An Exercise Of American Imperialism

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Professor Walter Nugent, of “California and New Mexico, 1846-1848: Southward Aggression II,” argues that the Mexican War was indeed an exercise of American imperialism. Throughout his presidency, James K. Polk made a promise to the American people to honor Manifest Destiny, expanding the territory of the United States to the Pacific Ocean. Polk was blinded by his tunnel vision, and was more than willing to pay the cost of thousands of Mexican lives (over twice as many as Americans) in pursuit of his goal. The Mexican government was weak, so, Polk took advantage by sending representatives to monitor, what he considered, the borders between their nations. Polk was aware that this would manipulate the Mexican government to strike, spilling ‘American blood on American soil’. This action resulted in support from Congress to declare war; although, many voted in favor out of fear of being considered unpatriotic. Alternatively, many voted in favor of war in order to expand the amount of representatives opposed to slavery. Polk was not considered a strong nor wise ruler, Isaiah Berlin contends that Polk was “a hedgehog, not a fox,” he explains, “Jefferson, FDR, and Bill Clinton were foxes. Jackson, Polk, and George W. Bush were hedgehogs. Whereas a fox has many ideas… hedgehogs, like Polk, have one.” For those reasons, the Mexican war was an unjust war, and a result of American imperialism. Walter Nugent explains that the Mexican War involved such a large expansion, therefore the
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