Was the U.S justified in going to war with Mexico?

Expert Answers
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The United States went to war with Mexico in 1846 in what is known as the Mexican-American War. I will share both sides of the issue regarding whether the United States was justified in going to war with Mexico. Then, you will be able to make an informed choice.

There were people who believed we were justified in going to war with Mexico. There was a border dispute between the United States and Mexico over the border with Texas. We said the border was at the Rio Grande River, and Mexico said it was at the Nueces River. When we went to negotiate with Mexico, they refused to meet with us. Thus, when the Mexicans attacked our troops that were in the disputed territory, we went to war against Mexico.

The United States was also looking for a way to expand to the Pacific Ocean. We believed it was our duty to expand to the Pacific Ocean. This was part of a general plan our expansion known as Manifest Destiny. We believed we had a responsibility to bring our way of life and our progress and improvement in general to the lands in western part of what is now the United States.

There are people who believed we weren’t justified in going to war with Mexico. These people believed it was wrong to manufacture a war in order for us to spread our way of life to areas by the Pacific Ocean. They believed the concept of Manifest Destiny was a concept that put down other cultures and ways of living. These people didn’t subscribe to the feeling that it was acceptable for us to push our ways onto other people.

Those who believed we weren’t justified in going to war with Mexico believed we provoked the Mexicans by moving our troops into the disputed territory. They believed this was a provocative action toward Mexico that left Mexico with little choice but to attack us. These people believed we could have worked harder at reaching a peaceful solution with Mexico.

Now that you have ideas on both sides of the issue, do you believe we were justified in going to war against Mexico in 1846?

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question