Causes of the Mexican War

The Mexican War lasted from 1846-1848 in the area now known as Texas.

What began as several small disputes eventually led into an armed conflict
between the considerably new nations of Mexico and the United States. The
geographical and political disputes are the most likely causes of the war. These
causes of this war became significant, when the outcome gave the United

States a platform to become one of the most powerful countries in the world.

The first sign of problems between the two countries began when the

United States bordered Mexico after the Louisiana Purchase. “With these areas
now available, American settlers began to move into them, and from there, they
began to enter illegally the sparsely inhabited Mexican territories of California ”

Nardo pg 21. Mexico was unable to deal with these invaders at the time because
they were still dealing with their revolution, but after the Mexican Republic was
established Mexico realized that the United States expansion could be a threat.

Mexico had recently acquired its independence from Spain in the

1820’s and America in the later half of the 1700’s. These new nations had were
unfamiliar with solving their disputes without war. “Although the new
country had established democratic form of government, most of the former class
differences among its citizens still remained. Like Mexico the United States had
extremes of wealth and poverty ” Nardo pg 12. Mexico believed in equality for all
people even though they had differences in their social class. The United States
also believed in equality for all people, even though slavery was practiced by

American citizens. The differences in which each country ran itself caused a small
sense of tension.

To try and help situation between Mexico and the United States, a law
student named Steve Austin developed a proposal for the American settlers in

Texas problem. “Austin promised that the settlers would give up allegiance to the

United States and become Mexican citizens. They would convert to Catholicism
and obey Mexican laws ” Nardo pg 17. This idea backfired when the settlers in

Texas disobeyed Mexican laws. They were too used to having free religion in the

United States and refused to become Catholic. There were several armed revolts
in Texas to any enforcement of the Mexican law. These uprisings by the United

States settlers intensified their feelings toward each other.

The possibility of the annexation of Texas by the United States further
irritated the developing situation. The Mexican Army clearly outnumbered the

Texan Defense and slowly but surely Mexico would end the revolts in Texas.

Though with the help of the United States, Texas would be able to fight the

Mexicans. “Subsequently in the minds of those who believed that the United

States forced war on Mexico as part of preconceived plan forces had in time of
peace encamped in and marched across the territory below the Nueces claimed by

Mexico-though, for that matter, all Texas to the Sabine was so claimed, and

Mexico had announced more than once that entry of Texas into the Union was in
and of itself to be regarded as equivalent to a declaration of war ” Henry pg 28.

Similar feelings were also shared on the other side of the border. “President

Jackson, nearing the end of office, feared that to annex would mean war with

Mexico and an upheaval in domestic politics. Not until the day before he left the

White House would he even recognize the Republic of Texas” Meltzer pg 41.

Though the other reason that Texas wasn’t immediately annexed was a slavery
issue. The North knew that Texas would enter as a slave state. Even though this
was not want the North wanted eventually Texas was annexed. “For several years
the politicians, not yet ready to meet the slavery issue head-on, dodged any debate
on annexation. Texas did not stand still meanwhile. She attracted thousands of
settlers with more liberal offers of land than the United States would make.

Within a decade the Texan population had jumped to 142,000. And by now,
across the border, Americans were ready to act on annexation” Meltzer pg 40.

The annexation of Texas by the United States caused more dispute between
the two countries. The Sabine was established as the boundary between United

States Louisiana and Texas, but when Texas became part of the United States the
dispute over where the Texas and Mexico boundary would be. “While continuing
to deny the existence of Texas as an independent state and its power to annex itself
to the United States, and in no way abating the Mexican claim to everything up