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Interview Questions

Q1. Why was the Mexican American War important?

Answer: Brought half of Mexico into US hands, also the first war fought by
the U.S. for land, rather than principle.
Q2. What could have been done to avoid the war?
Answer: Better negotiation by the United States. The diplomats sent by
the US to Mexico were terrible. Had the US done a better job negotiating,
war could have been avoided. The US avoided war with England over the
Oregon Country at the same time because they negotiated.
Q3. Who in your opinion did the most to cause the war and why?
Answer: James K. Polk sent a 4,000 person army into land that Mexico
claimed- he started the war.
Q4 What was the significance of the Sidell Mission?
Answer: It was Polks attempt to start a war- he knew Mexico wouldnt
accept Sidell as minister (one of Sidells assistants had been banned by
Mexico). This gave him an excuse to declare war.
Q5. What are your thoughts on the Thornton Affair and who was truly at fault for the
skirmish that started the war.?
Answer: Again, I hold Polk responsible. He sent the army to the shores of
the Rio Grande and waited for something to happen.
Q6. Was it fair for president James Polk to declare war on Mexico?
Answer: No.
Q7. Should General Taylor have advanced his army past the Rio Grande?
Answer: He was under orders to do so, so he did, but many of his officers
objected. They all knew they didnt belong there.
Q8. Was the Rio Grande river ever the border of Texas at all even when it was still a
state in Mexico?
Answer: No.
Q9. Who is Santa Ana?

Answer: Mexicos most divisive political figure- president multiple times

over a 20 year period. He was head of the army during the Mexican
Revolution, and again during the U.S.-Mexico War.
Q10. What are your thoughts of Santa Anas during the Texan Revolution and the
Mexican American War?
Answer: An exceptionally terrible general.
Why did he withdraw his troops at the Battle of Buena Vista?
Answer: Its a mystery.
Q11. Was there a political reason between President Polk transferring the front of
the battle to General Winfield Scott from General Zachary Taylor?
Answer: Yes, he was worried Taylor was becoming too popular and would
be a strong candidate in 1848, as indeed he was.
Q12. What were the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. army in the Mexican
American War?
Answer: The biggest strength was artillery- the US had small cannons that
Mexico did not and they proved decisive. Another key difference was that
the US was politically unified, and Mexico was not. Also, there was little
will to fight in Northern Mexico because of Indian depredations. On the
other hand, Mexico was fighting on its own territory, which is always
easier. And Mexico almost always had more troops at any given battle
(excepting Buena Vista)
Q13. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Mexican army during the
Mexican American War?
Answer: See above.
Q14. Which army is theoretically superior from this assessment?
Answer: The US Army.
Q15. How does this compare with the outcomes of different battles in the war?
Answer: You can see the importance of the artillery in almost every battle.
Q16. Do you think citizens of Mexico who lived in cities that were captured by the
United States resented U.S. control?
Answer: Yes, we can see this in the number of guerilla attacks against
American soldiers.

Q17. Do you think that these citizens had any hope of in their government of
winning the war?
Answer: Their government was in turmoil, so they didnt have much hope.
Q18. What was Mexicos condition after the Mexican American War and should we
have done something to aid Mexico during this time?
Answer: In my opinion we should have never have taken land from Mexico
through war.
Q19. Was the Treaty of Guadalupe of Hidalgo fair to the Mexicans?
Answer: In word, but not in practice. For instance, the promise to uphold
Mexican land claims- good promise, but it rarely happened. Yankee judges
ruled in favor of Yankees, not Mexicans.
Q20. Who ultimately benefited out of the war?
Answer: The US, clearly.