Sample History Paper on Causes of the Mexican-American War

The Mexican-American War (April 1846–February 1848) pitted the United States and Mexico following the annexation of Texas in 1845 by the U.S. The war, which arose over a dispute as to whether Texas started or ended at the Nueces River or the Rio Grande marked the first U.S. armed conflict fought on foreign land. While Mexico was politically divided and militarily unprepared, the U.S. on the other hand was all set and raring to go. It should not be forgotten that at the time of the war, U.S. was led by an expansionist-minded president, James K. Polk whose political agenda was to see the U.S. spread its territory to the Pacific Ocean. As fate would have it, the U.S. forces registered successive victories that saw the U.S annex more than 500,000 square miles of Mexican land that included the present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

Although Texas had gained self-rule from Mexico in 1836, the U.S. refused to include it into the Union; the reason being that the northern political interest was against a new slave state.  At the same time, the Mexico administration was abetting cross-border incursions and would from time to time send signals that any attempts of annexation would be met with the full blunt of its military force.

It is also worth noting that gold had been discovered in California some few days before Mexico ceded the land to the United States following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. All the same, the annexation process was hastily started after President Polk assumed office following the 1844 elections. Polk also had his roving eye fixated on California, New Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. When his gesture to purchase those lands was rebuked by Mexico, he initiated a war that saw America troops amassing into a disputed lands lying between the Rio Grande and Nueces River.

Effects of the war

Like most wars, this war too had its social and economic impacts; for starters, Mexico was forced to cede vast chunks of land including the present-day states of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Often, most full-scale war requires a massive mobilization of supplies by both sides, prompting the prices of goods and services on both sides of the divide – the Mexico- American war was not an exception.

The loss of human lives continued to be profoundly felt by war survivors for many years. In total, more than 5,800 Americans lost their lives or were wounded. Another 11,000 soldiers succumbed to diseases and war wounds. It is estimated that more than $75 million was pumped to fund the war.  The newly conquered land elevated the United States to a continental superpower status following the capture of superb ports on the Pacific coast. Nevertheless, this also messed the balance between free and slave states, which partly contributed to the  American Civil War.

Mexico too had its fair of tragedies; apart from the thousands of military and civilian causalities, the war left in its wake several thousands of orphans, widows and cripples. The fact that fighting took place on Mexico territory, artillery shelling and gunfire left widespread destruction to buildings in many cities, not to mention roads and ports. Mobilization and massive movement army troops negatively affected the economy following both internal and external disruption of trade. Massive recruitment of ordinary citizens left the land and commercial businesses unattended causing a severe decline in agricultural and mineral production. The aftermath of defeat gave rise to despotic regime causing political instability which led to another civil war. But perhaps the worst effect of the war was psychological trauma after the  humiliating defeat. Watching the enemy sit pretty on your erstwhile land severely wounded Mexican national pride and the deep resentment of American.


Part Two

For my essay research, I picked the U.S. TV network, History Channel, and The History Channel broadcasts documentary programs and historical fiction series while is America’s largest classroom and a trusted window to the world. I settled for the two websites because of their authority, accuracy, objectivity and currency of the information they share with their readers.

First and foremost, I had to confirm that the information on these websites covered my scope; in that the information presented related to my topic and answered my thesis question. Additionally, the issue covered was comprehensive and had sufficient depth and breadth. For accuracy, reliability, and correctness of the content, I needed to look for supportive evidence. For my case, the footnotes, reference list, cited sources – books and journal articles served that purpose. Also perusing the content, there were spelling, grammar, and typographical mistakes.

How did I infer if the information from the two sources is accurate? First, I confirmed when the information published, the information on the pages was not outdated and that the pages were recently updated. I also confirmed that the links on these pages were not dead links.  Most importantly, I had to counter check the fact. For instance are there additional sources to corroborate dubious facts, statistics and other claims?

Looking keenly for citations, I had to verify that the authors and how they cite their sources. For authenticity, I had to confirm that the authors are giving me a trail to the information of the articles they have written including web address (URL), book, or journals. Tracking such citations enabled me validate the originality of the material.

Finally, I had to learn more about the websites; for instance who are the sponsors, what is the website’s philosophy and precisely who they are and what they present.



Work cited

History Channel. “Causes and effects of the mexican-american war” (accessed June 3 , 2018).

Miller, Robert. “The Aftermath of War:The War Between the United States and Mexico.” (accessed June 3,