Political Outcomes of the Mexican-American War Essay

Post the Mexican – American War in 1846, there would be a plethora of political change that would be inevitable for the Mexicans, and the Americans. These changes would bring about a divide between the two countries that would keep them in a rivalry spanning over numerous decades. However, before this rivalry could occur, something would be needed to induce it. The Mexicans and the Americans would fight against each other for over a year until a victor would succeed. Ultimately, all the fighting would have an outcome of epic proportions due to the political losses and gains each country would encounter.

Though the end of the war brought Mexico further independence, it also contributed to political changes that resulted to territory loss, slavery disputes and many other aspects both the U. S. and Mexico would encounter. Ironically, the cause of the Mexican – American War was due to the politics of the U. S. President at the time, President Tyler. Tyler wanted to achieve a second term in presidency, but his name among the American people was not as well known in contrast to his opponent James K. Polk.

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President Tyler contemplated ways to make himself a more popular candidate, and came to a conclusion that would essentially foreshadow the coming of the war. He wanted his name to be associated with the thought of “American Expansion”, unfortunately he would never get that chance officially because he lost the election. However, in regards to his loss, he still had a desire to finish is initial plan. He went to Congress and made use of the Joint Resolution for an annexation, instead of a treaty. This will require a two-thirds majority agreement that Tyler did not have.

On the last day of his term however, he would send messengers to Texas (which at the time was not a U. S. territory) for the purpose of immediate annexation. This would not sit well with the Mexican nation (Heys) . After President Tyler’s little mishap, the war would come and go leaving the American and Mexican politics with remnants of its outcome. After the war ended, a slavery controversy began to rise between free and slave states. If the newly acquired Mexican territory allowed for slaves to be permitted, than the original slaveholding states would request greater representation in Congress.

Although the Southern states (slaveholders) had a smaller population size as a whole, they were the ones who suffered the most casualties in comparison to the North. Obviously, the Southerners believed the Wilmot Proviso was unjust towards them, seeing that they were the ones risking the majority of their lives (“Westward Expansion”). The Wilmot Proviso was written by a Pennsylvanian Senator David Wilmot which was an amendment that stated none of the territory acquired from the Mexican War would permit slavery (Wilmot Proviso, 2007). The bill was passed twice through the House without having a vote from the Senate.

Instead, the Senate created its own bill that excluded the proviso. The Wilmot proviso created a drastic bitterness between the Northern and Southern states and how they viewed slavery in relation to their political perspectives. By the new election period of 1848, the Wilmot proviso would be ignored by the Whig and Democratic parties leaving it for the Republicans to take hold of later on. In addition to the Southern slave states having discrepancies with the Wilmot proviso, they would also participate in the repealing of the Missouri Compromise.

This particular compromise states that anything beneath the 36”30’ latitude of Missouri is a slave state with (with the exception of Missouri). This regulated which states would permit slaves and which would not. In layman’s term, it would physically characterize the Northern (free) and Southern (slave) states, drawing the line at Missouri’s southernmost boarder (Kansas – Nebraska Act, 2010). Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, would introduce the Kansas – Nebraska Act with regards to it stipulating that the issue of slavery would be solely decided upon by the residents of that particular territory.

This concept would be known to be Popular Sovereignty. The Kansas – Nebraska Act would perform in somewhat contradictory ways to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, but simultaneously taking its concepts into consideration. But, this act would come at a heavy price of violence between Kansas settlers about pro-slavery and anti-slavery views. However, the act would also instill debates upon whether or not Texas would be a free or slave state. Being annexed would stir up controversy on the topic. Either way decided, free or slave, it would make the U. S. have an unbalance of free and slave states.

In regards to the Mexican politics, obviously a plethora of imperative people, and situations would change due to the war. A quite apparent political outcome is the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This treaty was essentially the United States paying $15 million to the Mexican nation in turn for the land they acquired and settled disputes over Texas (Mexicans After the U. S. – Mexican War, 2009). On February 2, 1848, the American and Mexican representatives would agree and sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This agreement furthered the U. S’s purpose for manifest destiny, making the country stretch from the Atlantic, to the Pacific Ocean.

This treaty would increase the American’s land by about 1/3 of its original size. Acquiring the Mexican provinces of California and Nuevo Mexico would include the future states of Nevada, Utah, California, and also sections of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Arizona. The new change would bring about millions of acres of fertile valleys, mountain ranges, prairies, and deserts that were now available for American development. Due to this treaty, Mexico lost a vast majority of its land. This lost would also settle the southern boarder of Texas to be the Rio Grande (Nardo, 84).

Although, both sides had opposition when it came to deciding upon the boarder, the agreement between representatives of both nations ensured the set boundary between the U. S. and Mexico. Although the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo formally ended the Mexican – American War in 1848, over the next 6 years, tensions between the 2 governments would continue to simmer. This tension would result in the Gadsden Purchase. After the war, Mexico demanded monetary compensation from the U. S. because of the Treaty to ensure their safety from Native American attacks. Under the Treaty, the U.

S. guaranteed Mexico’s safety from such attacks. Unfortunately, the U. S. did not agree to these stipulations because the Treaty entitled protection to Mexico, not financial compensation for attacks that have already transpired. Also a contributing factor to the tension between the 2 governments were the American citizens illegally coming into Mexico trying provoke rebellions in an effort to gain territory (“Office of the Historian” ). In 1853, Americans were evicted from their property in the Mesilla Valley by Mexican officials. However, when the U. S. overnment did not respond to this action, William Lane, Governor of Nuevo Mexico declared the Mesilla Valley apart of the U. S. territory of Nuevo Mexico. In response to this new claim, Mexican President Antonio de Santa Anna sent his troops into the area. With hopes to mediate the situation, U. S. President Franklin Pierce sent the new U. S. minister James Gadsden to Mexico to negotiate with President Antonio de Santa Anna. William Marcy, the Secretary of State, instructed Gadsden to renegotiate the boarder decision so it can be inclusive when it came to the transcontinental railroad decision.

Gadsden was also to settle the financial claims between the countries related to the Garay Project, and arrange for a release of the U. S. financial obligations for Native American attacks. Gadsden and Santa Anna would meet on September 25, 1853 to discuss the negotiating options to be set. President Pierce sent Gadsden verbal instructions from Christopher Ward to negotiate the lower parts of California and the northern part of Mexico from $15 million – $50 million. However, Ward lied to Gadsden stating how the president wanted claims of the Garay party to be addressed in any treaty dealing with the Mexican government.

On the contrary, President Pierce never gave Ward these instructions when he sent him. Pierce did not believe in government involvement when it came to private affairs between companies and foreign governments. Although Santa Anna refused the stipulations of the negotiation, he knew he would need the money to send an army to put a stop to the ongoing rebellions. On December 30, 2863 Santa Anna and Gadsden signed a treaty stating that the United States would pay $15 million for 45, 000 sq. miles south of the Nuevo Mexico territory.

The treaty also entitled the United States government to working towards preventing American raids along Mexico’s boarders, while simultaneously voiding their responsibility form Native American attacks (Ibid). With a large deal of difficulty resulting in increasing tension between the northern and southern states, the treaty would be revised on April 25, 1854 by the U. S. Senate. The newly revised treaty would reduce the amount of money Mexico would receive to $10 million, reduce the amount of land the U. S. would receive to 29,670 sq. miles, and remove any mention of Native American attacks and private claims.

President Pierce signed the treaty, while Gadsden would present the treaty to Santa Anna, who signed it on June 8, 1854 (Ibid). After the Gadsden Purchase, the U. S. would encounter a new dispute over the boarder which would cause a strain over the payment Mexico received. Unfortunately, the treaty failed to resolve the problems encompassing financial claims and boarder attacks. Nevertheless, it did set the southern boarder of the present day United States, despite the beliefs by many policymakers at the time, that the United States would eventually take the idea of manifest destiny into Mexico (Ibid).

Moreover, contributing to the political outcomes for Mexico were the numerous presidents and ministers of foreign relations they had during and after the war. Throughout the war, Mexico had 7 presidents and 10 different ministers. The instability of the national government during and after the war led to a new despotic regime and eventually a civil war. However, after the war ended, a new leader would take the presidency over Mexico. After the former President Antonio de Santa Anna was exiled to Cuba during the war, Jose Joaquin de Herrera was elected to the nation’s highest office.

The new dictator’s attempts to avoid war outraged the citizens of Mexico, so they led a coup that sought after him. Unfortunately, Herrera could not defeat the U. S. army, as did Santa Anna when he returned to redeem himself. With the end of the war resulting in the nation’s defeat and demoralization, the nation looked to a leader to restore the order. In 1848, Herrera was elected to be president of Mexico. Post the war and his election, Herrera successfully repressed the rebellions in the Huasteca, Misantla, Vera Cruz, Guanajuato, and the Yucatan using the $15 million dollars the U. S gave them.

After stabilizing his nation, Herrera gave his presidential power to his elected successor Mariano Arista in 1850. Although Herrera was not in Mexico’s public political eye any longer, he was still a captivating political observer of the national drama until his death came in 1854 (General Jose Joaquin de Herrera, 2006). The outcome of the Mexican – American war brought about changes neither nations thought would come. Disputes over slavery, territory boundaries, and treaties were all results of the political discrepancies each nation would experience. The negative outcomes of this war would result in Mexico having n unstable government and economy both during and after the war, while the United States would have violent uproars concerning slavery and the idea of manifest destiny. Although both nations suffered negative political outcomes, there were positives that kept the negatives at equilibrium. At the end of the war, the United States would gain a vast majority of the western part of the country and it would continue to grow, expand, and become economically stable. Mexico, on the other hand would learn to adapt to the major changes the country has experienced, and further their independence as a separate nation.