They carry about with them their Homers, Xenophones and Thucydides in the shape of some printers and editors, who, as soon as the fighting subsides, throw aside their muskets, and hunt up a few reams of paper.
-- New Orleans Delta, November 20, 1847.
The war with Mexico emerged from America's preoccupation with Manifest Destiny: a drive to expand, especially toward the southwest and west. The war's causes therefore centered on California, New Mexico, and Texas.1 When Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836, American interest and involvement increased, and Texans hoped for early incorporation by the United States. However, this raised the spectre of war with Mexico and the Americans proceeded slowly. At length, on March 1, 1845, President John Tyler signed a joint resolution of Congress to annex Texas, and when, on July 4, a state convention ratified Washington's offer, Texas entered the Union on December 29, 1845. These developments, together with the plans of the new president, John Knox Polk, to obtain California and New Mexico, initiated the conflict with Mexico. On March 6, 1845, the Mexican ambassador broke off relations and left for his capital to protest the proposed annexation of Texas. Prolonged efforts to negotiate failed, and when General Zachary Taylor arrived with U.S. troops at Corpus Christi on July 25, tensions mounted. When Taylor was ordered further south to Matamoros, where he appeared on March 28, 1846, the Mexicans attacked a U.S. cavalry patrol near Brownsville on April 25, resulting in many American casualties. The Americans responded with alacrity, winning victories over the Mexicans at the Battle of Palo Alto on May 8, and at Resaca de la Palma on the following day. With a state of war now existing between the United States