It has proved difficult to find an in-depth analysis of the entire
independence ?movement? by a single historian- the only real sources
for this that I?ve found have been in print books. Therefore, I?ve
provided links to where you can get these books if that?s what you?d
like to check out, or just some sources I?ve found that are analyses
of more specific areas of the independence movement, for example, the
war itself in particular.
First, here are two web pages containing articles that should be
sufficient for your assignment:
(1) ?The Mexican Revolution?
[ http://nt2.ec.man.ac.uk/multimedia/Mexican%20Revolution.htm ]
This article seems to be quite complete and what you?re looking for.
I did not copy the entire article because it is very long, but simply
view it here:
[ http://nt2.ec.man.ac.uk/multimedia/Mexican%20Revolution.htm ]
(2) ?Mexican War? by Robert W. Johannsen
[ http://www.historychannel.com/perl/print_book.pl?ID=35410 ]
?Although frequently simplified by students of the conflict, the
causes of the Mexican War of 1846-1848 were complex. Relations between
the two countries had been strained almost from the moment Mexico won
its independence from Spain in 1821. Although a republican form of
government was established in 1824, Mexico proved to be a republic in
name more than in fact. Wracked by frequent revolutions, the nation
remained weak and unstable and was often dominated by dictators.
As a result of the disorder, the United States, France, and Great
Britain lodged claims against the government for damages inflicted
upon their nationals and property. The American claims were submitted
to a commission for arbitration, which settled on a figure of about $2
million. When the Mexican government defaulted, sentiment among
Americans for collecting the claims by force increased, and some urged
that war be declared.
Mexico's grievance against the United States focused on the issue of
Texas. Already angered by America's aid to the Texas Revolution, the
Mexican government became further alarmed when the movement to annex
Texas to the United States gained momentum. Mexico had never
recognized Texas's independence and made plans to recapture the area.
As Congress debated the issue, Mexico made it clear that the permanent
loss of Texas would be sufficient cause for war.
Events moved swiftly following the passage of an annexation resolution
on March 3, 1845, the day before James K. Polk assumed the presidency.
Fears for the safety of Texas and rumors that Mexico would transfer
California to Great Britain in lieu of its debt payment, combined with
a new sense of national identity and destiny, heightened American
sensitivity to Mexico's threats and moved Americans closer to a war
spirit. Mexico recalled its minister in Washington and broke off
diplomatic relations. In response, U.S. troops commanded by Gen.
Zachary Taylor entered Texas to protect the region until annexation
was completed. Mexico countered by dispatching an army to the south
bank of the Rio Grande. Hoping to avoid war with Mexico (conflict with
Great Britain over the Oregon country loomed), President Polk sent an
emissary, John Slidell, to the Mexican capital with instructions not
only to negotiate a settlement of the claims and Texas issues but also
to offer to buy New Mexico and California. Slidell arrived in early
December amid a wave of anti-American feeling, and the government
refused to receive him. The Mexican president, who it was said favored
conciliation with the United States, was overthrown in a military
coup. He was replaced by an officer who announced his intention to
restore Texas to Mexico while he made overtures to European nations
for the establishment of a monarchy in Mexico in return for aid
against the United States.
Following the admission of Texas to the Union in December 1845,
Taylor's army was ordered to the Rio Grande, the traditional boundary
of the American claim to Texas dating back to the early years of the
century. The opposing Mexican force received orders to attack the
Americans, and in late April, the commanding general informed Taylor
that hostilities had begun. An American patrol was ambushed north of
the Rio Grande, followed quickly by a movement of the Mexican force
across the river. The two armies clashed in the Battles of Palo Alto
and Resaca de la Palma in early May 1846. Although outnumbered,
Taylor's army was victorious in both engagements. Slidell's rebuff by
the Mexican government and news of the first American losses along the
Rio Grande persuaded President Polk and his cabinet to ask that
Congress recognize a state of war with Mexico. The war resolution
passed on May 13, with only token opposition.
The United States speedily mobilized its manpower and matériel.
Congress authorized the enlistment of fifty thousand volunteers,
assigning quotas to the states closest to the fighting. The government
increased the size of the regular military forces, appropriated money
for the production of equipment, and requisitioned ships to carry the
troops to Mexico.
There were three areas of military operation. Taylor's army penetrated
northern Mexico, occupied the important city of Monterrey, and
defeated a larger Mexican army commanded by General Santa Anna at the
Battle of Buena Vista on February 22-23, 1847. In the meantime, an
army under the command of Stephen W. Kearny followed the Santa Fe
Trail to New Mexico, occupied Santa Fe, and moved westward to the
Pacific where it joined naval units in the occupation of California.
Impatient to end the war, Polk opened a third operation against Mexico
City itself. Commanded by Winfield Scott, an army made up largely of
volunteers landed at Veracruz in March 1847 and marched inland,
defeating the opposing forces in hard-fought battles at Cerro Gordo
and in the Valley of Mexico. The capital was occupied in mid-September
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the war, was signed early
in February 1848. Mexico ceded New Mexico and California to the United
States and, in recognition of the loss of Texas, agreed to the Rio
Grande boundary. In return, the United States assumed the claims of
its citizens against Mexico and paid Mexico an additional $15 million
to help the country achieve long-needed fiscal stability.
The Mexican War was costly for the United States. Its military forces
suffered almost thirteen thousand deaths, although only seventeen
hundred were battle-related, the rest resulting from disease that
swept through the army camps. Nevertheless, the war was popular. It
was the first war covered by large numbers of correspondents, as the
nation's press competed for war news. Some members of the Whig party
and the abolitionists opposed the war, the former because they felt it
was unconstitutional, the latter believing erroneously that it was
part of a slaveholders' conspiracy to extend slavery. For many
Americans, the war was a romantic venture in a distant and exotic
land. The campaigns were often compared with the Spanish conquest of
Mexico in the sixteenth century, which had recently been popularized
by the historian William Hickling Prescott.
The reliance on volunteers gave the conflict a democratic cast,
stimulating notions of an American mission to restore republican
government to a people oppressed by military rulers. America's triumph
seemed to confirm the superiority of democratic institutions, and
literary figures like Walt Whitman and James Fenimore Cooper saw it as
part of a worldwide mission to extend democratic ideals. Like most
wars, however, this one left serious questions in its wake. The issue
of whether slavery should be allowed in the lands taken from Mexico,
first debated in 1846, set in motion a constitutional debate between
the North and South that would dominate future political discourse,
eventually dividing the Union itself. ?
I?ve also found a few books by historians that appear to be very
lengthy but cover almost all aspects of the movement. If you?d like
to pursue this route, the best one to get seems to be certainly be:
?The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1940? by Michael J. Gonzales appears to
be a top book on the subject. You can read more about it at:
Also, some useful notes about it can be found at
[ http://members.aol.com/mikesch/historyhatam1.html ] )
I believe these sources should prove more than adequate for your
assignment. If you need a clarification, please request it,
especially before rating this answer. Thank you for bringing your
question to us, and good luck!
Search terms used:
Mexican independence editorial
"Mexican revolution" historian