Blog Post

The Mexican-American War

A primary source that relates and illustrates the main motives for the United States to enter a war with Mexico. The song is called “Look up on That Banner” and is cited as a song of a “Patriot Mother to her son”. This song was an excerpt from a letter this mother had sent to her son after he told her of his brother’s death in Mexico. The song is a message of encouragement and tells the son to not come to her, but to go to Mexico, to avenge his brother’s death, and to sustain his country’s honor. This song has a lot to do with the intense patriotism the U.S. wanted to inspire and the themes of Manifest Destiny that made Americans try and take Mexican land. It is amusing to me the line “Justice is our motto” shows up multiple times because isn’t it unfair to take someone’s land when they haven’t even attacked you? This song fits in with this war because it shows the tactics used to try and get people to fight Mexico. The reason propagated at that time was that the U.S. needed to protect the American citizens in Texas from Mexico and get justice for the Mexican government wronging them though there isn’t much evidence of that. This type of propaganda only helped convince soldiers to volunteer.

This war connects today because I feel like a lot of conflicts involving American have to do with pride and wanting to take something from another sovereign country. This is reflected in the war in Iraq which is now the longest military conflict in American history which began in response to 9/11. America trying to control other countries through neocolonialism is another example of the hubris of the United States. One thing about the Mexican-American War that surprised me was that there was such opposition to annexing Texas in Congress because of the fear of slavery spreading. I never really think about how there were opponents to slavery since its conception and always thought of the institution as accepted by everyone in government.


Hewitt, J. H. & Pratt, H. H. (1849) Look up on That Banner. F. D. Benteen, Baltimore, monographic. [Notated Music] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,