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February 25, 1991

Pages 6-7

American Almanac

A Grave Warning from the Voices Of the Past

What The Other 'Gulf War' Did to America

by Anton Chaitkin

Left, General Winfield Scott leads U.S. conquest of Mexico City, September
1847. The unjust Mexican War did terrible damage to the cause of human
Right, cartoon depicting General Zachary Taylor, who invaded Mexico under
orders from President James Polk.

"From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli" U.S. Marine

Corps hymn

America's first foreign war, the conquest of Mexico 1846-48, was similar in
many startling ways to the current war against Iraq: the bold lies by the U.S.
government; the racial and religious contempt by the war's planners; the
"deal" with the European tyrant-empire.
In that earlier conflict, the United States of America took California and
other states from Mexico. So historians, even when admitting the criminality of the war, claim the U.S.A. "got away with it."
But a review of the facts shows the horrible price paid by our nation for this
imperialist adventure.
A decade after the Mexican War, the same imperial war party turned its guns
on the United States, broke up the country, and nearly destroyed it with the
American Civil War. A generation later, the British-allied imperial party
seized control of America's industry, finance, culture, and government. The
moral decline of the United States has proceeded virtually uninterrupted
since then.
The warning is there, whether or not the euphoric Rambos can read it.
Imperial war costs nations their freedom and sovereignty. If continued to the
point of genocide, those who execute and support it are buying the physical
end of their nation.
There is also a ray of hope. Only a small minority challenged the evil of that
first aggressive war. But prominent among these "extremist" dissenters, was
one who later led the defense of the U.S.A. against the racial-imperialists in
the Civil War.
We will need such a Lincoln in the days ahead.
Britain and the 'Cotton Whigs'
U.S. Army and naval forces in and near the Gulf of Mexico launched an
unprovoked war against the Mexican republic during the spring of 1846.
Tens of thousands of Mexicans died in the next two years, many in savage
artillery bombardments of residential areas; 13,000 U.S. soldiers died.
At the time, critics called the invasion a land grab by Southerners, seeking to
extend the area of black slavery to the South and West. The U.S. President,
James K. Polk, was himself a Tennessee slave owner.

Americans had previously moved into the Mexican state of Texas. They
introduced slavery there, though Mexico had banned it. Then they revolted,
and attached Texas to the United States just prior to the Mexican War.
It was also true that Southerners, particularly in the Mississippi Valley,
flocked to the recruitment centers to go and kill the Mexicans. (By contrast,
today's vicarious Rambo warriors are not joining up. The empty recruitment
centers speak eloquently about the depth of public support for Bush's war.)
Southern slave-owning freemasons saw the attack on Mexican Catholicism
as a worthy crusade. But their views were shared by certain non-slave
owners, the New England millionaires, the Boston Brahmins, who held the
balance of power in the United States at that time. Their fortunes were made
under British Empire protection, mostly in the Asian opium trade. Some of
their loot was invested in garment manufacturing. Since the produce of
slavery supplied their mills, and they guided the Whig Party away from any
attack on slavery, they were known as the "Cotton Whigs."
The Mexican War was a project of these New England gentlemen, under the
supervision of their senior partners in London.
As the 1840s began, Britain was at war with China, burning cities to force
the Chinese to legalize sale of British narcotics in their country. After China
surrendered to Britain's Opium War, a leading Massachusetts politician,
Caleb Cushing, went to China with gunboats to extort similar narcotics sales
privileges for his family and other U.S. dope sellers. This treaty in hand,
Cushing sailed to Mexico. There, he organized military intelligence reports
and drew up the plan for a U.S. war of conquest.
Cushing had been sent abroad by the corrupt U.S. Secretary of State Daniel
Webster. Alcoholic and bankrupt, Secretary Webster was paid privately as
the lawyer and representative of the Baring Bank of England, financier of all
East Asia narcotics sales. Webster was also hopelessly in debt to Cushing.
Meanwhile the British government sent the head of the Baring Bank,
Alexander Baring a.k.a. Lord Ashburtonto negotiate with U.S.
Secretary of State Webster, his own employee, over the boundaries of the
United States!

The Boston Bluebloods' Corrupt Bargain With Imperial Britain

PHASE 1, 1842: The British
bribe U.S. Secretary of State
Daniel Webster, who gives away
3 million acres of the state of
Maine in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.
PHASE 2, April 28, 1846: The
USA agrees to give up, to the
heavily armed British Empire,
the Pacific Coast from 5440'
down to the bottom of Victoria
Island. In exchange, the British
give the green light for a U.S.
war on Mexico, whose territory
extended throughout the shaded
region shown.
PHASE 3, May 11, 1846:
President Polk sends war message to Congress, lying that Mexico had invaded
the U.S.A. In the war that followed, tens of thousands of Mexicans were
slaughtered, California and other states were seized.

Lord Ashburton, in his extended stay in Washington, was lionized by and

presided over the Anglophile "high society" set. Baring-Ashburton personified the arriving new world order of Anglo-American imperial action: His
father had been chairman of the East India Company, his wife was the
daughter of a Whig Party U.S. senator.
It was later discovered that, during their negotiations, the U.S. Secretary
took at least 2,998 from Lord Ashburton for the publication of spurious
maps. These were used successfully, to convince the state of Maine to give
up 3 million acres of U.S. territory to the British.
Though the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 ultimately covered only the
border between Maine and Canada, Daniel Webster had proposed a much
more ambitious scheme to his employer and diplomatic partner.
At that time, both Britain and the United States claimed the "Oregon
Territory" which extended from Russian Alaska to Spanish California.

Webster proposed that the United States would abandon most of the territory
of the Pacific Northwest. The United States would buy the land between
Texas and California, from Mexico. However, the United States would not
pay the purchase money to Mexico, but directly to the House of Baring, to
whom Mexico supposedly owed $50 million!
This particular deal fell through, since Mexico would not give away half its
national territory. Its citizens would have to be slaughtered before the land
would be surrendered.
Stealing the Presidency
The U.S. presidential elections of November 1844, pitted Whig leader Henry
Clay, a nationalist opponent of imperialism, against Democrat James Knox
Polk, an imperialist and admirer of British free trade theories. Polk's famous
campaign slogan was "54-40, or fight." This was a pledge to make that
latitude, just below Alaska, the boundary between the western United States
and the British colony of Canada, or to fight the British for it. Read My
Election lies aside, the presidency was simply stolen. In Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New York, Polk's gangster backers spent months and large fortunes falsifying the voter rolls. The most celebrated fraud was in Louisiana
celebrated to this day as a great "joke" by the Eastern Establishment.
New Yorker John Slidell was a veteran operative of the British-allied political machine originated by Aaron Burr. Slidell, joined in action by bribed
judges and public officers, brazenly led hundreds of Louisianans from one
polling place to another. Each time they voted, their ballots were opened to
make sure they were for Polk, before being deposited.
Despite all this, Clay was only narrowly defeated.
The War Party in Power
James K. Polk was inaugurated U.S. President on March 4, 1845. Mexico
broke off diplomatic relations with United States 24 days later, protesting the
continued U.S. legislative motion toward annexation of Texas.
On June 15, 1845, Polk sent orders to General Zachary Taylor to stand ready
to march to Texas, there to "select and occupy on or near the Rio Grande
such a site as will . . . protect what, in the event of annexation, will be our
Western Frontier."

At that time, Texas was not legally a part of the U.S.A., and the farthest
extent of Texas settlements was 100 miles north of the Rio Grande, at the
Nueces River.
Nine days later, secret instructions were sent to Commodore John Sloat,
commander of the Pacific Fleet: "If you ascertain with certainty that Mexico
has declared war against the United States, you will at once possess yourself
of the fort of [San] Francisco, and blockade and occupy such other ports as
your force may permit."
The new administration was perfectly aware of the location of the Texas
border. Secretary of War William Marcy wrote on July 8, 1845 to General
Taylor: "This department is informed that Mexico has some military
establishments on the east side [i.e. east and north] of the Rio Grande, which
are, and for some time past have been, in the actual occupation of her
troops" and that Taylor should not molest these Mexican posts "so long as
the relations of peace between the United States and Mexico continue."
The United States was also aware that Mexico had no intention of threatening any American interests.
Secretary of War Marcy wrote to General Taylor October 16, 1845, "The
information we have renders it probable that no serious attempts will at
present be made by Mexico to invade Texas, although she continues to
threaten incursions." With these contradictory messages, General Taylor
halted his troops at Corpus Christi on the Nueces River, the long-established
southern border of Texas.
Slidell's Mission of Death
Fraud master John Slidell, a close associate of Secretary of State James
Buchanan, was sent to Mexico on November 10, 1845. His mission was
understood in both countries as a war provocation. Slidell was the "James
Baker III" of the Mexican War.
The U.S. consul in Mexico City had asked the Mexican government whether
they "would receive an Envoy from the United States, entrusted with full
powers to adjust all questions in dispute between the two governments."
Mexico's Secretary of State had replied in mid-October, "my Government is
disposed to receive the Commissioner [i.e. not an ambassador] of the United
States who may come to this country with full powers to settle the present

dispute [which, from the Mexican standpoint, meant the dispute over Texas]
in a peaceful, reasonable and honorable manner."
Slidell landed at Vera Cruz December 3, 1845. Mexico's Secretary of State
asked that Slidell postpone his appearance in Mexico City until January.
The Mexican government was widely considered traitorous for entering into
negotiations with the Yankees, and a little time was needed to prepare public
The contemptuous Slidell arrived in Mexico City three days later, on
December 6. Slidell announced his arrival, and demanded to be received as
a full ambassador. He was told that, despite the fact that he came as a
resident minister, and not as a commissioner, to treat of Texas, as was
expected, his request had been submitted to the Council of Government. As
soon as the council reported back, an answer would be sent. Mexico's
Secretary of State wrote to the U.S. consul, that the Mexican Government
itself "was well disposed to arrange all difficulties."
There was another similar exchange on December 15 and 16, in which
Slidell lied that "he is necessarily ignorant of the reasons which have caused
so long a delay," and the Mexicans responded soothingly.
On December 17, 1845, Slidell wrote to the U.S. State Department that "the
impression here among the best informed persons is, that the President and
his Cabinet are really desirous to enter frankly upon a negotiation which
could terminate all their difficulties with the United States. . . . The country,
torn by conflicting factions, is in a state of perfect anarchy, its finances in a
condition utterly desperate. . . . The annual expense of the army alone
exceeds twenty-one millions of dollars while the net revenue is not more
than ten or twelve. . . . [But] the troops must be paid, or they will revolt."
This letter from Slidell was received in Washington on January 12, 1846.
The next day, an order was sent to General Zachary Taylor to march to the
Rio Grande River. This order was subsequently defended on the grounds
that the Mexican government had refused to treat with Slidell.
General Taylor arrived at the Rio Grande on March 28, 1846, and began
building a fort. He had marched a hundred miles south across the desert,
encountering no Americans. Taylor did observe Mexican armed patrols
which, he reported, "seemed disposed to avoid us."

Mexico was then bankrupt, had 7-8 million inhabitants, and no navy. Texas,
which had been taken from Mexico in 1836, had been at peace for ten years.
On December 20, 1845, the Mexican government reiterated that they could
see John Slidell only in the capacity of a commissioner to settle the question
of Texasthey would not discuss selling off other sections of their republic.
Slidell replied, with the typical gall of the enraged bully: "The annals of no
civilized nation present, in so short a time, so many wanton attacks upon the
rights of person and property as have been endured by the citizens of the
United States from the Mexican authorities."
Defy Britain, or Attack Mexico?
Before a predatory war could be launched to the south, the "Polkistas" had to
settle the question of the U.S. border with British territory to the north.
U.S. Ambassador to England Louis McLane reported to Secretary of State
James Buchanan on January 3, 1846, about Britain's huge naval armament
program, and the prospects for war against the United States: "Lord Aberdeen [the British Foreign Secretary] said . . . they were obliged to look to the
possibility of a rupture with the United States, and that in such a crisis the
warlike preparations now in the making would be useful and important."
The contest around the Columbia River was between American settlers and
Britain's Hudson Bay Company. American missionary Marcus Whitman
was carrying on mass education of the native Indians, preparing them for
integration and full rights in the civilization advancing westward. The
Hudson Bay Company organized Indians into an armed "pagan party," to
prevent any settlement of the Northwest. The furs which the company
trapped were sent to China, and sold to the wealthy as a sideline to the
opium trade.
Historians today take the side of the British pagan-manipulators; or they
support Polk and his mentor Andrew Jackson, who thought Indians should
either step aside or be killed.
On April 23, 1846, the U.S. House of Representatives, led by former President John Quincy Adams, passed a resolution declaring the right of the
United States to the entire Pacific Northwest. In a letter to a British friend,
Adams explained why he called for U.S. possession of the Northwest, while
opposing the U.S. theft of land from Mexico:

We want to fulfill the commands of Almighty God, to increase and

multiply, and replenish, and SUBDUE the earth. Britain wants [those
lands] for no honest purpose of her own. She wants them to check,
and control and defeat the progress of our prosperity. . . . She wants
them to prevent the conversion of them from a wilderness of savage
hunters to a cultivated land of civilized Christian men. . . . [S]he
claims accession from us of 700 miles of sea shore on the Northwest
Coast of our own Continent . . . to not one inch of which she has any
title whatever. To this compromise . . . it can never be yielded with my
At the introduction of his resolution on the Northwest territory, Adams
directed the clerk of the House of Representatives to read aloud verses 26-28
of the first chapter of Genesis, to show how God wanted man to use the
J.Q. Adams would no doubt make the FBI's most wanted list as an extremist
in today's political setup.
On April 25, 1846, two days after the House resolution for the British to
leave the Northwest, President Polk began drafting a message demanding
that Congress declare war against Mexico. That same day, a small-scale
skirmish took place between Mexican forces and General Taylor's troops,
100 miles south of Texas.
On April 28, 1846, in contempt of the House Resolution passed five days
before, Secretary of State James Buchanan concluded a treaty with Great
Britain, giving up all U.S. claims to Victoria Island and the entire north
Pacific coast above the 49th parallel. The British relinquished their claims
to what is now the State of Washington.
By this agreement, the British freed the U.S.A. to make war upon Mexico.
Here we have another parallel with the Bush-Soviet arrangements the
trade-off of the Soviets' Baltic crackdown for the U.S. war on Iraqlong
before the Hitler-Stalin pact.

"Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in

wars . . . This, our [Constitutional] Convention understood to be the
most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so
frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of
bringing this oppression upon us."
Abraham Lincoln, letter to his law partner, 1848
"Mr. Lincoln . . . thought the principal motive for the act, was to divert
public attention from the surrender of 'Fifty-four, forty, or fight' to
Great Britain, on the Oregon boundary question."
Abraham Lincoln, campaign autobiography, 1860

Former President John Quincy Adams and future President Abraham Lincoln led opposition to the illegal war against Mexico. Their grave warnings
must be heard today, if the U.S.A. is to be spared destruction.

The British were now to accomplish what all their bullets and bombs could
not do in the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812: The U.S.A., as a
republic, would disappear from the sight of the world. In its place would
emerge an imperial, Anglo-Saxon adjunct to the European system of
empires. The image and concept of the republic, so feared by the oligarchs,
would slip away from humanity's mind, to become a plaything of cynical
When news of the U.S. attack against Mexico reached Lord Ashburton back
in England, the Baring Bank chief, with a smirk, congratulated the American
Ambassador with the words: "You are the lords of Mexico!"
Under Cover of Lies
On May 9, 1846, John Slidell met with President Polk, bringing him the
"green light" for war. Polk told his cabinet he believed he should send a war
message to Congress on May 12. This would be based on Mexico's "rejection" of Slidell.
The cabinet adjourned at 2 p.m. News of the April 25 skirmish reached Polk
at 6 p.m. A second cabinet meeting convened at 7:30 p.m. It was agreed
that a war message should be delivered May 11, with entirely new reasons
for the war!
On May 11, 1846, President Polk sent his shameful slander to Congress.
[War exists] by the act of Mexico herself . . . after reiterated
menaces. . . . Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States,
has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon the American
soil. She has proclaimed that hostilities have commenced, and that
the two nations are at war.
I invoke the prompt action of Congress to recognize the existence of
the war, and to place at the disposition of the Executive the means of
prosecuting the war with vigor, and thus hastening the restoration of
Polk's message was accompanied by manuscript copies of the correspondence between the government and John Slidell and General Taylor.
Massachusetts Whig Congressman Robert C. Winthrop proposed that the
documents accompanying the message be read by the congressmen. This
motion was voted down on a straight party line.

A bill requested by the President was then put up before the House, its
preamble lying that that the war was started by the act of Mexico. After a
weak protest against the preamble, debate was forced closed by the "gag
rule," the rule invented to stop congressmen from criticizing or even
discussing the question of black chattel slavery.
The bill "recognizing the existence" of war-not declaring itwas passed 174
to 14. It provided for 50,000 soldiers and $10 million.
This was a darkly shameful day for America. Only thirteen congressman
had the courage to join J.Q. Adams, the former President, in voting against
the emerging Anglo-American imperium. Yet the Whig party was almost
universally opposed to the war, and everyone knew Polk was lying.
The Senate voted up the House war bill without discussion the next day, 50
to 2. Senator John C. Calhoun said later, that when the war bill was passed,
"We had not a particle of evidence that the Republic of Mexico had made
war against the United States."
The cowardly Congress had sanctioned wholesale murder with scarcely a
On May 18, 1846, General Taylor moved his army into Matamoros, south of
the Rio Grande River. On July 7, 1846, Commodore John Sloat seized
Monterey, and proclaimed U.S. possession of California. In August, U.S.
forces grabbed San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Was there justice in these acts? William Fell Giles, Democratic Congressman from Maryland, put it this way: "We must march from Texas straight to
the Pacific Ocean, and be bounded only by its roaring waves. We must
admit no other government to any portion of this great territory. It is the
destiny of the white race, it is the destiny of the Anglo-Saxon race."
President Polk explained to Congress, on December 8, 1846: "The war has
not been waged with a view to conquest."
Desertion Better Than Murder
On January 16, 1991, when the news was broadcast that Bush had started
bombing Baghdad, many Americans wept with astonishment and despair.
The reaction was similar in 1846 when the United States commenced a war
of conquest against the only other republic in the world.

Even before the "official" start of the war, soldiers serving with General
Taylor tried to desert by swimming across the Rio Grande. They were
caught and shot on the spot without trials.
On the floor of the House of Representatives, Congressman John Q. Adams
demanded to know "the name of each and every soldier . . . who, since the
commencement of the present session of Congress, has been put to death by
military execution without trial; also the name of each and every person . . .
by whom or by whose order such military executions have been perpetrated."
Adams further proposed that those responsible be "arrested and tried by
court martial, for murder."
And he requested a congressional investigation "into the causes of the recent
increase of desertions from the Army of the United States."
Though these requests were printed in the record of debates, it was decided
that Adams would not be allowed to officially introduce such a resolution,
for fear of encouraging more desertions.
The Mexican army leafletted American soldiers, asking them to change
sides, to counteract what the Mexicans called a "masonic conspiracy against
Catholicism." At least several hundred American soldiers did change sides.
Led by former West Point drillmaster John Riley, American deserters formed
the Saint Patrick's Battalion. This foreign legion fought fiercely for Mexico
throughout the war. At the conclusion of a battle in the interior of Mexico,
many San Patricios were captured by the Americans. Fifty of them were
hanged, and others were whipped bloody and branded with hot irons. But
the desertions continued.
Lincoln Embarrasses the President
The U.S. Army occupied Mexico City on September 14, 1847. While
fighting continued, various U.S. factions sought different conclusions to the
John Q. Adams proposed the United States withdraw without conquest.
President Polk and Secretary of State Buchanan sought the annexation of all
of Mexico. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina opposed total annexation,
since that would bring millions of non-whites into U.S. citizenship!

Racist poster asks volunteers for a regiment led by imperial strategist Caleb
Cushing. Anti-war activity is slandered as "Toryism"falsely linking them
to the pro-British "Tories" who opposed the defensive War of 1812.
Alcoholic, bankrupt U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster, privately paid by
the British Baring bank, betrayed the United States, and negotiated seizure of
Mexican territory.

As negotiations began for a peace treaty, the opposition to the war flared up
in Congress.
On December 22, 1847, only a few days after he took his seat in the House,
freshman Congressman Abraham Lincoln of Illinois introduced a resolution
designed to embarrass and expose the President as an evil liar. Lincoln's
"spot resolution" asked the President to inform the Congress:
First. Whether the spot on which the blood of our citizens was shed,
as in his [Polk's] messages declared, was or was not within the
territory of Spain . . . until the Mexican revolution.

Second. Whether that spot is or is not within the territory which was
wrested from Spain by the revolutionary government of Mexico.
Third. Whether that spot is or is not within a settlement of people,
which settlement has existed ever since long before the Texas
Revolution and until its inhabitants fled before the approach of the
United States army.
Fourth. Whether that settlement is or is not isolated from any and all
other settlement by the Gulf and the Rio Grande on the south and
west, and by wide uninhabited regions in the north and east.
Fifth. Whether the people of that settlement, or a majority of them, or
any of them, have ever submitted themselves to the government or
laws of Texas or of the United States, by consent or by compulsion,
either by accepting office, or voting at elections, or paying tax, or
serving on juries, or having process served on them, or in any other
Sixth. Whether the people of that settlement did or did not flee from
the approach of the United States army, leaving unprotected their
homes and their growing crops, before the blood was shed, as in the
messages stated; and whether the first blood so shed was or was not
shed within the enclosure of one of the people who had thus fled from
Seventh. Whether our citizens whose blood was shed, as in his
messages declared, were or were not at that time armed officers and
soldiers, sent into that settlement by the military order of the
President, through the Secretary of War.
Eighth. Whether the military force of the United States was or was not
so sent into that settlement after General [Zachary] Taylor had more
than once intimated to the War Department that in his opinion no such
movement was necessary to the defense or protection of Texas.
Four days after Lincoln introduced his famous "spot resolution," John Q.
Adams wrote about the evil precedent set by the cowardice of the U.S.
[The] design and purpose to dismember Mexico . . . has in my opinion
been what my old colleague Caleb Cushing calls a "fixed fact" at least

since the year 1830, and has been pursued by means, which gave to
Mexico from that time ample cause of War in self defense against the
United States. . . .
[The U.S. invasion of Mexico] was War un-proclaimed, and the War
has never to this day been declared by the Congress of the United
States, according to the Constitution. It has been recognized as
existing by the act of Mexico, in direct and notorious violation of the
The most important conclusion from all this, in my mind, is the failure
of that provision in the Constitution . . . that the power of declaring
War, is given exclusively to Congress. It is now established as an
irreversible precedent that the President of the United States has but to
declare that War exists, with any Nation upon Earth, by the act of that
Nation's Government, and the War is essentially declared.
The most remarkable circumstance of these transactions is, that the
War thus made has been sanctioned by an overwhelming majority of
both Houses of Congress, and is now sustained by similar majorities,
professing to disapprove its existence, and pronouncing it unnecessary
and unjust.
It is not difficult to foresee what its ultimate issue will be to the people
of Mexico, but what it will be to the People of the United States, is
beyond my foresight, and I turn my eyes away from it.
Proving Adams right, the House, which had voted in silence to sanction the
beginning of the war, now voted the opposite way. On January 3, 1848, the
House of Representatives passed a resolution that the "war[was] unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States."
The anti-war resolution passed 85 to 81. Among those voting to condemn
the war were John Q. Adams of Massachusetts, the former U.S. President
and author of the anti-imperialist Monroe Doctrine, and Congressman (and
future President) Abraham Lincoln.
On February 15, 1848, Congressman Lincoln wrote to his law partner
William H. Herndon, who had complained to Lincoln about his antiwar
Let me first state what I understand to be your position. It is, that if it
shall become necessary, to repel invasion, the President may, without

violation of the Constitution, cross the line, and invade the territory of
another country; and that whether such necessity exists in any given
case, the President is to be the sole judge.
Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall
deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so,
whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purposeand you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if
you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given
him so much as you propose. If, to-day, he should choose to say he
thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from
invading us, how could you stop him? You may say, "I see no probability of the British invading us" but he will say to you "be silent; I
see it, if you don't."
The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to
Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons.
Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in
wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people
was the object. This, our [Constitutional] Convention understood to be
the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so
frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of
bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole
matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.
Write soon again. Yours truly, [signed] A. Lincoln.
Earlier, Senator Thomas Corwin of Ohio had lashed out at President Polk,
calling him "something of a King . . . who does very much as he pleases . . .
a haughty, imperious, . . . usurping" man, a "robber chief; "If I were a
Mexican I would tell you, 'Have you not room in your own country to bury
your dead men? If you come into mine, we will greet you with bloody
hands, and welcome you to hospitable graves."
Outraged pro-war politicians demanded Corwin be jailed as a traitor. Lincoln
was to make Corwin his Ambassador to Mexico.
On January 24, 1848, gold was discovered near Sacramento, California. On
February 2, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed ending the
Mexican War, ceding California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and
western Colorado to the United States.

Epilogue: Paying the Price

Abraham Lincoln came under heavy political attack for his leadership of the
anti-war movement. He was denounced as a traitor, and was only weakly
defended by his friends.
Lincoln could not run again for Congress, and dropped out of politics; he
won no other office, until his election to the presidency. Lincoln spent the
next five years studying history, poetry, mathematics, astronomy and drama,
preparing himself for the great crisis he knew the im-[perialists would
When he was a candidate for the presidency, in 1860, Lincoln wrote a short
autobiography, in which he summed up the political disaster of the Mexican
War: "Mr. L. thought the act of sending an armed force among the Mexicans, was unnecessary, inasmuch as Mexico was in no way molesting, or
menacing the U.S. or the people thereof; and that it was unconstitutional,
because the power of levying war is vested in Congress, and not in the
President. He thought the principal motive for the act, was to divert public
attention from the surrender of 'Fifty-four, forty, or fight' to Great Britain, on
the Oregon boundary question."
John Slidell, whose brutal non-diplomacy had helped start the Mexican War,
organized the presidential race for James Buchanan in 1856. Slidell, the
Louisiana political boss and mentor of Anglo-American slaveocrat Judah P.
Benjamin, ran the Buchanan administration until the machinery was in place
to break up the union. The Civil War began soon after Lincoln was elected
The rebel Confederate government appointed Slidell its ambassador to
France. Taken off a British vessel by the American navy on his way to
Europe, Slidell's arrest almost caused a war between the United States and
In France, Slidell coordinated the affairs of the slave-owning rebels with
Napoleon III and the British government, following their joint invasion of
Mexico. Their pretext was the collection of debts, which Mexican President
Juarez had declared invalid. Now, at last, old Daniel Webster's deal might
go through after all.
The imperialists were at length defeated, in Richmond and in Mexico.

The two republics survived. But the Mexican War had set a pattern for the
power of imperial financiers over American policy.
The United States of America is becoming, in February 1991, a pariah
among civilized humanity. If it is to be revived, as a viable project before its
final destruction, the nation will have to listen again to the anti-imperial
warnings of its greatest national leaders.