Découvrez votre prochain livre préféré

Devenez membre aujourd'hui et lisez gratuitement pendant 30 jours
The Mexican-American War of 1846-48: A Deceitful Smoke Screen

The Mexican-American War of 1846-48: A Deceitful Smoke Screen

Lire l'aperçu

The Mexican-American War of 1846-48: A Deceitful Smoke Screen

346 pages
6 heures
Sep 16, 2013


Humberto Garza asks intriguing questions: Why were historical figures such as Commodore Stockton, Commodore Sloat, Consul Thomas O. Larkin, and Brigadier General Kearny securing for the United States all of Mexico’s territories (Alta California, Nuevo Mexico, and the Southwest) in July 1846, only two months after Congress authorized President Polk “to join an existing war”? How did they know the Mexican-American War had started? The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to end the war was signed on February 2, 1848, almost 2 years later, how did they know the outcome of the war and the terms of the treaty to cede territory? Garza presents a unique and thought-provoking perspective on the real causes of the Mexican American War. He courageously questions the validity of many American historians’ assertions as they relate to the causes leading to this war. Garza’s research reexamines the United States’ reasons for invading Mexico and what really happened at the Thornton Skirmish. He also closely reexamines relevant maps and explains their discrepancies in relation to the “disputed territory” in Texas, the Thornton Skirmish, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The reader is provided with historical facts, discrepancies, and vital information that previously have been blatantly omitted, through error or intentionality, from our history textbooks as to the factors leading to the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. Humberto Garza uses references, footnotes, and numerous direct quotes to provide the reader with a unique perspective of a series of intriguing events that dramatically altered the course of two nations; and both nations continue to live with the residual aftereffects.
Sep 16, 2013

À propos de l'auteur

Lié à The Mexican-American War of 1846-48

Livres associé
Articles associés

Catégories liées

Aperçu du livre

The Mexican-American War of 1846-48 - Humberto Garza



The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848 was a traumatic transformation for the people living in the Mexican states of Alta California, Tejas, Colorado and Nuevo México, as well as for the citizens of the United States who settled in these conquered territories. Many historians have written about this crucial expansionist time in American history. Many Anglo-American historians have described it as an Expansionist Movement, driven by Manifest Destiny, and even by the belief that God encouraged expansionism - a very unique notion that United States of America had the Divine Right to expand its territory because it was God’s will that we do so.

Our history textbooks, those adopted by our public school system, continue to indoctrinate our students with such fabricated stories and other similar fables, such as, The Mexicans fired first, The Mexicans wanted a war, and that the United States legally bought the American Southwest from Mexico for $15,000,000 instead of outright arrogating the territory at gunpoint. On numerous occasions, most readers of American History textbooks do not question such historical misrepresentations and often actually believe the patriotic fabrications as the true history of the United States. A few students may be more cautious, less receptive to the fairy tales presented as American History and may decide to read other more scholarly interpretations of these same historical events.

Humberto Garza dares to research and question American historians’ untruthful assertions as they related to the causes of this war. He courageously questions the validity of the printed contentions, which were made based on faulty and imperfect evidence. I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Humberto Garza, a well-known historian whose style of writing contains numerous book references, footnotes, and quotations, especially those who failed to mention, over-looked, or intentionally omitted significant historical facts in their findings. Garza provides the reader with historical facts, presents published historical discrepancies, and vital information, which may lead the reader to understand the real causes of the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. He questions previous American historians on their historical research, which may lack substance and provides in-depth analysis of the events. He writes about untold new historical facts and shares crucial historical elements that other historians either failed to mention or intentionally excluded. Humberto provides the reader with a new and unique Chicano perspective on the factors leading to the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848.

The author eloquently relates the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848 without censoring information or sugarcoating findings for the reader. A unique characteristic of this writer is that he will not alter or try to circumvent reporting harsh realities. Como me cuentan sus alumnos, "Me gusta su clase de historia porque el Maestro Garza habla sin pelos en la lengua (Like his students said to me, I like his history class because professor Garza calls it like it is). All in all, Humberto utilizes bilingual references, countless footnotes, and numerous direct quotations, which provides the reader with a well-balanced historic perspective. Humberto is the type of researcher who does his homework and his work reflects his dedication and professionalism. I highly recommend this book to any historian, student of American History, and especially to all citizens living in the American Southwest.

Eliseo V. Gamiño

Associate Dean of Student Learning

West Hills Community College District

Coalinga, California

November 3, 2006


According to at least three well-known American historians (Nevins, Smith, and Walker),¹ the United States’ actual shooting war with Mexico was ignited on April 25, 1846, during a shooting incident which became known as the Thornton’s Skirmish. According to Captain William J. Hardee, a participant in the Thornton Skirmish who was taken prisoner by Mexican troops in the disputed territory in what is now southwest Texas, he documented in his letter to General Zachary Taylor that during the skirmish seven American soldiers were killed and forty-five were captured. Among the captured were four wounded soldiers.²

About two weeks later, on May 11, 1846, President Polk appeared before Congress claiming that American blood had been spilled on American soil, and therefore, he requested that Congress provide his office the authorization to join the existing war, and the means for prosecuting the war with vigor, and thus hastening the restoration of peace.³ After a two-day debate on this issue, on May 13, 1846, Congress authorized the President to join the existing war, and allocated the resources to support the conflict.

However, even before the Thornton Skirmish incident occurred, Mexico and the United States had diplomatic problems that were unresolved and had been lingering, such as the pressing issues of boundaries, debts, claims, and the annexation of the independent Republic of Texas as a state of the United States. After the Thornton Skirmish, the first battle of the Mexican American War of 1846-1848, was fought on May 8, 1846, in the disputed territory⁴ and after more battles and 15 more months of fighting, the American troops entered Mexico City and defeated Mexico’s last standing army under the command of General Antonio López de Santa Anna on September 13, 1847.

Immediately thereafter, diplomats from both countries met near Mexico City and began negotiating the terms for peace. On February 2, 1848, these diplomats, after months of discussing and debating proposals and counterproposals, reached an agreement officially known as the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. So called, because this treaty was signed in Guadalupe Hidalgo, a small village in the Federal District (today known as Gustavo A. Madero, D. F.), just north of Mexico City. The treaty officially ceased all hostilities and Mexico ceded to the United States all its northern territories, which include the current states of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, and parts of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Kansas. Texas’ territories increased approximately 300 percent. This treaty also granted American citizenship to those Mexican⁵ citizens living in the conquered territories, with the same rights and privileges as any other American citizen. Many of these annexed Mexicans owned small farms, businesses, and even vast ranchos in the ceded territories.

The current interpretation of the Mexican American War by some Anglo-American historians include blaming the war on a conspiracy of the slavocracy of the Old South bent upon the extension of the slave states; a few accuse the settlers in the land-hungry West; others blame the commercial interests of the New England merchants who wanted a seaport on the west coast to establish trade with Asia; however, most blame the imperialistic mindset with expansionist motives conveniently defined as Manifest Destiny; and one or two lay the blame of the conflict at the doorsteps of individuals, in this case President James K. Polk.⁶ Sean Wilentz, a professor of American History and director of the American Studies program at Princeton University and considered one of the best historians of his generation wrote,

In the 1840s, President James Polk gained a reputation for deviousness over his alleged manufacturing of the war with Mexico … Abraham Lincoln, then an Illinois congressman, virtually labeled Polk a liar when he called him, from the floor of the House, a bewildered, confounded and miserably perplexed man and denounced the war as from beginning to end, the sheerest deception.

After meticulously pondering for several months on how to begin this re-examination of the chronology of the historical events which led to the Mexican American War of 1846-1848, I received an e-mail from an outstanding historian and scholar, Rodolfo F. Acuña, Professor of Chicano Studies at California State University, Northridge, California. An article he attached to his message was entitled, Yesterday Is Today in which he shared his concern that no one was celebrating the second of February, the date of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Acuña noted that this was the treaty that officially concluded the Mexican American War, granting American citizenship to all the former Mexicans living in the conquered territories (the American Southwest). He wondered why American citizens of Mexican descent do not celebrate this historic event, noting:

On February 2, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, and that this treaty … effectively ended the Mexican American War and the borders [U.S.A. & Mexico’s] shifted west and south. This is what Chicanos mean when they say the the borders crossed them.

On that date, Mexico’s northern territories were officially annexed by the United States and the Mexican citizens living in these conquered territories by virtue of this treaty were granted and guaranteed first class citizenship with all the rights and privileges of any other American. But why do American citizens of Mexican ancestry not celebrate this historic day? The reason(s) may be partially hidden in not knowing or understanding the history of the Mexicans in the United States. The history of these newly annexed citizens is a subject seemingly avoided by educators in the public sector, either because they have no awareness of the subject, or for subjective reasons, they might not want to teach this important aspect of American history. Whatever the reasons may be, this aspect of Mexican-American history is not commonly taught in our public educational institutions. Some school districts may intentionally not teach the history of these American citizens of Mexican ancestry to their students – including those schools where Mexicans constitute a significant percentage, if not the majority of the student body. Should these educational institutions choose to teach the history of the Mexicans in the United States, the students would learn, unlike other immigrants who intentionally and voluntarily came to the United States to seek a new life, Mexicans did not come to the United States. The United States came to them.⁹ In effect, in 1848, the new American border crossed them and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo made American citizens of these Mexicans, ostensibly protecting their property rights and guaranteeing them the same rights and privileges as any other American citizen. But in practice, America and its Anglo-American pioneers who were immigrants to the American Southwest systematically, did not keep their word, disrespected the existing treaties, and in numerous cases, legally plundered and robbed the Mexicans of all their worldly possessions (ranches, farms, businesses, livestock, homes, mining claims, and money), while the American government officials stood by and watched, and in some cases the legal authorities actually participated in this tragic violation of the civil rights of Mexican American citizens.

The United States does have a historical legacy of using its military might, police force, and justice system to control, subjugate, and intimidate whichever population it finds offensive, undesirable, frightening, or inconvenient. While these new American citizens of Mexican ancestry were being robbed and plundered of their wealth, these pioneers and settlers committed numerous crimes of rape and murder as well. The destitute Mexicans who survived this catastrophe were forced to live outside the city limits in a segregated environment and to work long hours for negligible wages.¹⁰ The newly annexed American citizens did not fully grasp the historical legacy the United States had for plundering, murdering and relieving non-white American citizens of their wealth, property, labor, or anything of value that white American pioneers wanted, but they quickly learned firsthand. These new nationalized American citizens soon realized that America had lied to them; and made false promises to Mexico as well. With time the newly annexed citizens in the American Southwest discovered that the United States never intended to honor the provisions contained in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. According to Dr. Ernesto Galarza:

Even before the ink dried, the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo were being violated by the United States government. In California, the politicians enacted unconstitutional laws that facilitated Anglo-American citizens plundering the economic resources of these new citizens. With the blessing of judges and often assisted by law-enforcement agencies, many Anglo-American citizens quickly and effectively subjugated the Mexicans and then forcefully relieved them of their worldly possessions. In numerous cases, the legal authorities participated in these unlawful, blatant acts of thievery and genocide.¹¹

The blatant disregard for treaties and the unconstitutional laws enacted should be taught in our public schools to help students under the racial tension and political beliefs of American citizens at the time. These historical laws, such as Civil Section 394 of 1850, State of California, prohibited Mexicans (this law applied to anybody that had up to ¼ Indian blood) from testifying against a white person in a court of law.¹² This law was interpreted to mean that Indians and Mexicans could not file charges against a white person. The American Indian was to be exterminated and the Mexicans were in essence, treated as undesirable citizens in the United States. Because of Civil Section 394, the Mexicans had no legal recourse available to them against abusive whites. Therefore, these Anglo-American newcomers to the Southwest mistreated, abused, robbed, raped, murdered, and when the victims complained to the legal authorities, the Mexicans were incarcerated on trumped-up charges; then denied due process of law, and even access to the judicial system. In numerous cases Mexican families were forcefully, but legally, evicted from their homes because some white persons, recorded in our history textbooks as squatters, would intentionally and erroneously claim the Mexican’s property as their. The Mexicans either left the property peacefully, or in some cases were murdered and the women raped by the claim-jumpers – and both of these proceedings were legal.¹³ The newly conquered Mexicans became known as unwanted immigrants, even though in most cases the Mexicans had settled the land first and had built towns, ranches, communities, churches, schools, and roads. The Mexicans were socially, economically and politically mislabeled foreigners, yet they were on their own land. As stated earlier, but may need to be repeated, to facilitate the disenfranchisement of Mexicans, in 1850, the State of California legalized what had been occurring since 1846, enacting laws that denied Mexicans the right to defend themselves in a court of law. Mexicans could not file charges, or even be witnesses, against whites in a court of law.¹⁴ Therefore, whatever an Anglo-American did to a Mexican was not against the law - even murder and rape was legal.

The initial persecution of these American citizens of Mexican ancestry in the newly annexed territories ended after the surviving Mexicans were left penniless. Within two years after the treaty was signed, the Mexican landowners who once owned tens of thousands of acres of land and tens of thousands of cattle were now destitute, homeless, and searching for a means of survival. Those Mexicans that survived the initial government sanctioned maltreatment against Mexican property owners and their descendants were destined to continue to suffer economic, political, social, educational, and legal abuses at the hands of Anglo-American citizens for over a century and a half. This on-going conflict left a legacy of hatred, suspicion, distrust, and discrimination among Anglo-Americans and Mexicans that still lingers today and once in a while lifts its ugly racist head. Even today, these racist attitudes manifest in English only requirements, border shootings, and denial of health services to immigrants and in such proposed laws as Proposition 200 in Arizona, which denies some public benefits to illegal immigrants.

Perhaps this is why Professor Rodolfo Acuña in the article noted earlier, expressed the idea that Yesterday Is Today. According to Acuña, Americans continue to make political and economic decisions in historical limbo because they are historically ignorant of their true American History. Professor Acuña argues that residents of Arizona and other Anglo-American citizens in their states continue to propose laws such as Proposition 200, the so-called Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, a law obviously fueled by anti-Mexican sentiments, rather than reason. Professor Acuña explains:

Proposition 200 requires state and local employees [such as teachers] to verify the immigration status of people applying for public benefits and to report undocumented immigrants or face possible criminal prosecution. It makes snitches out of teachers.¹⁵

It is ironic that Proposition 200 passed in Arizona – one of the territories the United States annexed from Mexico, or more historically correct, won at war and bought at gunpoint during the negotiations of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; or as Hermann Eduard von Holst, a German historian, commenting on Polk’s peace offer to Mexico, offering a weak Mexico a peace policy with drawn sword.¹⁶ Consequently, I have taken it upon myself to help clarify some mistakes made by American historians and to present new historical information that is commonly overlooked and/or intentionally excluded from our history textbooks. Our practice of intentionally omitting critical historical facts from state approved textbooks or just glossed over in our classrooms should cease. In those few school districts where Mexican or Mexican American History is taught, the truth is often misrepresented to unsuspecting, innocent students. Perhaps Mexican American history is not taught out of ignorance – we cannot teach what we do not know – but perhaps with the furor over (Mexican) immigration now being raised in Congress – now is the time to learn.

As American teachers, when we do teach the topic, The Mexican American War of 1846-48, evidence suggests that teachers who use the State approved history textbooks are guilty of teaching outright historical lies, half-truths; plus, as teachers, we also are guilty of sins of omission. As a historian, it appears that our history textbooks are replete with outright lies, misrepresentation of information, and because we are required to teach from these State approved textbooks, we are also guilty of excluding vital historical facts from our students. As teachers, we should teach American History, the approved and unapproved parts of history and stop lying. Furthermore, we justify the historical misinformation in the name of censorship to protect the children. Our unsuspecting students deserve a more inclusive and truthful representation of American historical events versus the subtle deceptions, incomplete facts and blatant misinformation that public schools currently pass off as American History.

In the following chapters the author will identify at least 10 historical discrepancies, which should have alerted Anglo-American historians that something was desperately wrong with their current interpretation of the Mexican American War of 1846-1848. In the meantime, another example of a sin of omission by historians concerning Mexican contributions to the United States that has been intentionally omitted from our American History textbooks was the sacrifices made by Hispanic¹⁷ soldiers who fought in the American Revolution. How many American citizens know that 6,000 Hispanic troops fought alongside the American patriots during the American Revolution?

During General George Washington’s stay at Valley Forge where his American Army encamped during the winter of 1777–1778, his troops consisted of about 8,000 volunteers. At that time, General Bernardo Gálvez offered and then provided General Washington over 6 billion silver pesos¹⁸ and 6,000 Hispanic troops. American citizens should ask the following questions: Was this information intentionally omitted from American History textbooks? Why was the contribution of these Hispanic troops who fought in the American Revolution not mentioned in American History textbooks? Especially since 6,000 Hispanic troops nearly doubled the size of Washington’s fighting forces at that time. The State approved textbooks used in our public school system do not contain this information either. To my knowledge, the textbooks used by the 50 states of the American union intentionally omit these very important facts from American History textbooks. The possibility exists that the loan of these six billion silver pesos and the 6,000 Hispanic troops at this critical juncture of the American Revolutionary War may have been the deciding factor in terms of what Washington needed to persevere and win the war. Consider that we might still be British subjects but for General Gálvez’s timely intervention. Of the 6,000 Hispanic troops who fought and often died alongside the American patriots, students of Mexican ancestry would be proud to learn that 3,000 troops were from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, and Cuban American students would be as equally proud to learn that 3,000 soldiers were from the island of Santiago de Cuba. These 6,000 Hispanic troops under the command of General Bernardo Gálvez delivered to General George Washington more than 5,000 British prisoners of war captured during combat. At the time, many of the patriot forces knew of these Hispanic soldiers and their invaluable contributions made towards winning the American Revolution. We can only speculate as to why American historians systematically, and it appears intentionally, omitted such important historical facts from American History textbooks. Will this very important sin of omission be corrected? If yes, when? Quién sabe.

If the history of Mexicans in the United States were taught in our public institutions, students would learn that as American citizens of Mexican ancestry, we have a written history in the North America continent that begins in 1386 B. C. As such, aside from indigenous Native Americans, Mexicans (Aztecs) were probably the oldest civilization with indigenous roots in the United States. This Mexican history was recorded in "La Piedra del Sol, commonly known in English as the Aztec Calendar." La Piedra del Sol is a history book cut in stone on which is recorded the history of the Aztecs when they resided in the Moab, Utah area.¹⁹ This unique stone is currently on display in El Museo de Antropologia, the Anthropological Museum, in Mexico City. Therefore, contrary to the popular belief in the United States today, not all Mexicans jumped the fence or swam the Río Bravo del Norte last week. In fact, a sizeable percentage of citizens of Mexican descent living in the United States are native to the American southwest and as natives and citizens of this country, these individuals have proudly served in the military and defended the United States against all enemies.

Another historical fact missing from our approved textbooks, Mexicans were the first vaqueros, cowboys, who worked with cattle, and should be credited for developing the cattle industry in the United States. Additionally, Mexicans fought at the Alamo with the Texican²⁰ rebels against Mexico for Texas independence. Mexicans fought in the American Civil War as well; and like their Anglo-American counterparts, some Mexicans fought for the Union; others fought for the Confederacy. Since the American Revolution, American soldiers of Mexican descent have fought to protect the freedoms so highly valued in this country. Numerous Mexican soldiers have been killed in our wars,²¹ and they continue to die in combat today to make sure that this country remains free and a safe place to live, work and raise our families. For this reason, as well as others – our history teachers should learn to be more inclusive when we teach American History.

An example of historical lies, or if you wish - erroneous facts, or at least half-truths, taught in our schools today are the facts the United States offers as reasons for declaring war on Mexico in 1846. Three of several reasons usually provided by our American History textbooks are, Mexican troops fired on American soldiers and spilled American blood on American soil, and The Mexicans fired first! Such assumptions are followed by patriotic statements such as, They started the war. We are going to finish it!²² Such historical statements will be re-examined and hopefully viewed in a new light, to further clarify these historical facts for what they are: historical fabrications that should be exposed as examples of colorful, patriotic creative writing – not historical events. Apparently, we as American citizens and as unsuspecting students of American History might have become victims of a bigger lie taught by our public school system. For example, students may be victims of historical misinformation due to intentionality, lack of scholarly research, or blind patriotism. The danger in this methodology may result in the repetition of incorrect historical data which within time, the misinformation becomes a historical fact, such as was explained by a European dictator in his book, Mein Kampf, when he prophesied, The great masses of the people … will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.

Most American adults and high school students know that 60 years after the American Revolution the United States fought a war against Mexico. But do they know that this war was fought without a formal declaration of war? Or that Mexico fought against the United States’ invasion of her territories without formally declaring war as well?²³ So why did these two neighbors and former military allies become engaged in a bloody war for nearly two years without formally declaring war on each other? We shall address these questions in the following chapters.

Psalm 57:10, Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part thou shalt make me know wisdom.

¹ J. Allan Nevins, The Mexican War; Justin H. Smith, The War with Mexico; and Dale L. Walker, Bear Flag Rising: The Conquest of California, 1846.

² A copy of Captain Hardee’s letter can be found in Chapter II.

³ Quotes were taken from President Polk’s speech to Congress on May 11, 1846; the entire speech is Appendix A of this book.

⁴ The disputed territory was the territories created by Texas’ claim

Vous avez atteint la fin de cet aperçu. Inscrivez-vous pour en savoir plus !
Page 1 sur 1


Ce que les gens pensent de The Mexican-American War of 1846-48

0 évaluations / 0 Avis
Qu'avez-vous pensé ?
Évaluation : 0 sur 5 étoiles

Avis des lecteurs