Map of the Week: Mexican-American War Overview Map

A Mexican-American War Overview Map generated by the United States Military Academy is certainly a qualified map for Map of the Week. This map illustrates the vast territorial expansion of the United States because of the Mexican-American War. Mexico lost half of its land as a result of the Mexican-American War! Not only did the war change the map of the United States, it changed the diplomatic relations of the United States and Mexico.

Imagine the contiguous United States without the American southwest? Can you? Well, if the United States had not won the Mexican-American War in 1848, the United States would strikingly different.  The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) stemmed from the United States’ annexation of Texas on December 29, 1845. Mexico felt that the United States had no right to annex Texas as Texas was part of Mexico until the Texas War of Independence in 1835. Mexico warned the United States that an annexation of Texas would lead to a war between Mexico and United States.

The Mexican-American War Overview Map highlights the disputed territory that caused a war between Mexico and the United States. This United States Army produced map also highlights the blockades set by the United States Military and the important military battles of the war. This map is deceiving, at a casual glance it appears to be a map of Northern Mexico during wartime, it is only after the viewer looks at the legend, does the viewer discover this is a map of the territorial expansion of the United States through military aggression.

This map illustrates a critical period in the United States’ history as a nation, the era of territorial expansion. If America had not won the Mexican-American War, if the America was not given Mexico’s land in the Treaty of Hidalgo, how would the map of the country look? What would America be like  it was not 50 states, if the American southwest were not a part of America? These jarring questions were at one time real possibilities; the United States even with its superior military force was susceptible to defeat. How would the national identity of the United States be different if there were no American Southwest?

The Mexican-American War Overview Map is not a historical document; it was not produced at the end of the war for the general public. The Mexican-American War Overview Map is a modern day map produced to teach military history to military students. There is no specific author credited for this map production rather it is a product of the United States Army at-large. This map is an ode to Army General greats, General Zachary Taylor and General Winfield Scott and their military brilliance which won the Mexican-American War. The map accompanied by a timeline of the war referencing important military battles during the war as well as a synopsis of both Taylor’s and Scott’s campaigns. Why would the army not praise two of its own who won the war that allowed Mexico to cede a half of its national territory to the United States?

The United States used its superior military force and resources to conquer Texas as well as force Mexico to cede its land. Through the use of maps, the United States was able to strategize how to defeat Mexico, mark where it had beaten Mexico, and redefine its territorial dominion. With the massive gain of territory for the United States, new maps including the territory won by the United States were created, and America’s dominance in North America reaffirmed. The United States’ ability to acquire territory from its weaker neighboring nation showed the United States shift from a relatively new nation-state into a Western Hemisphere superpower. The aftermath of the Mexican-American War was the undisputed imperium of the United States over the Western Hemisphere.

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2 Responses to Map of the Week: Mexican-American War Overview Map

  1. jw4ct says:

    I found this map to be interesting because the Mexican-American War is a very important war in American history that people don’t typically discuss. This map really shows the viewer just how important this war was to the United States development and how much land we gained from this war. I liked how you pointed that out in your blog post and made us think about what the United States would be like without the southwest. Just like you stated, the United States’ identity would be completely different without the southwest region. I also found your points about certain military history figures to be interesting. Bringing up names like General Zachary Taylor and General Winfield Scott really tied in some outside American History knowledge to this map. I certainly learned a lot about the Mexican-American war from reading your post and looking at this map. Great find!

  2. Travis says:

    In my history class this year we had the opportunity to study the Mexican-American War. Despite writing a paper on it myself, our investigation was rather brief. Thus I am glad for the opportunity to really explore the effects in this map. One of my favorite inclusions is the timeline at the bottom, which includes a general historical perspective of the events described. Additionally, including land troop movements as well as naval activity adds depth to an already detailed map, one that specifically defines paths of attack. I liked that you made the distinction between the perceived time period and the actual. The fact that the map was created in the modern era puts a different spin on the motivations that may lay behind it.

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