Tag Archives: Mexico

Delegating Made Easy

Old Fuss and Feathers

Winfield Scott’s Vera Cruz campaign stands… as one of the great military expeditions in all history.  He severed ties to his base of supplies, traversed the rocky mountain paths to Mexico City, and battled outbreaks of yellow fever to storm the Halls of Montezuma and conquer the Mexican capital.  In London, the Duke of Wellington proclaimed, “Scott is lost!”  when he learned of the bold move from the coast.  By the end of Summer 1847, the Iron Duke had changed his mind declaring Scott the, “greatest living soldier, unsurpassed in military annals.”

Was there a greater military analyst?

As brilliant as Scott’s strategy was… he had extraordinary tactical support, especially from his talented company of engineers.  The victory at the battle of Cerro Gordo on April 18, 1847 opened the door to the Valley of Mexico.  Often called the Thermopylae of the West, Cerro Gordo featured a treacherous march around the Mexican lines over a tiny mountain trail.  Scott’s army was able to flank the Mexican forces because of the bravery and skill of his engineers.  Major Robert E. Lee commanded a talented group that included Captain George B. McClellan, Captain Joseph E. Johnston, and Lieutenant PGT Beauregard.    Names that become iconic figures in the Civil War cut their tactical teeth during Scott’s masterful campaign.

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Ol’ Rough ‘n’ Ready

General Zachary Taylor was playing it cool… during the campaign of 1848.  Both political parties of the day were seeking his candidacy, but he was not willing to commit;

“It is to me a matter of perfect indifference whether I am even elected [as president] or not. I do not intend any party shall use me as a convenience; if dropped I intend to stand aloof, & let Whigs and Democrats [use] this matter in their own way….”

I believe in slavery, maybe...

I believe in slavery, maybe…

A substantial slave owner and southerner… Taylor was expected to support the slave owning interests in the Democratic party.  Again, Taylor was playing the pragmatist…even hinting at support of the Wilmot Proviso(banning slavery in the Mexican Cession.)   Taylor’s political views were at best ambivalent, at worst, an utter mystery.

“The Wilmot Proviso will shake that body to its center…but I hope some compromise will be entered into between the two parties slavery & anti slavery which will have the effect of allay[ing] violent passions on both sides, which will have the effect of perpetuating…or shortening the Union….”

Taylor

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Diplomacy as a Contact Sport

James K. Polk entered office in March of 1845… with two potential wars hanging over the country.  Negotiations with the British concerning the Oregon territory had reached an impasse while the new government in Mexico, under José Joaquín de Herrera, refused to recognize Texas independence; the Mexican government also considered American annexation an act of war.

“We should do our duty toward both Mexico and Great Britain, and firmly maintain our rights.”

 

British Minister Richard Pakenham rejected the compromise… of the 49th parallel as the boundary in the Oregon territory.  American expansionists were demanding 54°40′  or a war to obtain it.  Popular opinion held that America,  “by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent”.  Polk had to find the diplomatic middle ground or face a second war with the world’s superpower in 5o years.

 

Despite the better efforts of revisionists, Mexico wanted war… Texas had won independence in a fair fight and wanted to join the United States.  The Herrera government refused the treaty of San Jacinto ex post facto.  Texas annexation was legal, and a clear victory for the Polk administration.  Herrera decided to push north of the river Nueces and confront the Americans.  Polk had made all the correct political moves to annex Texas, now he had to defend the new American territory.

Old Rough and Ready ready to defend Texas.

 

Polk was confronted with diplomatic crises… from the moment he took office.  How did he do?

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Delegating Made Easy

Old Fuss and Feathers

Winfield Scott’s Vera Cruz campaign stands… as one of the great military expeditions in all history.  He severed ties to his base of supplies, traversed the rocky mountain paths to Mexico City, and battled outbreaks of yellow fever to storm the Halls of Montezuma and conquer the Mexican capital.  In London, the Duke of Wellington proclaimed, “Scott is lost!”  when he learned of the bold move from the coast.  By the end of Summer 1847, the Iron Duke had changed his mind declaring Scott the, “greatest living soldier, unsurpassed in military annals.”

Was there a greater military analyst?

As brilliant as Scott’s strategy was… he had extraordinary tactical support, especially from his talented company of engineers.  The victory at the battle of Cerro Gordo on April 18, 1847 opened the door to the Valley of Mexico.  Often called the Thermopylae of the West, Cerro Gordo featured a treacherous march around the Mexican lines over a tiny mountain trail.  Scott’s army was able to flank the Mexican forces because of the bravery and skill of his engineers.  Major Robert E. Lee commanded a talented group that included Captain George B. McClellan, Captain Joseph E. Johnston, and Lieutenant PGT Beauregard.    Names that become iconic figures in the Civil War cut their tactical teeth during Scott’s masterful campaign.

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Don’t Mess with This State

 

 

The inestimable value of our Federal Union is felt and acknowledged by all.

James K. Polk made no secret during the campaign of 1844…  of his desire to annex Texas.  It was what the Texans wanted and expansionists demanded.  John Tyler bowed to political pressure from Whigs after they defeated the first treaty and failed to act on annexation.   Only the swell of support from Polk’s fiery rhetoric forced the lame duck administration to act.

Polk would have acted without Congressional approval… but he made it clear in his inaugural address that this was a momentous occasion for all involved, ” I shall on the broad principle which formed the basis and produced the adoption of our Constitution, and not in any narrow spirit of sectional policy, endeavor by all constitutional, honorable, and appropriate means to consummate the expressed will of the people and Government of the United States by the reannexation of Texas to our Union at the earliest practicable period.”

Polk was not content to stop with Texas… he was a true expansionist and believed in Manifest Destiny,  ” Nor will it become in a less degree my duty to assert and maintain by all constitutional means the right of the United States to that portion of our territory which lies beyond the Rocky Mountains”     The country was expanding and Polk was willing to use the power of the Presidency to make it happen.

Texas for the Union !

“To us belongs the duty of protecting them adequately wherever they may be upon our soil. The jurisdiction of our laws and the benefits of our republican institutions should be extended over them in the distant regions which they have selected for their homes. The increasing facilities of intercourse will easily bring the States, of which the formation in that part of our territory cannot be long-delayed, within the sphere of our federative Union”   James K. Polk

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Diplomacy as a Contact Sport

James K. Polk entered office in March of 1845… with two potential wars hanging over the country.  Negotiations with the British concerning the Oregon territory had reached an impasse while the new government in Mexico, under José Joaquín de Herrera, refused to recognize Texas independence; the Mexican government also considered American annexation an act of war.

"We should do our duty toward both Mexico and Great Britain, and firmly maintain our rights."

 

British Minister Richard Pakenham rejected the compromise… of the 49th parallel as the boundary in the Oregon territory.  American expansionists were demanding 54°40′  or a war to obtain it.  Popular opinion held that America,  “by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent”.  Polk had to find the diplomatic middle ground or face a second war with the world’s superpower in 5o years.

 

Despite the better efforts of revisionists, Mexico wanted war… Texas had won independence in a fair fight and wanted to join the United States.  The Herrera government refused the treaty of San Jacinto ex post facto.  Texas annexation was legal, and a clear victory for the Polk administration.  Herrera decided to push north of the river Nueces and confront the Americans.  Polk had made all the correct political moves to annex Texas, now he had to defend the new American territory.

Old Rough and Ready ready to defend Texas.

 

Polk was confronted with diplomatic crises… from the moment he took office.  How did he do?   Find out at the Third Annual Presidents’ Day Banquet–at the James Madison Preparatory School– February 16, 2012. 

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Don’t Mess with This State

The James Madison Preparatory School presents its Third Annual Presidents’ Day Banquet;  Thursday, February 16, 2012, 630-830pm. 

Mr Gordon Sheaffer will present on the 11th President, James K. Polk–  “Expanding the Great Experiment of Liberty- Manifest Destiny and James K. Polk Reconsidered”       Hope to see you there !

The inestimable value of our Federal Union is felt and acknowledged by all.

 

James K. Polk made no secret during the campaign of 1844…  of his desire to annex Texas.  It was what the Texans wanted and expansionists demanded.  John Tyler bowed to political pressure from Whigs after they defeated the first treaty and failed to act on annexation.   Only the swell of support from Polk’s fiery rhetoric forced the lame duck administration to act.

Polk would have acted without Congressional approval… but he made it clear in his inaugural address that this was a momentous occasion for all involved, ” I shall on the broad principle which formed the basis and produced the adoption of our Constitution, and not in any narrow spirit of sectional policy, endeavor by all constitutional, honorable, and appropriate means to consummate the expressed will of the people and Government of the United States by the reannexation of Texas to our Union at the earliest practicable period.”

Polk was not content to stop with Texas… he was a true expansionist and believed in Manifest Destiny,  ” Nor will it become in a less degree my duty to assert and maintain by all constitutional means the right of the United States to that portion of our territory which lies beyond the Rocky Mountains”     The country was expanding and Polk was willing to use the power of the Presidency to make it happen.

Texas for the Union !

 

“To us belongs the duty of protecting them adequately wherever they may be upon our soil. The jurisdiction of our laws and the benefits of our republican institutions should be extended over them in the distant regions which they have selected for their homes. The increasing facilities of intercourse will easily bring the States, of which the formation in that part of our territory cannot be long-delayed, within the sphere of our federative Union”   James K. Polk

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