People's History: Mexican War 1840s (Chap 8)

Music: Piano and Orchestra

We ordered Europe not to occupy the west,
and asked our God for all the grace He might bestow,
for now at last our destiny was manifest:
with honor, blood, and faith to conquer Mexico.

Monroe's exalted "Doctrine" ordered Europe "Stay
away from western territories!" What we say
and what we do are quite at odds, for Mexico,
just recently endeavoring to overthrow
its long-unwelcome Spanish conquerors, possessed
the Rio Grande and Texas borderland southwest
to California. Texas wished to be a state,
so Polk, the President, prepared to 'liberate'
the whole southwest from Mexico - with Providence
bestowing grace for civilized deliverance
of "weaker" foreign blood. For national defense
the President sent troops with every confidence
that liberty was being spread - our destiny
was manifest. And very few would disagree
the west was ours, for several reasons: splendid land
in California (people couldn't understand
such beauty lying "dormant"); commerce, number two:
(the "hum of industry" was in the nation's view);
and racist sentiment - indeed, should Mexico
deserve it more than us? For wouldn't God bestow
his sacred wisdom on a race superior,
like ours? Yet calling other men inferior
disgusted some Americans: for one, Thoreau,
whose civil disobedience was apropos
at times like this. And Fredrick Douglass, former slave,
considered it a great disgrace that we'd deprave
ourselves by conquering a neighbor. Much too late
resistence came. Possessed by liquor, lust, and hate
the soldiers plundered villages, and women fled
with children as the martyrs for expansion bled
beneath the surgeon's knife, and officers rejoiced
amidst the triumph, while decision-makers voiced
their pleasure as the Halls of Montezuma stood
awaiting them. And noting that our neighbor would
be paid, we reveled in a virtuous facade,
for not "by conquest" did we take their land, "thank God."

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