[Above: A painting by Don Troiani, depicting a battle in the US-Mexican War.]


By: Marc Immanuel

Published on: 2 April 2017
Last updated on: 12 May 2018

1846: The US Congress Declares War on the State of Mexico

On 13 May 1846, the US Congress approved a declaration of war against the State of Mexico, initiating the US-Mexican War (1846-1848).

This was during the administration of 11th US President (1845-1849) James K. Polk — a leading member of the US Democratic Party (founded 1828) and close ally of Democratic Party founder and 7th US President (1829-1837) Andrew Jackson.

[Andrew Jackson was the president who signed the “Indian Removal Act” in 1830, which made the ethnic cleansing and forced relocation of Indigenous Peoples to US-designated “reservations” the official US Government policy.  Jackson was nicknamed “Indian Killer” (“Killer of Indigenous People“) by Indigenous Peoples, following the US invasion and genocide against the Muscogee Nation in 1813-1814 (which he commanded while holding the position of Tennessee Militia Major General).

A great criminal (under contemporary international criminal law) — whose policies were an inspiration to Nazi fascist dictator (1933-1945) Adolph Hitler (sources:  1, 2, 3, 4) — Andrew Jackson has been considered by the US Establishment as a “US  hero” and has been featured on the US $20 bill since 1928.]

The US Government’s 13 May 1846 decision was a declaration of a war of aggression (war of conquest) — for the purpose of the US conquest from Mexico of the northern portion of the territory then under the jurisdiction of Mexico.

Following the US Government’s declaration of war on Mexico, the US Military launched its invasion of the territory under the occupation of Mexico. The US Military pushed deep into this territory within the next two years — occupying the capital, Mexico City, in 1847. Following the death and injuries of thousands of Mexican citizens and the US military occupation of Mexico’s capital, the State of Mexico surrendered in 1848.

[Under present-day international criminal law, this was a crime of aggression, ICC Statute, Article 8 (bis)]


US Citizen Henry David Thoreau Refuses to Pay Taxes to the US Government

It was during this time that US citizen philosopher/writer Henry David Thoreau refused to pay taxes to support the US imperialist war against Mexico. In 1846, Thoreau spent a night in jail because of his refusal to pay taxes and was released after his aunt paid the taxes against his will.

Inspired by his opposition to the US-Mexican War, slavery, and other US Government injustices, Thoreau wrote the famous essay entitled “Resistance to Civil Government” (also known as “Civil Disobedience“), published in 1849. [text of essay] For long after, other writers and political/civil leaders such as Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., were to be strongly affected by Thoreau’s work, particularly “Civil Disobedience”.

In “Civil Disobedience”, Thoreau mentioned the US war against Mexico. He wrote:

“The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool…  A whole country [referring to the territory of “Mexico”] is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law…”

He also wrote: “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign one’s conscience to the legislation? Why has every person a conscience, then?”

1847: US Military Bombards Veracruz and Occupies Mexico City
(About 500 Mexican Civilians Die in US Invasion of Veracruz)

In a three-day bombardment during 22-25 March 1847, the US Navy bombed the Mexican port of Veracruz, with a total of about 6,700 cannonballs, under orders by US Army General (1814-1861) Winfield Scott. Bombs fell down on hospitals, churches, and public and private buildings. They were followed by scenes of plunder, robbery, rape, and killings by the invaders. About 500 Mexican civilians died.

Afterwards, the US Military occupied the capital, Mexico City (occupied from September 1847 to June 1848).

[source5; more info: source1 (section “General Scott and the occupation of middle Mexico“)]

[Acts of aggression, ICC Statute, Article 8 bis (2) (a) (b) (c) (d),
and war crimes, ICC Statute, Article 8 (2) (b) (particularly acts ii, iv, xiii, xvi, xxi, xxii)]

[Winfield Scott and the Cherokee Trail of Tears: General Winfield Scott was the US Army general who, about 10 years earlier, during 1838-1839, headed the forced removal of the Cherokee People from their ancestral homeland (in territory under present-day jurisdiction of the US states of Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama) — known as the Cherokee “Trail of Tears”.

Under General Scott’s command in 1838, thousands of Cherokee men, women, and children were rounded up from their homes by the US Army and confined inside rat-infested US Army concentration camps (while their homes were plundered by US citizen civilians). Every Cherokee who could not escape was either taken captive or killed. Then the Cherokees were forced by the US Army to travel about 2,000 kilometers (about 1,200 miles) westward to a US-designated “reservation” the US Government called “Indian Territory” (in territory under present-day jurisdiction of the US state of Oklahoma).

Over 4,000 Cherokee men, women, and children died in the forced removal process. (A crime against humanity, ICC Statute, Article 7 (1) (d), and an act of genocide, ICC Statute, Article 6 (c))] (source3, section “Cherokee Removal”)]

.                                                                            1848: War Ends With Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

                                                        (Following the Deaths of About 40,000 People in the 2-Year US Invasion)

The 2-year US invasion and occupation of the territory of “Mexico” produced a total death toll of nearly 40,000 people (from both sides and all causes).
It resulted in the defeat of the Mexican Army and the forcing of the State of Mexico to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on 2 February 1848.

In this treaty, the State of Mexico ceded to the United States the jurisdiction of the northern half of its claimed territory (including territory under present-day jurisdiction of the US states of Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and California).


1. “Mexican-US American War“,
Wikipedia, volunteer-written encyclopedia, article (historical)
2. “Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo“,
Wikipedia, volunteer-written encyclopedia, article (historical)
3. “Winfield Scott“,
Wikipedia, volunteer-written encyclopedia, article (biographic),
sections “Mexican-US American War“, “Cherokee Removal
4. “Henry David Thoreau“,
Wikipedia, volunteer-written encyclopedia, article (biographic),
section “‘Civil Disobedience’ and the Walden years, 1845–1849″
5. “The April Invasion of Veracruz“,
The New York Times, article (historical), by Enrique Crauze, 20 April 2014
6. “The United States – Mexican War, 1846-1848“,
United States Foreign Policy History and Resource Guide, article (historical), by Roger Peace [The website United States Foreign Policy History and Resource Guide is an educational website launched in October 2015 by Roger Peace (professor, PhD, American Foreign Relations, Florida State Univ.). As of 2017, the website is sponsored by Historians Against the War and by the Peace History Society.]


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