Jimmy Polk's War

A review of the Mexican War in which Manifest Destiny is reclaimed from the revisionists.

Issue: Summer 1999

[It is] the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment in liberty and federative self-government entrusted to us. -- John L. O'Sullivan, New York Editor, 1845

Every great fortune, it is said, is the fruit of some great crime. Was America's tearing away of the Southwest and California from Mexico such a crime, an act of imperial aggression? Was our war with Mexico the "most unjust war in history", as Ulysses S. Grant, a veteran of that war, described it? Among the Blame America First precincts today, and south of the Rio Grande, this belief is widespread. But to see the critical distinction between naked aggression and Manifest Destiny, we must review the history of 1835-48, when the United States doubled in size to reach the Pacific.

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