot's proposal passed the House but not the Senate, and it spurred further hostility between the factions. Besides alleging that the actions of Mexican military forces within the disputed boundary lands north of the Rio Grande constituted an attack on American soil, the war's advocates viewed the territories of New Mexico and California as only nominally Mexican possessions with very tenuous ties to Mexico.

They saw the territories as actually unsettled, ungoverned, and unprotected frontier lands, whose non-aboriginal population, where there was any at all, represented a substantial—in places even a majority—American component. Moreover, the territories were feared to be under imminent threat of acquisition by America's rival on the continent, the British. He also elaborated upon the many outstanding financial claims by American citizens against Mexico and argued that, in view of the country's insolvency, the cession of some large portion of its northern territories was the only indemnity realistically available as compensation.

This helped to rally congressional Democrats to his side, ensuring passage of his war measures and bolstering support for the war in the U. The Mexican—American War was the first U. Mexican coverage of the war both written by Mexicans and Americans based in Mexico was affected by press censorship, first by the Mexican government and later by the American military. The coverage of the war was an important development in the U.

The most important of these was George Wilkins Kendall , a Northerner who wrote for the New Orleans Picayune , and whose collected Dispatches from the Mexican War constitute an important primary source for the conflict. Moreover, Shelley Streetby demonstrates that the print revolution s—s , which preceded the U.

Along with written accounts of the war, there were war artists giving a visual dimension to the war at the time and immediately afterward. Carl Nebel 's visual depictions of the war are well known.

References - Social Sci LibreTexts

By getting constant reports from the battlefield, Americans became emotionally united as a community. News about the war always caused extraordinary popular excitement.


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In the Spring of , news about Zachary Taylor's victory at Palo Alto brought up a large crowd that met in a cotton textile town of Lowell, Massachusetts. In Chicago, a large concourse of citizens gathered in April to celebrate the victory of Buena Vista. After the declaration of war on May 13, , U.