Mexican American War and Civil Term Paper

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Mexican-American War and Civil War

The Mexican-American war between the two neighboring countries can be considered to have played an important role in the shaping of the history of the two nations. The 1846-48 conflict represented a defining moment for the two especially due to the essential issues they posed for both countries. In this sense, the issue of race and class distinction was an important aspect of the war which pointed out the differences between the two as well as the essential nature of such aspect at the time of the war.

The war pointed out the wide differences between two totally opposing societies. The American nation represented a new emerging society in which the norms and the rules were inspired by an old system of laws and democratic beliefs, an issue which had an important role in determining the way in which the society would later evolve. From this point-of-view, it can be said that "the Americans, 20 million strong, were a hard-driving, egalitarian, vigorous people. They fervently believed the 'Manifest Destiny' of the United States was ordained by God to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Theirs was a society based on a democracy founded on British common law, the European Enlightenment, and a secular government" (Meed, 2003, 13). Therefore, in their struggle for supremacy, according to the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, they were driven not so much by an absolutist desire to control the land surrounding them, but rather by a supreme mission of exceptional values.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Mexican American War and Civil War Assignment

In opposition to this state of facts, the Mexican nation and the society was one created on the roots of the colonial system. Although the United States was as well, to a certain extent the result of the British colonial system, the Mexican state still preserved the signs of the Spanish rule. Even more, the strategies employed by the British as opposed to those used by the Spanish conquistadors were different to such an extent that while in the first case the colonial rule gave way to a democratic system, in the second case, it established a corrupt, unequal social and economic system. This image of the Mexican society was during the 19th century obvious. Thus, Mexico was "an older, more traditional, aristocratic society of seven million Mexicans racked by endemic factionalism and revolt. Mexico had a received religion, structured castes and a monarchical-styled political system that was won't to pose as a democracy. It was a land divided by race, caste, and a massive economic gulf between rich landowners, with their palatial haciendas, and the mass of landless peasants. There was a burgeoning nationalism among the elite and a spirit of machismo resistance to invaders among many of the people, yet among the landless and the indigenous Indians, who had little stake in the country, there was apathy and indifference" (Meed, 2003, 13).

The issue of race and class distinction during the Mexican war must be seen from the perspective of the political and economic situation in the region. Therefore, the American government was encouraging the emigration in Texas as a means of establishing a more comprehensive grip on the area, while the Mexican government tried to limit and even restrict it (Jenkins, 1997). Therefore, it is clear that the American side used the issue of the population as a means to increase its influence in Texas, while the Mexicans used their authoritarian grip on the society and on the rules as a means of reducing the freedom of movement between the two regions.

The relationship between the two countries experienced events that led to the eventual war of the late 1840s. These revealed the class and race dimension of the future war. In this sense, during the late 30s, constant clashes between the Mexican soldiers stationed at the border of Texas and the occupants of Texas collided. These attempts to recapture the territory that declared itself independent in 1836 were a sign of deep nationalism streaming from the Mexican side. The fact that their political structure was one that strongly advocated nationalism as a means to defend themselves from foreign intervention determined soldiers to fight against the American nation, and not for the territory itself. This is why most Mexicans were unaware of the limited possibilities of their army, as" some Mexicans, perhaps blinded by national pride, felt confident that their army, more than 20,000 strong, was well enough equipped and trained to easily defeat the 7,000 American regulars who were scattered in small posts along the western frontier" (Meed, 2003, 18).

The distinctive nature of the two sides engaged in the conflict was obvious even at the level of the commanders in chief. In this sense, while the American side was led by young professionals trained precisely for the war, the Mexican army benefited from the leadership of noblemen who had little if any experience in the war (Meed, 2003). This was the result of the importance given to the social status in Mexico. More precisely, it was not the military skills which determined their appointment in the army, but rather the wealth at their disposal (Meed, 2003, 21).

The issue of class and race in the Mexican-American war is obvious from the point-of-view of their armies. Therefore, the differences between them showed, on the one hand, the fact that race was indeed an important issue and that class played a major role in what concerned the army.

The American army, although was led by experienced and trained militaries enrolled men that received a monthly pay and regular meals. Thus, for them it was considered similar to a job and were treated likewise. By comparison, the Mexican army was made up of peasants forced to leave their lots for a six years military stage (meed, 2003(. Therefore, from this point-of-view, it is clear that in Mexico low class people were treated as dispensable and the landowners had all the rights to dispose of them. Moreover, although noblemen were also required to take part in the war, the political influence they had enabled them to refuse the order of recruitment.

Race was important for both armies. In this sense, in the American army there was a wide variety of peoples and nationalities, thus, the army was based on immigrants from Ireland, China, and other regions of the world that had considered the U.S. their new country and were willing to fight for it. On the other hand, the Mexican army was made especially from Crilio Mexicans or of Mexican descent. Thus, people of Spanish descent often considered themselves too noble to engage in such battles as long as there are poor Mexican people forced to fight (Jenkins, 1997).

It can be said that the political situation and the economic distress that characterized the Mexican nation was in complete opposition with the vigor of the American side. Form this point-of-view, the issue of class and race played a major part in the way in which the war hostilities were conducted and the eventual positive result for the Americans.

The roles played by minority groups in the United States throughout history are important to be cosndiered because they shed light on the way in which these groups were treated and on their influence for the outcome of history. In this sense, the role of the black people during the Revolutionary war and the part played by the Indians in the Civil war, are relevant for pointing out the conditions both parts had to endure throughout history.

The motivation of the blacks to participate in the Revolutionary war as the desire for independence from their owners and from the peculiar institution which was slavery (Africans in America, n.d.). The fight between the Patriots and the Loyalists, aside from its particularly political aspects related to the supremacy of the British over the emergence of the American side, also took into consideration the issue of slavery. In this sense, slavery was considered especially by the Loyalists to represent a natural behavior of the society. Therefore, there was no need for the freedom of the slaves. On the other hand, for the black people, their freedom was their strongest desire. In this sense, "For black people, what mattered most was freedom. As the Revolutionary War spread through every region, those in bondage sided with whichever army promised them personal liberty" (Africans in America, n.d). With this perspective in mind, and aware of the possibility to exploit this desire, "the British actively recruited slaves belonging to Patriot masters and, consequently, more blacks fought for the Crown." (Africans in America, n.d.)

The role played by the Indian population in the Civil War was somewhat different. First and foremost it must be argued that the Civil War represented, above all, a fight for territory and for political influence. While the Ameircan Revolution represented a fight for independence and the war was conducted in the name of the American nation as opposed to the British influence, in the case of the Civil War this represented a national… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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