*Includes accounts of the fighting
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
When various revolutions mostly forced the Europeans out of the continent, Texas ceased to belong to Spain and France to become a part of the Mexican Empire; later it was an independent country, and currently one of the 50 states of the United States. During a short period, rebellious Texas again separated from the U.S. to join the Confederate States of America with other secessionist states.
Of course, the most important war of all for Texas came in the early 19th century, and the common story heard in America is about rebellion against intolerance, oppression and Mexican cruelty. The Battle of the Alamo in particular, surrounded by legend and testimonies of heroism, is a textbook example of the fight for freedom, comparable to the Jewish defenders during the Roman siege at Masada. The words "martyrs" and "Mexican tyranny" are almost always present in the recounts, and "Remember the Alamo!" is both a slogan of self-glorification and martyrdom that remains one of the most famous phrases in America.
Texas formally asked to be annexed by the United States in 1845. This annexation angered the Mexican government, which still considered Texas to be part of its territory. Mexico had previously warned that the annexation of Texas would cause Mexico to declare war on the United States.
When the annexation bill was passed by Congress, it included an additional provocation to Mexico: it claimed that the southern border of Texas was the Rio Grande. The actual territory controlled by the Republic of Texas did not extend nearly to the Rio Grande, and this border would represent a further loss of territory to the United States.
When a Mexican patrol attacked American cavalry in the disputed area north of the Rio Grande, President Polk went to Congress for a declaration of war. The declaration passed on May 13, 1846. The war against Mexico was unpopular with the opposition Whig party, especially in the North. Opponents of the war denounced it as a war of aggression, and denied that there had been a valid reason for war.
Small American military units were quickly able to occupy key points in California, including San Francisco and Los Angeles. Although California was sparsely populated, some Mexican inhabitants formed an effective resistance which was eventually put down in 1847 by American reinforcements. Subsequently, a larger American army was sent to invade central Mexico, and managed to capture the Mexican capital, Mexico City, on September 13, 1847. Although a large Mexican army was still fighting American forces in northeast Mexico and Texas, news of the capital falling caused it to retreat to try to retake the capital. After the defeat of the last Mexican army, major hostilities ended.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War in February 1848. Mexico agreed to sell over half its territory for less than half of the money the United States had offered only two years earlier. As the Army occupied most of Mexico's major cities, Mexico had no choice but to accept the American terms. The new territory acquired in the treaty included all or part of the present day states of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Texas Revolution and Mexican-American War: The History and Legacy of the Conflicts that Led to Mexico's Cession of the American Southwest looks at the controversial wars and their aftermath. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the conflicts like never before.