The Mexican-American War was the first major conflict driven by the idea of "Manifest Destiny:" the belief that America had a God-given right, or destiny, to expand the country's borders from 'sea to shining sea'. Following the earlier Texas War of Independence from Mexico and the U.S. annexation of Texas, President Polk eagerly sought a war in order to seize large tracts of land from Mexico.
Between 1846 and 1848 the United States and Mexico, went to war. It was a defining event for both nations, transforming a continent and forging a new identity for its peoples. By the war's end, Mexico lost nearly half of its territory, the present American Southwest from Texas to California, and the United States became a continental power.
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