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Was the United States Justified in Going to War with Mexico?

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Presentation on theme: "Was the United States Justified in Going to War with Mexico?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Was the United States Justified in Going to War with Mexico?

2 Review 1. What river did Texas and the US believe was the proper border between Mexico and Texas? The Rio Grande 2. What river did Mexico believe was the proper border between Texas and Mexico? The Nueces River 3. Where were General Zachary Taylor soldiers attacked? The American soldiers were attacked just north of the Rio Grande in the disputed territory. 4. Imagine that you are a journalist reporting on the attack the week after it happened. Discuss how you will report the incident differently if you are a: Pro-American journalist: American troops were viscously attacked and killed on American soil. The Mexican army ambushed our men with a larger force, and now we have to respond. General Taylor and President Polk must take strong actions to prevent such a crime from happening again. War may be inevitable. Pro–Mexican journalist: The Mexican army successfully defended itself from an invasion. American soldiers were on Mexican soil without permission and deserved to be attacked. Our nation must defend itself and has a right to do so when invaded. We regret the loss of life, but America seems committed to aggressive acts. We will defend our land!


4 Document A 1. How does John O’Sullivan feel about the United States annexing Texas? - He is pleased and it is time for the opposition to be quiet 2. In your own words, what does O’Sullivan mean when he says it is “our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence”? - It is clear that God has given the entire continent of North America for the US to settle 3. After Texas, What is the next likely candidate for American annexation? - California 4. What does O’Sullivan have to say about Mexico's ability to govern? - Mexico is too stupid and tied up with its own problems to govern well. 5. What do you suppose O’Sullivan means by “the Anglo-Saxon foot”? - It refers to the arrival and settlement of white people. 6. How can this document be used to justify America’s going to war with Mexico? - The war would help America spread democracy and “civilized” values into western lands. It would be good for the people in those areas. Also, if one did believe God had a plan for America, then war with Mexico was simply following through on God’s wishes. Finally, if one believes in survival of the fittest among nations, then it might be seen as inevitable that the US would eventually control land to the Pacific. 7. How can this document be used to argue against America going to war with Mexico? - America’s war with Mexico was a form of imperialism, where the stronger just grabs from the weak. Behind this imperialism was prejudice and greed for land.


6 Document B What river did Texas and President Polk regard as the Texas-Mexico border? The Del Norte (Rio Grande) 2. Would Mexico have viewed as Mexican advance north of the Rio Grande an invasion of the US? Mexico regarded the land north of the Rio Grande all the way to the Nueces to be Mexico. It was not an invasion. It was n act to support their claim. 3. Where did the April 24 fight between Mexican and American soldiers occur? On the north bank of the Rio in the disputed territory 4. What was the response of Congress to Polk’s war message? Despite the Mexican-American skirmish occurring in disputed territory, President Polk won overwhelming support from both the Senate (40-2) and the House (174-14) for going to war. 5. How does this document help answer the Mini-Q question: Was the US justified in going to war with Mexico? Pro: Polk is making the case that Texas annexed itself to the US with the understanding that the Rio Grande was her southern border. The US is now bound to protect that southern Texas ground. Anti: this document is an example of a strained argument, especially when we know that Mexico never accepted the Texas secession or annexation.


8 Document C Whose point of view is held by the author of the document?
Jesus Velasco-Marquez, a Mexican point of view 2. How did the Mexican government feel about the annexation of Texas by the US? The Mexican government did not like Texas annexation by the US government. Many Mexicans did not accept the fact of Texas separation from Mexico. Annexation by the US seemed like theft. 3. According to the author, why did a Mexican force attack Zachary Taylor’s troops when they arrived at the Rio Grande River? The Mexicans regarded Zachary Taylor’s presence along the Rio Grande to be an invasion of Mexican Territory. As El Tiempo said, the Americans were like a bandit. They had to be stopped. 4. How does this document help answer the question: Was the US justified in going to war with Mexico? If one agrees with this viewpoint, then Polk’s argument in Document B looks rather empty and calculating. Polk was not fighting to protect Americans on American soil, he was provoking the Mexican government into firing the first shot.


10 Document D 1. After achieving independence from Spain in 1821, did Mexico make slavery legal or illegal? Slavery was declared illegal in Mexico (which included the province of Texas). 2. Sumner mentions a “disgraceful robbery.” Who robbed what from whom? The US was robbing Mexico of its northern province of Texas 3. Did Charles Sumner have the support of the people of Massachusetts? Provide evidence and explain your thinking. Yes. We learn in the document source line that the Massachusetts state legislature passed Sumner’s Objections to the Mexican War. Since we know that the legislature was popularly elected, we can infer that Sumner had the support of the majority of white males in Massachusetts. 4. How does his document help answer the question: Was the US justified in going to war with Mexico? The document provides two reasons for not going to war with Mexico: 1) it would result in the expansion of slave territory in the US; 2) It was robbery to take another country’s land

11 Now, it is your turn….. It is your turn to answer the question: Was the US justified in going to War with Mexico? Think about your reasoning behind it and be able to defend your answer…. Let the Debate begin!!!

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