The US fought many wars to expand its territory. First, there were the Native Americans. Then, the US fought against other European powers on behalf of the British. Next, the US fought to declare their independence to the world, but at the same time, they won territory all the way to the Mississippi River. In the War of 1812, the US made many attempts to conquer Canada, unsuccessfully – but it did secure New Orleans and the Mississippi River was totally claimed. Then, with the Europeans out of the picture, the US moved further westward… potentially expanding slavery as well. Mexico controlled Texas and California and everything in between. It would only be a matter of time in a nation where ‘manifest destiny’ took hold… Then, there would be war. Check out the following links to learn more about Manifest Destiny, the US-Mexican War, and its consequences for Hispanics even today.
This PPT tells the story of Manifest Destiny and the war… It puts a complex story into simple points.
This PBS documentary has a lot on its website that is interactive. It focuses specifically on the war.
This PPT is a bit more complex, but it includes almost everything you need to know on these two topics, as well as pictures, maps, timelines and more.
This PBS documentary is really cool. It examines the issue of discrimination and civil rights for Hispanic Americans. This is one of the consequences of the US-Mexican War.
One of the most famous Mexican-Americans is Cesar Chaves. Learn his story in this PBS documentary website. He is often considered in the same context as Gandhi and Dr. King.
One of the most vocal opponents of the US-Mexican War was Henry David Thoreau. In this essay, he outlines the reasons why he is against the war and how he believes people living in a democracy should protest actively in the name of their conscience. This website has interactive study notes over all of his writings, so you can easily understand his message and philosophy.
This website is based on the teachings of Howard Zinn. His telling of the US-Mexican War is one of the most active. He takes the position that the war was unjustified, and includes a huge amount of evidence to support it. There’s also a video of an actor reading Frederick Douglass’s speech against the war. Cool. Check it out.