Motivation of the War Against Mexico in the 1840s

The Mexican-American war took place in 1846-1848 and resulted in the annexation of Texas by the American federal government. Tanaki notes that many Irish, who were cruelly conquered by the British population earlier, participated in this attack in the British American army. Americans started their expansion during the 1820s when they crossed the Mexican border. The Mexican side tried to resist this expansion to Texas, prohibiting further immigrant flow from the US into Texas and outlawing the institution of slavery. However, these policies were not welcomed by the rich part of the Mexican population because they favored the entrance of American capital and resources into the country. However, the Mexican population experienced extreme brutality from American invaders. Although the conquest of California was almost non-violent, the Southwest part was a place where autocracies towards Mexicans were common. The whole military campaign of white Americans in Mexico was a violation of native citizen’s human rights.

The reason for the war against Mexico was the desire to acquire new lands such as New Mexico, Texas, and California. The unwillingness of Mexican officials to negotiate on the transition of lands was the trigger for the start of the war. After the war ended, Mexicans experienced many sufferings from their position. After 1848, Mexicans had lost all their rights, with many wealthy people degraded from the positions of landlords to unskilled labor. Mexicans, against their will, worked in ranching, agriculture, and railroad construction for tiny wages. Nevertheless, Mexicans tried to oppose these practices, organizing strikes at their workplace. In general, in the second half of the 19th century, especially in the 1880s and 1890s, the Mexicans were in a position of subjection to the American invaders.

In justifying their actions against Mexicans and Indians, Americans used a discourse similar to the black population. White Americans considered Mexicans and Indians as immature and intellectually inferior. They thought that these non-white people were not able to appreciate the actual value of democratic institutions. It was inevitable for the state in which economic growth required land annexation (Mexico), the work of unfree labor (slavery), and land appropriation (Indians) to have national ideas and freedom based on racial dimensions. White Americans justified the expansion of the US by the superiority of the “Anglo-Saxon race.” Those characteristics were the reason make these minorities a great army of low-paid labor. These people were not included in the range of people whose “race” was appropriate for American democracy. Such perceptions were the absolute manifestation of racism and discrimination, deeply rooted in the American society of the 19th century.

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