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Our manifest destiny [is] to
overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free
development of our yearly multiplying millions.
John L. O'Sullivan, 1845
Texas has been absorbed into
the Union as the inevitable fulfillment of the general law which
is rolling our population westward....It was disintegrated from
Mexico in the natural course of events, by a process perfectly
legitimate on its own part, blameless on ours....
California will, probably next
fall away from...Mexico...imbecile and distracted...The Anglo-Saxon
foot is already on its borders....All this without agency of
our government, without responsibility of our people--in the
natural flow of events, the spontaneous working of principles....
Democratic Review, 1845
Mexico has passed the boundary
of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American
blood upon American soil. She has proclaimed that hostilities
have commenced and that the two nations are now at war.
As war exists, and, notwithstanding all our efforts to avoid
it, exists by the act of Mexico herself, we are called upon
by every consideration of duty and patriotism to vindicate with
decision the honor, the rights, and the interests of our country.
Polk's War Message, 1846
How does it become a man to
behave toward this American government today? I answer that
he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for
an instant recognize that political organization as my government
which is the slave's government also.
Henry David Thoreau
Now we ask, whether any man
can coolly contemplate the idea of recalling our troops from
the [Mexican] territory we at present occupy...and...resign
this beautiful country to the custody of the ignorant cowards
and profligate ruffians who have ruled it for the last twenty-five
years? Why humanity cries out against it. Civilization and Christianity
protest against this reflux of the tide of barbarism and anarchy.
New York Evening Post, 1848
Have not results in Mexico taught
the invincibility of American arms?...The North Americans will
spread out far beyond their present bounds. They will encroach
again and again upon their neighbors. New territories will be
planted, declare their independence, and be annexed. We have
New Mexico and California! We will have Old Mexico and Cuba!
The isthmus cannot arrest--nor even the Saint Lawrence!! Time
has all of this in her womb. A hundred states will grow up where
now exists but thirty.
DeBow's Commercial Review,
"manifest destiny." What forces contributed to the
commitment to American expansion?
2. Why did
the United States go to war with Mexico?
3. How does
President Polk justify an American declaration of war against
Mexico? Do you find his explanation convincing?
4. What were
American motives for waging the war?
5. Why did
opponents oppose the war?
6. What were
the political consequences of the Mexican War?