The Mexican-American war also referred to as the Mexican war was a conflict that emerged between the two countries in the year 1946 and ended in 1848 (Haberle 15). The two countries entered into war after the United States annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1845. However, the Mexican government regarded independent Texas as one of the provinces in the Northeast. In his efforts to end the dispute between the two nations, US president James Polk made a proposition to the Mexican authorities to buy the disputed lands. The offer was rejected, and the Mexican government was not ready to negotiate. President James Polk moved the American troops under the command of major general Taylor into the disputed area between the Nueces River and Rio Grande River. The Mexican forces attacked this troop an act that angered the US President (Haberle 36). He regarded the attack as an invasion of the American territory, and this made the Congress declare war. After the US victory, its boundaries expanded to the southern region, a move that was opposed by the Northern territory. This paper evaluates the extent the Mexican-American war marked a turning point in the debate over slavery in the US.
Foremost, it is worth noting that the independent Republic of Texas was not readily incorporated into the Union. This was because, after its independence, the country legalized slavery. It banned the free movement of the black people. For this reason, the people from the North did not want to include another slave trading area. After the war, the US area expanded more to the south compared to the North. This implied that there was an increase in the number of states that encouraged slavery. In solving this controversy, David Wilmot, a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania presented the Wilmot Proviso. This was an amendment to the bill regarding the West which provided banning of slavery in the acquired territories apart from Texas (Haberle 44). This proviso was highly supported by the people of the Northern territory. Consequently, it passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. After the war, the proslavery Democrats and the antislavery Whigs were hostile towards each other in the Senate. This created a form of political war between proslavery Democrats and the Whigs, which had an impact in the 1848 election. The debate on slavery generated more significant conflict in the country which resulted in the American Civil war.
The democrats from the Southern territory were primarily opposed to the Missouri Compromise that abridged slavery south of 36 degrees, 30 minutes latitude and the Wilmot proviso (Haberle 29). The southern territory had sent many men in the Mexican war than the north. For this reason, they felt that they had the power and control over the newly acquired regions. However, an increase in the slaveholding states implied that there would be an imbalance in the Senate. However, the Southwest lands expanded at a high rate especially after the discovery of gold in California. The immigrants to California increased rapidly due to the gold rush. However, although there was a dispute regarding the issue of slavery in the new lands, no decisions were made.In conclusion, the Mexican-American war changed the debate over slavery significantly. Due to the increase in the slaveholding states, the north and the south became hostile, and the civil war erupted.
Haberle, Susan. The Mexican War, 1846-1848. Capstone, 2003. Print.