HistorySpanish settlement of the westInternational borders have always been centers of conflict, and theU. S. -Mexican border is no exception. With the European colonizing the NewWorld, it was a matter of time before the powers collided. The Spanishsettled what is today Mexico, while the English settled what is to day theUnited States.
When the two colonial powers did meet what is today theUnited States’ Southwest, it was not England and Spain Rather the twopowers were the United States and Mexico. Both Counties had broken off fromtheir mother countries. The conflict that erupted between the two countrieswhere a direct result of different nation policies. The United States had apolicy of westward expansion, while Mexico had a policy of self protection. The Americans never had a written policy of expansion What they had wasthe idea of Manifest Destiny.
Manifest Destiny was the belief that theUnited States had the right to expand westward to the Pacific ocean. On theother hand, Mexico was a new country wanting to protect itself from outsidepowers. Evidence of U. S. expansion is seen with the independence of Texasfrom Mexico.
The strongest evidence of U. S. expansion goals is with theMexican-American War. From the beginning, the war was conceived as anopportunity for land expansion. Mexico feared the United States expansiongoals. During the 16th century, the Spanish began to settle the region.
TheSpanish had all ready conquered and settled Central Mexico. Now they wantedto expand their land holdings north. The first expedition into the region,that is today the United States Southwest, was with Corando. Corandoreported a region rich in resources, soon after people started to settle theregion. The driving force behind the settlement was silver in the region. The Spanish settled the region through three major corridors; central,western and eastern.
The first settlements were mainly through the centralcorridor. The Spanish went thorough what is now the modern Mexican state ofChihuahua into the U. S. state of New Mexico. Eventually the Spanishestablished the city of Santa Fe in 1689.
The eastern corridor was throughmodern day Texas and led to the establishment of San Antonio. The easternexpansion was caused by the French expansion into modern day Louisiana. TheSpanish crown wanted a buffer between the French in Louisiana and centralMexico. The last corridor of expansion was in the west, through the sea,which led to the establishment of San Diego in 1769 and Los Angles in 1781. The Spanish were not the only European power to colonize the new world;French, English and the Dutch also settled North and South America.
TheSpanish and the French settled what is present day U. S-Mexico border region. The French settled modern day U. S. midwest, while the Spanish settledpresent day Mexico and U.
S. southwest. As time went on, European influencein the region diminished. . The French sold there claims to the UnitedStates, in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase.
Mexico gained independencefrom Spain in 1821. Once the United States bought the Louisiana Purchase,western expansion began. This set the stage for major conflict in theregion. The United States gained independence from England in 1775. After 1775, theAmericans started to expand west. By the time Mexico gained independence,the United States had reached the Mexican frontier.
Mexico needed to protectits northern borders. To protect the border region, Mexico needed topopulate the area. Mexico continued the policy started by Spain of allowingAmericans to settle Texas. The Americans had to follow Mexican law, religionand customs. The settlement of Texas played into the United States’expansion plans. Eventually Mexico City closed Texas from more Americans from entering.
This angered the Americans wanting to enter and Americans already living inTexas. Texas revolted from Mexico in 1833. Mexicans did live in Texas, andfought for the independence of Texas. The majority of Texans were Americansand fought for their independence. After the war the Americans intentionallyor non-intentionally forced most Mexicans out of Texas. The ones that stayedfaced racial tensions that continue to today.
After gaining independence from Mexico, Texas wanted to join the UnitedStates immediately. The U. S. Congress voted against Texas from joining theUnion. Congress was worried that annexation of Texas would anger Mexico.
Mexico had never officially recognized Texas as independent. Congress wasconcerned that annexation would start a war with Mexico. Mexico’s repose toAmerican annexation was not the only factor in deciding against annexation. If Texas was to become a state, it would be a slave state. At the time, theUnited States an even balance between slave and non-slave states. Texasentering the Union would disrupt the balance, giving slave states anadvantage in the U.
S. House and Senate. Since the United States was notready to annex Texas, Texas declared itself a sovereign country. In 1837President Andrew Jackson formally recognized Texas a country. Texas wanted to be part of the United States.
It needed the protection ofthe Untied States. President Tyler could not get the 2/3 majority needed toadmit Texas. Instead, he changed the law to require only a simple majority. It was not until 1845 and two Presidents later that Texas was annexed intothe United States. Mexico protested the admission of Texas into the UnitedStates. The United States saw Mexico’s protest as a excuse to spend troopsinto TexasThe annexation of Texas was a represented the United States expansion goals.
The United States wanted to settle in Texas, but Mexico owned the land. That did not matter to the United States, they settled in the regionregardless. The Americans that settled the region agreed to Mexican law andcustoms, but still considered themselves Americans. After the annexation ofTexas, Texas also wanted to expand.
Texas claimed that New Mexico andCalifornia were part of Texas. The boundary with Mexico was also disputed. The United States claimed that the Texas border was at the Rio Grande. Mexico disagreed, Mexico stated the border was at Nueces River. The UnitedStates did try to settle matters diplomatically.
The United States sentinexperienced diplomat John Slidell. Slidell tried to buy area known as theU. S. Southwest. Slidell, being an inexperienced diplomat, was rejected. Notonly was he not successful in buying the land, he aroused Mexican fears.
Thisset the stage for the Mexican-American War. . The United States also had no written policy of expansion, but thegovernment quietly supported it. The United States has always had troops theregion, even though they held no land in the region The United States keptships off the coast of California. In 1842 the U.
S. commander in the region,Commodore Thomas Jones, attacked and took the city of Monterrey inCalifornia. He falsely believed that Texas and Mexico were at war. Once herealized his mistake he withdrew his forces and apologized to the Mexiangovernment for his action and claimed that he did not act with orders fromthe U. S. government.
Although Jones claimed that he did not act with orders from the U. S. government, clearly the government did not stop the practice. Anotherexample of the United State’s expansion goals was the Mexican-American War.
This is the first time America has fought a war with land expansion as itsmain goal. The war started on April 25 1846 with the attack from Mexicantroops and the counter attack from General Taylor of the U. S. Army. Taylorsent a message to President Polk that hostilities have started. PresidentPolk, with a pre-drafted declaration of war, asked Congress to declare waragainst Mexico.
President Polk knew that Mexico would lose the war and wouldgain new lands in the end. The Mexican-American war lasted two years, and ended with the signing of theTreaty of Guadeloupe on February 2 1848. The United States had succeeded inwinning the war. With the Treaty of Guadeloupe the United States hadsucceeded in completing its Manifest Destiny. The Treaty itself representedthe United States expansion goals.
The United States wanted to settle onwere the international border was to be. Mexico wanted the border to northof the Rio Grande river, but finally decided upon the middle of the RioGrande river. Mexico having been bankrupt from the war, agreed to take the15 million as payment for the vast land. In addition, the United Statesagreed to pay off all Mexican debts owed to the United States.
This amountwas small in comparison to what the United States gained in territory. TheUnited States took advantage of a weak country of obtained its expansiongoals. Another example of the United States taking advantage of Mexico is theGasden Purchase. The Gasden Purchase was ratified in 1854 for the sellingprice of 10 million. Mexico was going through rough economical time anddesperately needed the money.
The United States seeing an opportunity tobuild a railroad through the region brought the land at a cheap price. Theselling of the Gasden Purchase was the down fall of President Santa Ana, andled to his replacement. The conflicts along the border region were a direct result of U. S.
expansion policies and Mexican fear for the United States. The Americans sawManifest Destiny, westward expansion, as there God given right. The UnitedStates proved often that it supported policy of expansion. With theMexican-American war, the United States completed it’s Manifest Destiny. TheUnited States completed Manifest Destiny at the cost of the Mexicangovernment and its people.