The War of Mexican Aggression

" . . . As honest men it behooves us to learn the
extent of our inheritance, and as brave ones not to
whimper if it should prove less than we had supposed."

—John Tyndall

Much in the news recently, especially in the Southwest, is the problem of illegal immigration from south of the border. Another frequent subject of media attention is the snowballing Mexican debt and the threat that this nation will not be able to meet its obligations. The two problems—a stagnant economy and the mass exodus northward—are interrelated and show no signs of easy resolution.

Many of the reporters on Mexico's present financial and social chaos take pains to say that our neighbor would have a far greater ability to handle its debts and its problems had not the United States taken so large a slice of its territory in the war of 1846-1848. The Mexican War, as this conflict is mistakenly called, is pictured as a case of American aggression—what some commentators call "the most disgraceful episode in American history."

Every reader of textbooks about the American experience, from grade school to college level, knows that the United States instigated the war with Mexico in 1846, that James K. Polk deliberately plotted a conflict of aggression against a weak and helpless neighbor to acquire territory he coveted, and that every American...

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