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Who Gets the Texas Tumbleweeds? The Mexican-American War


Nick at Palo Alto battlefield the site if the First Major battle of the Mexican American War!
In South Texas, there are cactuses everywhere. The wind blows tumbleweeds across the road. The wind is so strong that you get gritty dust in your teeth and hair. As I drove through this wild region, I closed my eyes and tried to see and hear the battles of the Mexican-American War. I wondered why the Mexicans and Americans fought over this desert, covered with cactuses and brush. I thought about who lived here BEFORE Mexican and American settlers had come. It was the Native Americans: the Caddo tribe in the east, the Nacogdoches, Nasoni, and the Neche in central Texas, the Comanche and Tonkawa in the rolling plains of the north, and the Coahuitltecan in the south. Then, Spanish missionaries came and took away these native tribes' way of life, and American settlers followed.

How did the Mexican-American war start? In the mid-1800's, there was a big push for American settlers to move West, taking over land from whoever was already there. Some people called this push to the West "Manifest Destiny." The idea was that God wanted Americans to expand their territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific, conquering as much land as possible. In reality, the push to the West made Americans richer.

In 1836, the American settlers living in Texas decided they wanted to have their own government, separate from Mexico. They started a revolution, and won independence for the Republic of Texas. (Did you know that Texas, now a state in the U.S., used to be a country?) After that, Texan settlers and the U.S. army kept moving the Texas border further into Mexico. After years of bloody battles, the U.S. established the border of Texas at the Rio Grande River, now part of the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

In 1848, the U.S. and Mexico signed a treaty called the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. In this treaty, the Mexicans got the short end of the stick. They gave up about half of their land. A lot of people are still angry about that treaty today!


Please email me at: nick@ustrek.org


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