Front Page Titles (by Subject) The U.S. and the Mexican War - Literature of Liberty, Autumn 1980, vol. 3, No. 3
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The U.S. and the Mexican War - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Autumn 1980, vol. 3, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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The U.S. and the Mexican War
“Lessons of the Mexican War.” Pacific Historical Review 47(August 1978): 325–342.
Historians have scarcely recognized the dilemma of the Mexican War that faced President James Polk's administration in the year preceding the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The President's policies achieved the goals Polk had in mind at the onset of the war—that of acquiring the territories of New Mexico and California, and extricating U.S. forces from Mexico. However, the success of the traty rested largely on the good fortune that Polk's agent, Nicholas Trist, disobeyed presidential orders to leave Mexico and negotiated the treaty with Mexican officials.
Polk was facing a divided United States that was becoming increasingly frustrated with the prolonged continuation of the war. The reasons for the public's support of United States involvement in the war were diverse ranging from a desire to a expand the vast territory of North America to fulfilling the supposed “White Man's Destiny” by socially and politically regenerating the “inferior Mexican race.” American anti-imperialists, however, questioned the Polk's integrity in allowing the war to continue without substantial victories, especially since the basic motivation of the war was imperialistic.
Despite the criticism against Polk, the general consensus agreed that there was no alternative except to excalate the war in order to hasten and ensure its end. The government of Mexico was in such shambles that surrender was given within six months.
In the Mexican War military means were more potent than diplomatic in compelling a backward nation that has neither political traditions nor material achievements to defend. But the war also proved that the transition from war to peace is far more achievable and permanent if the terms of peace are limited, tangible, and realistic.