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The Two Most Powerful Republics in the World: Mr. Polk’s War

The Two Most Powerful Republics in the World: Mr. Polk’s War

Chapter:
(p.145) Chapter Five The Two Most Powerful Republics in the World: Mr. Polk’s War
Source:
A Hercules in the Cradle
Author(s):
Max M. Edling
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226181608.003.0006

In contrast to its previous international war, the War of 1812 (ch. 4), the United States found the financing of the Mexican War largely unproblematic. Secretary of the Treasury Robert J. Walker sold long-term war bonds to investment bankers led by the firm of Corcoran & Riggs. Chapter five contrasts the financing of the war by the United States, on the one hand, and Mexico, on the other, to highlight the importance of well-ordered public finances to a government’s ability to protect the nation’s territorial integrity and promote its interests. As a result of its weakness, the Mexican republic was forced to give up half its national domain to its stronger northern neighbor. Despite its lack of drama, the financing of the Mexican War was important to the United States in demonstrating that the federal government possessed the means to wage an international war of conquest.

Keywords:   federal government, Mexican War, Mexico, Robert J. Walker, United States, war bonds

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