Taking what was never ours

Tyler Cole

Students at Saddleback and Irvine Valley need to remember that none of us would be here today if it wasn’t for the Mexican-American War.

President James K. Polk justified the conflict, which lasted from 1846 to 1848, by claiming it was America’s Manifest Destiny to reach from coast to coast. Manifest Destiny was a term coined by Jane McMannus Storm meaning that God had ordained the United States that it was the country’s responsibility to bring America’s culture, government, and religion to the conquered areas.

Mexico had just won a bloody revolution against Spain and had a shaky government at best. Polk applied tremendous pressure on the newly formed government to sell California and New Mexico (Texas was actually its own country at the time). They threatened to attack Texas in response. This played into Polk’s hand, and he sent his army down to Mexico to defend the country from this “hostile enemy.”

Fighting broke out in April of 1846, officially starting the war. It was a joke. The highly superior American troops, with the aid of the newest battlefield technology, and fighting a country lacking the infrastructure and capital backbone of the United States, dominated on all four fronts. General Taylor defeated the Mexicans in the north, while Winfield Scott and his troops sailed into the Port of Vera Cruz and captured Mexico City in the central campaign. Colonel Kearny took New Mexico with little resistance and moved on through to mop up California.

This war was the first in which the United States of America invaded another country. It was nothing but a bully attacking a nerd for his lunch money. At the time, the U.S. was growing in both population and ego, and many young political aspires, too young to have fought in the Revolution, were waiting for a chance to become heroes. General Taylor would go on to win the presidency based on his popular public appeal from the war.

This “we want what we want, and were going to take it” attitude still drives our country today. Look at the war in Iraq. Only a fool would look at the conflict and think we are there to save the Iraqi people from Saddam and set up democracy. We’re in Iraq for one reason only: fuel. The world will soon be without this precious resource, and you’d be a damn fool to think the United States of America isn’t going to do everything in its power to protect its assets in the Middle East.

Polk said, “I want land”, and he got it. Bush said, “I want fuel,” and now we’re in the Middle East fighting for it. It must be nice to be President of the United States, and not have to worry about any consequences. After all, we are America and what we say is the absolute truth, and if you don’t agree, you can be wiped off the map.

“We white, educated Americans, not you dirty Mexicans, have the true right to live in the land out West. And because of that, we will come down there and kill your men, children, and women until you cede the lands we are after,” said Polk through his actions in 1846. Because of this we can all sit in our classrooms today and thank good old President Polk for being a true American hero and opening the lands out west for expansion.

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