Sample History Paper on Causes of the Mexican-American War


The Mexican-American War (April 1846–February 1848) pitted the United States and
Mexico following the annexation of Texas in 1845 by the U.S. The war, which arose over a
dispute as to whether Texas started or ended at the Nueces River or the Rio Grande marked the
first U.S. armed conflict fought on foreign land. While Mexico was politically divided and
militarily unprepared, the U.S. on the other hand was all set and raring to go. It should not be
forgotten that at the time of the war, U.S. was led by an expansionist-minded president, James K.
Polk whose political agenda was to see the U.S. spread its territory to the Pacific Ocean. As fate
would have it, the U.S. forces registered successive victories that saw the U.S annex more than
500,000 square miles of Mexican land that included the present-day California, Utah, Nevada,
Arizona and New Mexico.
Although Texas had gained self-rule from Mexico in 1836, the U.S. refused to include it
into the Union; the reason being that the northern political interest was against a new slave state.
At the same time, the Mexico administration was abetting cross-border incursions and would
from time to time send signals that any attempts of annexation would be met with the full blunt
of its military force.
It is also worth noting that gold had been discovered in California some few days before
Mexico ceded the land to the United States following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. All the
same, the annexation process was hastily started after President Polk assumed office following
the 1844 elections. Polk also had his roving eye fixated on California, New Mexico and the U.S.
Southwest. When his gesture to purchase those lands was rebuked by Mexico, he initiated a war
that saw America troops amassing into a disputed lands lying between the Rio Grande and
Nueces River.

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Effects of the war
Like most wars, this war too had its social and economic impacts; for starters, Mexico
was forced to cede vast chunks of land including the present-day states of Arizona, California,
Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Often, most full-scale war requires a massive mobilization of
supplies by both sides, prompting the prices of goods and services on both sides of the divide –
the Mexico- American war was not an exception.
The loss of human lives continued to be profoundly felt by war survivors for many years.
In total, more than 5,800 Americans lost their lives or were wounded. Another 11,000 soldiers
succumbed to diseases and war wounds. It is estimated that more than $75 million was pumped
to fund the war. The newly conquered land elevated the United States to a continental
superpower status following the capture of superb ports on the Pacific coast. Nevertheless, this
also messed the balance between free and slave states, which partly contributed to the American
Civil War.
Mexico too had its fair of tragedies; apart from the thousands of military and civilian
causalities, the war left in its wake several thousands of orphans, widows and cripples. The fact
that fighting took place on Mexico territory, artillery shelling and gunfire left widespread
destruction to buildings in many cities, not to mention roads and ports. Mobilization and massive
movement army troops negatively affected the economy following both internal and external
disruption of trade. Massive recruitment of ordinary citizens left the land and commercial
businesses unattended causing a severe decline in agricultural and mineral production. The
aftermath of defeat gave rise to despotic regime causing political instability which led to another
civil war. But perhaps the worst effect of the war was psychological trauma after the humiliating

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defeat. Watching the enemy sit pretty on your erstwhile land severely wounded Mexican national
pride and the deep resentment of American.

Part Two
For my essay research, I picked the U.S. TV network, History Channel, and The
History Channel broadcasts documentary programs and historical fiction series while is
America's largest classroom and a trusted window to the world. I settled for the two websites
because of their authority, accuracy, objectivity and currency of the information they share with
their readers.
First and foremost, I had to confirm that the information on these websites covered my
scope; in that the information presented related to my topic and answered my thesis question.
Additionally, the issue covered was comprehensive and had sufficient depth and breadth. For
accuracy, reliability, and correctness of the content, I needed to look for supportive evidence. For
my case, the footnotes, reference list, cited sources – books and journal articles served that
purpose. Also perusing the content, there were spelling, grammar, and typographical mistakes.
How did I infer if the information from the two sources is accurate? First, I confirmed
when the information published, the information on the pages was not outdated and that the
pages were recently updated. I also confirmed that the links on these pages were not dead links.
Most importantly, I had to counter check the fact. For instance are there additional sources to
corroborate dubious facts, statistics and other claims?

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Looking keenly for citations, I had to verify that the authors and how they cite their
sources. For authenticity, I had to confirm that the authors are giving me a trail to the
information of the articles they have written including web address (URL), book, or journals.
Tracking such citations enabled me validate the originality of the material.
Finally, I had to learn more about the websites; for instance who are the sponsors, what is
the website’s philosophy and precisely who they are and what they present.

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Work cited

History Channel. “Causes and effects of the mexican-american war” (accessed June 3 , 2018).
Miller, Robert. “The Aftermath of War:The War Between the United States and Mexico.” (accessed June 3,

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Works Cited
Kagan, R. Is Democracy in Decline? The Weight of Geopolitics. Retrived from
2015 January 26.
Bartov, O. The New Republic. He Meant What He Said. Retrieved from, 2004 February