Mexican American War

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The Mexican American war was one of many expressions of Manifest Destiny. Indeed, the zeitgeist during the mid 19th century was one of patriotism and ambition. Many Americans, believing that it was their God-given duty, wanted to claim territory that was not “rightly” being used. During this period, the United States nearly doubled in size because of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848, gaining massive amounts of what previously had been the Republic of Mexico. This meant that all the new territories in the Southwest could join the Union as slave states. In the realm of politics, the Mexican-American war had a more significant impact- the detonation of the slavery debate. The Mexican American War created unprecedented tensions over the …show more content…

With the war favoring America, David Wilmot, a Democratic Representative from Pennsylvania, proposed the prohibition of slavery across all the newly acquired lands. While the Wilmot Proviso was a failure, it did set up a foundation for the Free Soil Party (1848- 1854). The emergence of the Free Soil Party was a strong indicator that the Mexican American war had a profound effect on the slavery issue. The Free Soilers, spearheaded by radical abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and moderates like David Wilmot represented the unity of the abolitionists fighting against the expansion of slavery. In the period prior to the war, the abolitionists were divided in different camps. There were ones who were concerned about human rights and equality, and those who were concerned about the amount of representation the addition of slave states took away. The Mexican American war marked an end of such division and unified the abolitionists, which worsened tensions between the abolitionists and the supporters of …show more content…

It is true that racism and sectionalism had been an issue prior to the Mexican American war, but the unification of the abolitionists with the Wilmot Proviso and the failures of the Compromise of 1850 mark the difference between prior and post war periods. Indeed, many may argue that the Compromise of 1850 averted the crisis created by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, but the Compromise in truth was nothing more than a time bomb that would be detonated in 1862, the start of the bloodiest struggle ever fought on American soil, the Civil

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