Party Government in the United States of America

By William Milligan Sloane | Go to book overview

XXI
THE WAR WITH MEXICO 1845-1849

Provoking war with Mexico--Opening of hostilities--The Wilmot Proviso--The slavery question in Congress--Peace with Mexico --The national party conventions--Party struggles in Congress --Polk's defense of the veto power--Growing power of Executive--The Senate not a privy council.

TYLER, though elected by Whigs, followed the Democratic custom of rotation in office when he became President; and Polk, as a matter of course, now made a sweeping change in the same way, giving a vast majority of the places under his patronage to Democrats. Inasmuch as Texas, both formally in her congress and popularly by a general convention, had accepted annexation, it remained to determine her boundaries. There was no question as regards what lay eastward on the Nueces River; but she had shadowy claims as far westward as the Rio Grande. Land-greed is a paramount passion even in strict - construction hearts. Gen. Zachary Taylor, with an armed force, first picketed the Nueces and then crossed it, occupying the broad march between the two streams. It was at once erected into a United States revenue district with a resident customs official. The Mexican government was so harassed with its intestine troubles--a chronic disease of that country--as to be for the moment paralyzed. It was only after the hasty composing of many factional disputes that it could

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